Share This Page

American exceptionalism: Real & enduring

| Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Vladimir Putin's open letter to the American people in last week's New York Times has sparked a rather vociferous debate about American exceptionalism, abroad and here. The Russian president, in discussing the mess that is Syria, essentially said that the United States is nothing special and that, under God, we all are created equal.

It was a blast across the American bow loaded with Cold War shot in response to President Obama's reiteration that we are an exceptional nation.

The never-shy and regular Trib columnist Pat Buchanan says Mr. Putin merely was offering “an argument which people all over the world believe. They are sick of hearing Americans talk about ‘we are the indispensable nation,' as (former Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright said.”

Jim DeMint, the former Republican U.S. senator of South Carolina who's now president of The Heritage Foundation, penned an open letter to Putin (hand-delivered to the Russian embassy), reminding him of the Founding roots of American exceptionalism — “based on limiting the power of government so it could protect our human rights rather than infringe upon them.” Putin doesn't have much respect for either, Mr. DeMint reminded, chiding Putin as the proverbial raven chiding blackness.

Indeed, America is exceptional, flaws and all. Just as indeed, it has its critics, either ignorant of America's special place in history or jealous of it. And America will remain exceptional — as long as someone slaps a governor on a president doing his damnedest to make it less so.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.