Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Putin Was Right About American Exceptionalism

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- As part of the debate over intervention in Syria, the question of whether the U.S. is an exceptional country has once again bubbled up. Yes, says President Barack Obama, who invoked U.S. exceptionalism in his Sept. 10 speech on the need to respond to chemical weapons attacks in Syria. No, responds Russian President Vladimir Putin, arguing last week in a New York Times op-ed that the U.S. should refrain from striking Syria, and that “it is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.”

Claims of American exceptionalism have a long history. They assume that the U.S. not only is exceptionally powerful but also has distinctive values.