Are Americans too thin-skinned about criticism of the notion of “American exceptionalism,” most recently enunciated by Russian President Vladimir Putin? For de Volkskrant of the Netherlands, columnist Thomas von der Dunk writes that despite his being an imperfect messenger, Putin’s analysis of the flaw in U.S. thinking is “entirely correct.”
For de Volkskrant, Thomas von der Dunk writes in part:
Putin is a brutal scoundrel, but I must admit that his letter was brilliant – especially given the astonishing fury it resulted in. This says something about the singular way America is accustomed to being treated: Always ready to send, never to receive. Outside the West, many will therefore have read his epistle with pleasure: finally, a taste of their own medicine.
“I almost wanted to vomit,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, who doesn’t seem to have the stomach for such medicine. “I worry when someone who came up through the KGB tells us what’s in our national interest and what is not.” But hasn’t America been doing just that for decades? Isn’t it legitimate criticism for Assad to hit back, “don’t tell me what’s in our national interest.”
Putin got to the core of the American problem: the fact that America claims to derive separate rights due to its uniqueness – and doesn’t understand that others doubt its selflessness, because American principles often serve as a cover for U.S. interests.
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