Sen. Rand Paul: President Putin, America Is Exceptional

It is our exceptionalism—and our separation of powers—that has kept us out of war in Syria.

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Alex Wong / Getty Images

Rand Paul in Washington, D.C., June 27, 2013.

A recent op-ed by Russian President Vladimir Putin has prompted me to respond. While his position that the Syrian conflict can and should be settled through a political and diplomatic solution is correct, virtually everything else in his writing should be taken to task. So I shall.

I begin with Mr. Putin’s disagreement regarding the exceptionalism of the United States of America. I could not more strongly disagree with him. While he is correct that God created every human being as an equal in His eyes, clearly the results of each of our efforts on this earth, individually and collectively, are not equal.

America’s exceptionalism is rooted in our founding documents and values. From the rights granted by our creator, but guaranteed by our Constitution. We should not shy away from saying so, especially when our actions are in keeping with this exceptional founding, as they were this week in our debate over going to war in Syria. Our constitutional checks and balances were on full display, largely resulting in the at least temporary halting of a rush to war.

Mr. Putin’s second mistake is to focus on the speck in the eye of the United States, while ignoring the plank in his own. He accuses the United States of alarming interventions in foreign countries. While I certainly have my bone to pick with our foreign policy over the last 15 years, the Russian President is the least qualified person I can think of to make this argument with a straight face.

We went to war in Afghanistan because they were harboring those who attacked us on 9/11. Mr. Putin’s cohorts went to war there three decades earlier for no legitimate reason.

The United States until now has resisted arming one side of the Syrian civil war – all the while the other side has been armed by Russia.

The United States has used diplomatic pressure to attempt to resolve the ongoing situation with Iran – Russia has just announced a large arms sale that will escalate tensions in the region.

Being lectured to on foreign intervention by Mr. Putin would be comical if it weren’t such a serious example of a lack of self-awareness.

Nevertheless here we are. Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or at least my temporary ally. As Mr. Putin correctly pointed out, the United States and Russia banded together to defeat the menace of the Nazis a generation ago. And both countries certainly face real and present threats from Islamic extremists, both at home and in areas of strategic importance.

American should not act militarily in Syria because it cannot and should not join the same side as Al Qaeda. Russia cannot and should not continue to support militarily the brutal Assad regime.

And so, the dialogue that began this week must go forward, and it must be given a chance to succeed.

The issue of course, is with the participants and the details of the plan. Asking us to “trust them” is clearly not a palatable option, and we cannot act naively simply to bypass war. Any diplomatic solution must involve a clear plan to rid Syria of these weapons, with strong verification and enforcement mechanisms. As Reagan used to put it, Trust but Verify.

So while I welcome the engagement of the Russians, and the dialogue Mr. Putin this week attempted to begin with our country, I remain to be convinced of the details.

And I respond to him directly with the statement that yes, American is indeed exceptional. Our history has proved it so. While we all share the same Creator, we do not all share the same richness of history regarding human rights, freedom and democracy. There has been in the past 200 years a city on the hill that has shone brighter than all others. We will not be ashamed of that. May God allow us to continue to model this example to the world in these difficult times.

474 comments
abff110471
abff110471

We are all allowed to think or not think that Rand Paul may have missed the mark here but that isn't the point, really.  The point is, it would not be in our best interests to forget who we are and for what we stand.  We do not stand for Putin, we stand for the USA, if we are citizens.  It would be very reckless for us to allow for any credence in the genuineness of what Putin has to say.  He has an agenda all his own; of that I have no doubt, and it is NOT to promote the United States.  

alski
alski

"America’s exceptionalism is rooted in our founding documents and values" - come on, Senator, what are you talking about? May I refresh your memory?. How about the genocide of native Americans who died in thousands in 18-19th centuries? How about Vietnam? How about nuclear bombing of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Does that fit in your system of values, mr senator?


Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

exceptionalism requires that we NOT be isolationists, Senator Paul

UmbertoUko
UmbertoUko

"We went to war in Afghanistan because they were harboring those who attacked us on 9/11. Mr. Putin’s cohorts went to war there three decades earlier for no legitimate reason."


