In a NY Times editorial opinion article Russian President Vladimir Putin, aka Pooty Poot by G. W. Bush, takes America (and Obama) to task for its reliance on military aggression to solve international conflicts. “We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement,” Putin writes.
Putin further says that although he and President Obama are increasing their mutual trust, he takes exception to the President’s assertion of American “exceptionalism” and that its policies make it an exceptional nation. Invoking the “lord” Putin says that people in all countries are created equal.
“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional….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,” Putin concludes.
So Putin transforms himself from a cartoonish James Bond-type villain who outlaws gay rights, imprisons political rivals, (even the Pussy Riot girl band for public protests) to a wise and benevolent leader and champion of human rights and Nobel Peace Prize candidate schooling Obama on the need for restraint, on the perils of military action to promote our version of democracy. “Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”
Is Putin correct to challenge America on its claim of being “exceptional?” Does our policy of unilateral military strikes against any country that uses chemical weapons or commits genocide make us exceptional or just hypocritical. Our use of chemical napalm in Vietnam, our tacit approval of Saddam Hussain’s use of chemical weapons in its war with Iran in the 1980s could be construed as exceptional hypocrisy. As the only nation to ever use the destructive force of nuclear weapons on another country it would seem our exceptionalism could easily be interpreted by other people around the world as less than aspirational.
It’s easy to read Pooty Poot’s polemic as reasonable if not awkwardly written. (Couldn’t he hire an American English major to edit his writing?) America has relied on brute force, has acted in a “with us or against us” attitude exemplified in the extreme by G. W. Bush’s war on Iraq. But Pooty Poot.. come on…we may be hypocrites, but one thing is obvious, the Emperor wears no shirt.