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Father Putin

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Relations between our countries are becoming very interesting. American leaders throughout history have firmly stood at the pulpit, preaching to the entire world about the virtues of democracy, freedom and human rights. Now the tables are turned, and we're sitting in the congregation. Receiving a sermon by none other than Father Putin. Amazing turn of events. Personally, I'm sick of seeing his smug face on U.S. news. Since word spread that he would write an article addressing the American people on the Syrian crisis, he has dominated news coverage in the States.

His article "A Plea for Caution from Russia" appeared today in The New York Times. I suggest you read it. Putin appears reasonable in some parts of his analysis, but not all. I agree with his predictions of global instability in the event of American military action. This is the main reason I'm against intervention in the region. However, I strongly disagree with Putin's statements on American exceptionalism:

"My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States' policy is "what makes America different. It's what makes us exceptional." It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."

America IS different. We ARE an exceptional nation, and we should make no apologies for it. People from all over the globe come here with dreams of a better life and most, though not all, find it. We have a rule of law and it works. How many people from remote parts of the world are desperate to immigrate to Russia? Do foreigners lie awake in their beds at night and dream of a better life in the motherland? We're all created equal, but the same cannot be said about the nations which comprise the world. They are not equal, and citizens born into each country face very different fates.

Is it really dangerous to encourage people to view themselves as exceptional? Or, is it better to simply beat people down, instill a sense of hopelessness such that there is absolutely no pride in country or life? This is the mental chess game every dictator has played in history. A nation comprised of citizens with inferiority complexes will never thrive on the global stage. Inferiority breeds contempt, distrust and eventually lawlessness. Citizens become complacent in dysfunction.

America is not a perfect nation, and I never claimed it to be. But it's a great nation. Foreigners cannot understand the loyalty or pride Americans have for their country and my attempts to explain it before have failed. You must simply live here and be part of the culture to fully understand it. We're not the only exceptional nation in the world. There are many others, but I don't count Russia in this category. Do you? Convince me otherwise.

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( 297 comments — Leave a comment )
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seaman21
Sep. 12th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
Re u seriously? omg...
peacetraveler22
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm 100% serious. America has issues. I don't agree with Obama's foreign policy in many instances. But foreign policy and the way the average person lives are separable issues. You believe Russia is a great nation?
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birdofprey
Sep. 12th, 2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is that for internal use the Russian autorities don't hesitate to promote idea of Russia being an exceptional country, with the smartest, most courageous people in the world, etc., while saying that in other countries people are dumb, lazy, etc. Then, when it comes to the international arena, they attempts to convince others in doing the staff they normally doing themselves in their own country :-D
qi_tronic
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
The difference is that we (at least after Soviet Union) stopped to dictate other nations the principles they should use in their life.
Yes, we are a great nation among other great nations but other countries can have their own political system and values.
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real_marsel
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
Putin is Satan. I hate him.
7greendog
Sep. 19th, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
Ты и женщин ненавидишь. Не значит, что это норма.
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sergechel
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
"America IS different. We ARE an exceptional nation, and we should make no apologies for it."
.. and that is the biggest mistake of today american nation. You are just one of many nations on this planet, with positive and negative sides, like any other nation. At this historical moment, probably since of the end of WWII, your nation is most powerful and most popular in many ways, but that does not mean that your nation is something exceptional among others.

yarowind
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:47 pm (UTC)
>>At this historical moment, probably since of the end of WWII, your nation is most powerful and most popular in many ways, but that does not mean that your nation is something exceptional among others.