Wow, this is not primitive, this is super-primitive.

He took the easiest case and commented on it. 

How about war in Vietnam? 500.000 died as the result of using Agent Orange and at least

the same number of babies born with various birth defects (two heads, no hands etc).

Agent Orange is a chemical weapon, btw.

What about Serbia? Serbs were the only folks who fought against Nazi in Balkans. And they are Christians.

And the war was based on fake accusations, exactly like Iraq.

The US supported Muslims (Albanians) and tried to "bomb Serbs into stone age".

Civilians still die in Serbia because of use of depleted uranium.

Iraq, people die on regular basis today, at least 500.000 dead after 2003, and Saddam was hanged for 

gassing 140 Kurds, so 500.000 vs 148??? Come on ... 

The was is based on fake accusations.

It is an incomplete list .. there is Grenada, Libya, Panama .. etc.


So, either Rand is not very smart, or he is super-cynical and thinks the people are idiots around him,

trying to sell war in Afganistan.







UmbertoUko
UmbertoUko

We went to war in Afghanistan because they were harboring those who attacked us on 9/11. Mr. Putin’s cohorts went to war there three decades earlier for no legitimate reason.



1C34N63l
1C34N63l

What a crock of crud. Rand Paul trying to fight World opinion and God , a no brainer  #Fail . He actually put his name to this. CRAZY !

chimel237
chimel237

Re one comment,Seeing the truth about our origins and the lies of Darwin and recognizing the gay agenda as sindul makes a GOOD person, not a 'horrible' one. Also Time should be ashamed of hiding the Putin cover from the US.

RayWilson87
RayWilson87

Rand Paul like his father wants to take America back to the pre civil war America. WIth all the racism and discrimination and everything. 

jettajan
jettajan

It appears that the arm of the democratic party pundits to troll the opposition op-ed news and post refutations and objections are working hard to put down and disrupt any and all patriot's discussions that object to their ideology and label us as raciest and against "human rights".....

ConservateBillyBob
ConservateBillyBob

I support Rand Pauls confederate/founding father views. The confederacy was only protecting what the founding fathers preached as well.  I agree with his principles of liberty. If I don't want to let a black woman buy milk at my private business grocery store then I should have that right! It's liberty and freedom for me to choose.

Libertyformeandmine
Libertyformeandmine

Rand Paul 2016 = peace, liberty, privacy, and a balanced budget.



Hillary's head is full of bad ideas and blood clots.  

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/31/politics/hillary-cli...  


She voted for the Iraq war and she voted for the PATRIOT Act TWICE.  

She is neocon trash funded with AIPAC money.  

NO MORE BUSHES OR CLINTONS.  

Our country was founded to get away from Royal Families.  

It was good to see Rand Paul lead the opposition to the Syrian intervention and simultaneously undermine the warfare lobby on both sides of the aisle.

P.Augustus
P.Augustus

Well said Paul! A true American. He'll have my vote if he runs in 2016. 

Haters you can trash talk this great man all you want, it just shows how well you have been brainwashed.

Paulites = Racist? Just because his father disagreed with 30 billion dollar foreign aid to Israel? Really?! Because that is what that smear is all about and it is entirely baseless. He and people like me don't have a problem with Israel, I think Paul -being Christian- must like them even more than I do, we have a problem with foreign aid IN GENERAL. Especially 30 billion dollars of it when we are in debt!

Also having the right to fire someone isn't racist. But I guess most of you never aspire to own your own businesses where such a right can become a necessity. Then you call it bad economics. What is your basis for economics when you only think hand-outs?

Call me a tea bagger all you want, that Middle School derogatory reference is really quite juvenile if you actually think of it. Get over it haters! 

hanes24
hanes24

Wow. If you think this is a genuine, thought out summation of his true thoughts and not just a calculated attempt to inject himself into a national discussion, you are smoking something.

If you are a republican, please make him your candidate.  Don't pick Christie, he's actually electable.

