| Global Times | 2013-9-17 0:33:01
By Global Times
Russian President Vladimir Putin contributed an article to The New York Times on Wednesday, calling for a diplomatic means to deal with the Syrian crisis. But at the end of this article, Putin criticizes the American idea of exceptionalism, which was stressed by his American counterpart Barack Obama the day before on a nationally televised address. US media assailed Putin for being disrespectful to one of the most significant American values, saying he had crossed the line.
Although the US is filled with many controversies within, it is admirable that the whole of society is able to unite as one in the face of vital problems. This has contributed to the US' becoming the only superpower in the world.
The theory of American exceptionalism can be traced to the 18th century. It is a realistic reflection of the US being proud of its achievements, and also a religious view of the US being blessed by God. It is a sign of the idealism that guides the US, and also the foundation for political governance in the nation.
Some assume that only when the US becomes a "second-class country" can this theory fade away from its core values. But such an assumption makes no sense from the perspective of international politics.
However, Putin's courage and action in touching Uncle Sam's most sensitive nerve should be applauded. The US has been bossing the world around for years, but there are few heavyweight critics who can deal Washington a heavy blow. The US, more or less, has been "spoiled" by the rest of the world.
In the Syrian crisis, Moscow has regained its position in its strategic game with Washington, and has put on an outstanding performance. Although Russia's relatively weak economic strength makes it seemingly disqualified to confront the US, the wisdom of the Kremlin, and Putin, has clearly been underestimated.
Russia does not count on external resources and markets to sustain its economic development, so there are no bargaining chips that can threaten the country to compromise in the game with the US. It is confident in becoming hostile to other countries if its core interests are challenged.
In the Syrian crisis, Russia's role on the global stage has been further shown to be an important force in maintaining a balance of powers. Moscow is eager to expand its influence around the world, trying to strike an active or even aggressive pose to deter other countries from putting their fingers in its pie.
Russia's strategic purposes are beneficial to the vulnerable balance of different powers. Putin's decision to publish an article in an American newspaper speaking directly against American exceptionalism should be applauded by public opinion around the world.
As a typical Western democracy, the US should be more open-minded to different voices. Irrational and abusive responses are not the embodiment of the US' self-esteem.
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