Yes, I'm agree.
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bufalobil
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
Dont call him a father, he is tyrant
restartmylife
Sep. 13th, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
When a tyrant you'd be beaten with rods in the basement.
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yazularym
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:20 pm (UTC)
I think it is different understanding of the word "exceptional". What Putin mean I think is Americans has the same rights as others (not more rights than other nations), everyone is equal from prospective of international law! Americans can think they are exceptional, a lot of other nations think the same about themselves. But it doesn't give them rights to teach other nations how to live, how to rule their country and spread their “democracy” by bombs.
I’ve been in US, and, probably, I can even say I’ve lived there for a while. I liked country “from inside”, but if u look at it “from outside” it doesn’t look so nice…
moebiuscat
Sep. 12th, 2013 04:38 pm (UTC)
"everyone is equal from prospective of international law"

LOL!!! Yeah, right... That's why even in UN only several nations have veto powers... Mostly nuclear armed nations...
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scrollnotjob
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:23 pm (UTC)
Idea to measure exceptionality of nation in : "number of immigrants" is ridiculous. Now Russia have a second place in the world by "number of immigrants" 11 millions, USA (not America, America is bit bigger, isnt it?) score is about 46 millions.
In your termins it means that Russia is just four times less exceptional than USA.

-sarcasm mode on
In my opinion there are only one exceptional nation on the Earth - Jewish. God says them about it.
-sarcasm mode off

Do you really think that: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"?
Sorry for roughness, but i really think that are no exceptional nations on the Earth. I am humanist huh.

Edited at 2013-09-12 03:25 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Sep. 13th, 2013 12:27 am (UTC)
You seriously believe all nations are equal? That none are more exceptional than others? "Sorry for roughness." I communicate with Russians all the time on this blog. I'm used to the abuse. :)
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gella_key
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
there is an interesting russian saying on that point. I hope you will understand this: все равны, но некоторые равнее :-) It can be translated as "everybody is equal, but some are more equal" I think Americans just think they are "more equal", if you get the point ;-)
yarowind
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
>>there is an interesting russian saying on that point. I hope you will understand this: все равны, но некоторые равнее :-)

Это Оруэлл - Скотный двор.
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g_kar
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
Heh, you have an interesting point of view.
For me that last paragraph would be the last part of the article to analyze :)

I think I'm a little envious that you have that patriotic feeling - "We ARE an exceptional nation".
In Russia most people have an immunity to it due to decades of state propaganda about exceptionalism. Because it was contradictory to everything one can see around :)
From other hand, I'm worried that exceptionalism can easily blind a person or even a state...
peacetraveler22
Sep. 13th, 2013 12:32 am (UTC)
What part of the article is most interesting to you? I think Russians view the term "exceptionalism" differently than Americans. The term has many different definitions in online dictionaries. I take the term to mean "unusual" or "great." And yes, I believe both of these words accurately describe my country. However, Russians seem to equate the term with "superiority."
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qi_tronic
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:47 pm (UTC)
I think you mix to different things.
One is to feel that your nation is great and has achievments. That is good. That's patriotism.

But another thing is to believe that your nation is better thatn all others, the leader of the world with values that all others should follow. That's exceptionalism. That's bad and close to fascism, sorry.

There were many "exceptional" empires in the world and many fell.
In 1899 British Empire was the greatest while America was a just developing country. Where is it now?
Soviet Union blindly followed it's Right Way and now it has fallen too.

Sure, America has changed the world in many good ways.
But now the world has changed and preaching just looks silly.
Even United Europe has different opinion on many subjects and other former developing nations are raising too.

Answering your question, Russia is a great nation in many points.

We have the largest territory, largest (on par with US) nuclear arsenal (actively renewed), run the space station togehter with US, we are the only country in the world other than US to have a working 5th-gen stealth fighter.

Also Russia is not poor country anymore.
We have the 5th economy in the world, bigger that Germany and our GDP per Capita is now equal to Portugal which is part of EU.
And it all is actively growing.

And BTW Russia has the immigration rate 2nd after the US (!)

So I do now understand why Ameirca shouldn't stop preaching and start seriously consulting China, Europe, Russia, India, Brasil on world affairs.