MeganPGifford
MeganPGifford

Don't want to live in a world where private businesses can discriminate if they want. No thanks on Rand Paul.

DianePelletier
DianePelletier

As always I get the whole truth from Rand Paul.  He is fearless has a strong backbone and I would endorse him for just about any thing He is not wishy washy He can be counted on to bring truth He is a blessing

Stinkles
Stinkles

Rand Paul is terrible.


He's a racist.
An evolution denier.
A vaccine conspiracist.
A gold bug.
A hypocrite.
An opportunist.
A liar.
A homophobe.

SteveWilson
SteveWilson

How proud can one be that Rand Paul is a US Senator?  This proud. This exact response should have come from the White House. Alas.

GailL.Fitches
GailL.Fitches


DON'T TELL ME HOW EXCEPTIONAL WE ARE!!! How can anyone in our country say that Putin is wrong, when it comes to professing exceptionalism? I am prior military, and I am horrified on what is taking place through our government and what is allowed to be taking place here, as well as in other countries. Many have committed suicide over guilt, many have died being exposed to the depleted uranium and other chemical and biological warfare agents. Everyone loses.I am upset that Obama has been funding the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Al Qaeda linked terrorists in Syria. There are many of us awake, trying to expose the truth. We are all brothers and sisters of God, whether other people can see that or not. Many people in our country are outraged that Obama is siding with the terrorists and funding them. There are international industries and global banksters that push for war, and they are the only winners of war. As for what is taking place in our country, we are daily being poisoned with Sodium Fluoride in the water, a main ingredient used to make Sarin Gas and is considered a nerve agent. They poison our food, which is cross contaminating our entire food supply with poisonous genetically modified foods, that our elected officials in Washington, DC keep giving them permission to poison us, without holding them liable or labeling the food, that should not even be allowed period. Then there are neuro-toxic chemicals being sprayed on us daily through the weather modification program. There are cancer viruses in the vaccinations, and some of the viruses are grown in tumors. They are biological blood products, that are contaminated from the monkeys and other animals and things the viruses are grown in that are contaminated, along with highly deadly chemicals in them, that our government forces on the people and why we have health care crises in the first place. They they allow highly toxic chemical drugs on the market, without holding these chemical/pharmaceutical companies liable. Maybe we are exceptional at GENOCIDE, because that is what is taking place right here in our country. People are getting out of the medical field, which is even going to cause more of a healthcare crisis, because doctors are going to be told who and how treat their patients, and if they vary from the protocol, they may go to prison. DON'T TELL ME HOW EXCEPTIONAL WE ARE!!!

TX_Lib
TX_Lib

I love the glaring grammatical errors. "American is indeed exceptional". Dude, does no one proof read anymore? Thanks, TIME, for giving us solid examples that prove your irrelevance.

oparisleclerc
oparisleclerc

I am shocked Rand wrote this. I guess he is trying to sound like a politician and get the massive  "America F**ck Yeah!" crowd to vote for him the next presidential election. His father is a lot wiser than him, but even a shade of his father is better than a straight Democrat or Republican at this point.

LisaGray
LisaGray

There certainly seem to be many America hating people on this forum.  If you live here, just please leave and go to wherever  you think that would suit you better.  You can't have your cake and eat it too. Most normal working class folk  would prefer the America that we grew up in.  One where our liberties and freedoms remain intact and we are not forced to continually subsidize (reward) those in our society who do nothing to contribute.

gomomaildotcom
gomomaildotcom

Rand, grow up and  come back to the Earth, please, be more like ur father who i donated money to for his campaign. There already was a nation who thought they r exceptional and above everyone else. Yeah, leader of that nation was pretty short and had those funny Charlie Chaplin stache. THats a wrong way to go

