American Exceptionalism: Marco Rubio Objects to Vladimir Putin's Views
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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., engaged in a war of words with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Thursday. Rubio is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Putin took to the New York Times to publish an op-ed on Syria in which the Russian leader took issue with President Barack Obama's invocation of American exceptionalism when talking on Tuesday about the possibility of military intervention in Syria.
“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” he continued. “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.”
The Russian president also raised questions of U.S. military intervention in the past, bringing up Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
“It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States,” Putin wrote. “Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us.’
“We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement,” Putin insisted.
Rubio, who has made American exceptionalism one of the major themes of his three years on the national political stage, fired back at Putin in an op-ed published in National Review on Thursday.
“In this morning’s New York Times, Russian president Vladimir Putin argued that America is not exceptional, and that American leadership does not make the world safer. I could not disagree more strongly,” Rubio wrote.
“While Russia and the U.S. did work together to defeat the Nazis in World War II, as Putin points out, our histories since then tell two very different stories,” Rubio added. “While strong U.S. leadership rebuilt a free and prosperous Western Europe after the war, the Soviet Union did the opposite, spreading a Communist ideology that imprisoned people behind walls and on islands. The U.S. won the Cold War because of our willingness to lead the free world, and today we remain the world’s sole superpower. The question facing our nation now is whether we will continue to lead in the future. I believe we must.
“History teaches us that a strong and engaged America is a source of good in the world,” Rubio insisted. “No nation has liberated more people or done more to raise living standards around the world through trade and charity than the United States. We remain a beacon of hope for people around the world.”
Rubio used the opportunity to call for more defense spending.
“History also teaches us that the best way to preserve the peace is to have the military power to win any war," Rubio wrote. “We must ensure that our military power remains unquestioned and unequaled. That is why I support investing in our military -- because failure to do so will ultimately prove even more costly and more dangerous.”
Rubio, who is expected to be one of the top contenders to be the Republican presidential candidate in 2016, also expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the United Nations.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @KevinDerbySSN. Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.