It all has nothing to do with feeling "inferior" (???)
peacetraveler22
Sep. 13th, 2013 12:36 am (UTC)
As I mentioned above in other comments, "exceptionalism" is a subjective term. I don't view it to mean the same thing as you. And Putin is now telling Americans how to behave in world affairs. Is this okay? In the case of widespread human atrocities, do you believe stronger and more powerful nations should never intervene on human rights grounds? Just curious.
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yarowind
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:49 pm (UTC)
You do not believe in democracy? Then our bombers fly to you.
bufalobil
Sep. 12th, 2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
So if believe in putin, ready to caucasians knives in Moscow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Egor_Sviridov
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fesma94
Sep. 12th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
There are NO exceptional nations on this planet ! All nations have different "cockroaches in head",some nations more,some less.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 13th, 2013 12:38 am (UTC)
On this point we disagree.
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_nevidimka
Sep. 12th, 2013 04:10 pm (UTC)
Your patriotism is admirable.

"We're not the only exceptional nation in the world. There are many others..."
Is it possible to hear what other nations You find exceptional and why?


PS: I'll stay mute concerning the main topic, my country and we Russians have many flauds and it hurts me a lot, but I have if not patriotism, but... don't know... politeness, maybe... feeling of duty maybe... or maybe shame for saying a word against my country if I don't intend to do something to make it better... well, SOME feeling that stops me from a littlest bit wanting to discuss a topic of who's better.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 13th, 2013 12:40 am (UTC)
Well you can express your opinion. I welcome it! If you believe Russia is a great nation, or America is evil it's fine. I like to hear different viewpoints.
new_forester
Sep. 12th, 2013 04:10 pm (UTC)
The US is exceptional in that it has a very unique history, being an amalgam of so many different ethnicities and cultures that formed a new nation. However, I don't agree that this uniqueness gives Obama, or any American, the right to tell the rest of the world what they should do. At the moment, we have so many problems here, at home, that I am appalled when Obama spends trillions to start another war. How about using the taxpayers' dollars on something more useful, like more funding for science and education, or free medical care for all? At the moment, I am ashamed that I voted for Obama - he's a total disappointment.

Edited at 2013-09-12 04:11 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Sep. 12th, 2013 04:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, he's a disappointment in many ways and this situation has tarnished his reputation in the global community. I agree America shouldn't tell the rest of the world what to do. My main point is that Americans should not be ashamed or subject to condemnation for believing they live in a great nation. I wrote the post in about five minutes. Maybe I could have been more thorough in my explanation. :) I don't support any further wars or intervention in this region of the world. We should learn from our past mistakes and, as you correctly note, there are issues on the homefront that require attention. The cost of higher education is at the top of my list considering I'm buried in almost 100K in student loans for my doctorate.
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south_of_broad
Sep. 12th, 2013 04:20 pm (UTC)
You know, I am so tired of hearing " we are equal". No, we are not. We are all different, we are born different from each other, we all look different, we belong to the different social groups. The difference is that in America we all have the equal rights and freedoms to do whatever we want with our life. The sky is the limit. Healthy individualism is what was pushing american society to the top. That was making it an exceptional country. American people is what makes America exceptional, not the policy. An immigrant can come over and start over and through the hard labor can achieve anything he wants. We take the oath and become the Americans with the same rights and freedoms like the Americans who were lucky enough to be born in America. Nowhere else in the world you can find a country like this. As you know I am currently living in Germany, there are a plenty of immigrants here too. No matter what they do, no matter how well they integrate into the society, no matter how well they learn to speak German, they will never become Germans.

Of course Putin doesn't want to see America as an exceptional country. He doesn't want people , the individuals to believe they are exceptional , every one of them . If they start believing, how would he manipulate them? Individualism was the biggest enemy of the revolutionaries. The propaganda machine was working to create not the society of the individuals, but the society of the dependents. Grey mass , they call their people.

jack_cracker29
Sep. 12th, 2013 08:52 pm (UTC)

Very moving, thank you!
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