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article imagePutin addresses Syria and American exceptionalism in open letter

By Michael Krebs     Sep 12, 2013 in World
In an open letter addressed to the American people and published in The New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin responds to President Obama's public address on Syria.
In President Obama's address to the American public on Tuesday night, Obama cited American exceptionalism as an underlying factor in his reasoning behind a potential military strike on the Assad government in Syria.
Obama's comments, and the events leading up to those comments, have caught the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Wednesday, The New York Times published an open letter that was written by Putin and addressed to the American people.
"Recent events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders," Putin wrote, as Sky News reported, providing the entire letter on its web site. "It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies."
Putin appealed to the American people to take a closer look at the impact of a military strike on Syria, saying that such action could very well result in a broader conflict well beyond Syria.
He also openly contradicted the Obama administration's claim that the Syrian civil war was based on a desire among the rebels for the establishment of democracy.
"Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country," Putin stated. "There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government."
Putin also criticized American military intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, questioning the long-term benefit to U.S. interests.
"We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilised diplomatic and political settlement," he wrote.
But it was Putin's final paragraph that drove a direct answer to Obama's exceptionalism standing.
"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation," Putin wrote. "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."
However, Putin's position on American exceptionalism was met with some derision among American politicians. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said the letter almost made him throw up, according to a CNN report.
The letter, likely another embarrassment for the Obama administration, was published on the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
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