Monday, September 16, 2013

President Obama ignored questions Thursday relating to Vladimir Putin’s NYT op-ed. However, the Russian president’s article, which he addressed “to the American people and their political leaders” did not slide by without a response.

Jim DeMint, former South Carolina Senator and current Heritage Foundation President, took it upon himself to pen a letter back to Putin Friday, explaining “the commander in chief of the world’s only superpower” has been “very busy.” He gave his own take on American Exceptionalism:

“America is an exceptional nation—that is, one like no other, not just now but in history—because it is dedicated to the universal principle of human liberty. This is grounded in the truth that all men—not just Americans—are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights by their creator.”

The text specifically addressed Putin’s warning that it is “extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.” This blow was aimed at President Obama’s closing remarks in his address to the nation on Syria.

DeMint pointed out that the principle of equality, what he sees as the foundation of American exceptionalism, is enshrined in our very Constitution. A document we at least adhere to—unlike other nations it seems:

“We understand...that in Russia today, the rule of law is easily ignored and that you’ve managed to remain in complete power since 2000, even though your country’s original constitution supposedly limited you to two consecutive terms.

Adhering to different leadership approaches has not deterred the United States from framing a “joint determination” Saturday to destroy chemical weapons in Syria.

Yet, 60 percent of Americans do not trust Russia very much or at all, according to the Pew Research Center. China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were the only countries to score lower in the nine-country test.

If anything, Putin’s op-ed has made him more vulnerable to scrutiny. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that Putin’s commitment to moving Syrian chemical weapons under national control is significant:

“Russia is Assad’s patron and protector, and the world will note whether Russia can follow through on the commitments that it has made.”

We will all be watching to see how this episode unfolds.

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