A recent op-ed by Russian President Vladimir Putin has prompted me to respond. While his position that the Syrian conflict can and should be settled through a political and diplomatic solution is correct, virtually everything else in his writing should be taken to task. So I shall.
I begin with Mr. Putin’s disagreement regarding the exceptionalism of the United States of America. I could not more strongly disagree with him. While he is correct that God created every human being as an equal in His eyes, clearly the results of each of our efforts on this earth, individually and collectively, are not equal.
America’s exceptionalism is rooted in our founding documents and values. From the rights granted by our creator, but guaranteed by our Constitution. We should not shy away from saying so, especially when our actions are in keeping with this exceptional founding, as they were this week in our debate over going to war in Syria. Our constitutional checks and balances were on full display, largely resulting in the at least temporary halting of a rush to war.
Mr. Putin’s second mistake is to focus on the speck in the eye of the United States, while ignoring the plank in his own. He accuses the United States of alarming interventions in foreign countries. While I certainly have my bone to pick with our foreign policy over the last 15 years, the Russian President is the least qualified person I can think of to make this argument with a straight face.
We went to war in Afghanistan because they were harboring those who attacked us on 9/11. Mr. Putin’s cohorts went to war there three decades earlier for no legitimate reason.
The United States until now has resisted arming one side of the Syrian civil war – all the while the other side has been armed by Russia.
The United States has used diplomatic pressure to attempt to resolve the ongoing situation with Iran – Russia has just announced a large arms sale that will escalate tensions in the region.
Being lectured to on foreign intervention by Mr. Putin would be comical if it weren’t such a serious example of a lack of self-awareness.
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