I find it fascinating that Vladimir Putin counts on the American people's gullibility to believe his op-ed article in the New York Times yesterday. There may be merit in his argument that other countries feel they are exceptional. Most citizens feel a deep loyalty to their own country and have pride for where they live. To love our roots is normal.
However, there is sound argument that America IS exceptional. Vladimir's op-ed is not only weak but exposes his true motives and political perspective. Consider the following.
Under no circumstances would the President of Russia invite our President to offer an op-ed to his countrymen. Under no circumstance would Putin allow the leaders of France, UK, or any other leader with an opposing point of view to offer their opinion or present evidence contrary to his own.
The citizens of Russia are good people. Most only wish to live their life in freedom and peace. But they are controlled by a president who does not hesitate to imprison them for their beliefs or actions that oppose his own. He will do and say whatever is necessary to maintain his control. His article appears to be a benevolent outpouring. What it is, is an attempted seduction of Americans. In truth, it is manipulation.
Simply, he has taken advantage of America's freedoms and our weariness with war. He perceives our divide and intends to use that divide to further split open our great nation.
We get to choose. We can instead see he has proven President Obama's proposition: America is exceptional.
Every American citizen has been provided the opportunity to consider Putin's argument. Some Americans will agree with him. Some will disagree. Redundant but worth repeating, America is exceptional. No one will be thrown in jail for reading the paper nor will anyone's rights be violated for voicing their opinion about it or any other matter of our government.
Yes, diplomacy is worth the effort. The pain of loss is real for all people. It does not matter to what nation a person belongs. It does not matter the religious affiliation or the color of one's skin. Loss is the same for everyone. It breaks hearts and spirits and in war inspires hatred and vengeance. The Syrian people have suffered unduly at the hands of their regime. If further loss can be prevented then there is great hope.
But hope is not based on fact, it is based upon faith.
The fact: Putin has no interest in our version of democracy. By submitting his op-ed article, he has thrown up a smoke screen to the American people and asked us to believe his version of reality. He has made a high-waged bet and hopes our desire for peace will make his argument believable. He is using the dissension in our country to buoy his own support for Syria. He believes us to be gullible.
Americans get to choose. Do we follow a man who imprisons his fellow countrymen and women for speaking out about his leadership, who controls their right to have their voice, or who violates human rights to maintain his control and power?
Or do we set aside our own prejudices and doubt and trust the leadership of our country and other powerful countries who believe in human rights?
It's a poor bet if we believe Putin. But, we can. We can believe him without threat of imprisonment. We can even write our own op-ed. That is why the United States IS an exceptional nation and why as citizens we are fortunate to call America our home.
by The Guardian