AhmadUsmanAltie
AhmadUsmanAltie

''May God allow us to continue to model this example to the world in these difficult times.'' Sadly this American model did shone on Iraq when under false pretexts built on sheer lies, it was invaded(just like  you noted the Soviets did in Afghanistan in 1979) , bombed to pulp with devastating consequences on its infrastructure-schools, hospitals, bridges,etc- and of course a most devastating human toll-at least a million deaths- seen in recent times; sadly this horrible legacy  of ''exceptionalism''is still ongoing with over 500 killed so far this month across Iraq. And its this sad legacy of America in Iraq that stave off  another America ''exceptionalism'' in Syria, for no one was willing to trust American lies anymore , and the Uk parliament payed a key role in derailing Obama's war plans on Syria by denying him an apparent  support from  an overzealous David Cameron; and Holland too was forced to fall in line. So may God save us from ''exceptionalism'' of this sort  especially from the global bullies be they American or Russian!



Roland.Menge
Roland.Menge

Yes, our nation has had great achievements of which we can all be proud. But let us look at Russia for a moment.

In literature, Tolstoy, Dostoyevski, Solzhenitzyn, Pasternak, and many other giants of the written word came from this nation.

In war, Russia bore the blunt of a Nazi attack that was only repelled, finally, with the loss of 12 million lives. The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the greatest battles in all military history.

In government, Russian overcame the Tzarist dictatorship and abuses of several centuries in an idealistic effort to establish a state marked by egalitarian distribution of resources. When that state also became oppressive, the Russian people established a new democracy, marked now by free elections (despite the misinformation of the Western press) and over a dozen political parties.

Yes, too bad Putin had to remind us of the apparatus of international law established to prevent future wars after World War II, established, by the way, by members of our own "great generation" in cooperation with other victors of the war.

There is no need to make other nations "bad" in or order to make ourselves "good."  We can be proud of what we are without thinking we are better than everyone else.

Putin and Obama have both expressed respect for one another and have  talked about one another with respect in comments to the press. The dispute between them is a fabrication that is a disservice to the peoples of both these great nations.

harvey_conn
harvey_conn

@jettajan, You say "... to put down and disrupt any and all patriot's discussions that object to their ideology"
Funny how you label Rand Paul and those of his ilk "patriots", as if they alone stand for all that is american, and those of any other belief, I guess, are traitors. Why do I smell the aroma of Fox News and the Tea Party coming off posts that claim they are "patriots".  

Stinkles
Stinkles

@jettajan Isn't that what you are against? By allowing private discrimination and choosing politicians that are connected to racist like neo-confederate Jack Hunter who c-wrote Rand Pauls book? Or no sort of economic equality at all for the f you I got mine crowd?

Stinkles
Stinkles

@ConservateBillyBob At least your being honest about why you support him. I'll give you that. Too many in this thread like to bounce around the type of man Rand Paul really is.

DaveB42
DaveB42

@ConservateBillyBob  you are absolutely correct.  And because that is your right, I will use my first amendment right to take to social media, make signs and let everyone know what kind of person you are in hopes of financially destroying your business.  

tmderman
tmderman

@ConservateBillyBob Kudos to you for being honest about why you support Rand Paul. While I may not agree with those views at least you are honest about them. Unlike the many  'supporters' who attempt to deny Rand holds  those views. They know that those views are not popular so they attempt to lie and mislead. Incredibly dishonest.

Stinkles
Stinkles

@P.Augustus It's not derogatory when he co-wrote a book with a neoconfederate named jack hunter who said many racist horrible things. This is well known at this point. Rand also believes that private businesses should be allowed to discriminate in the name of liberty and freedom of speech. He also doesn't believe in economic equality. Healthcare and education are a human right. Protection from racism is a human right.


You're right, both rand and ron follow the logic of the founders. The racist slave owning founding fathers. They are true to the values of the "true america, as it existed back when the founders were alive.


His father is going to talk at a holocaust deniers dinner fundraiser. Ron himself had racist newsletters for a number of years published under his name and newsletter.

MichaelAntonich
MichaelAntonich

@oparisleclerc If your shocked Rand wrote this , that would explain why these fools keep getting elected. On his worst day Rand has ten times the character of most of the current elected officials. Next election will show where we are heading as a country.

TX_Lib
TX_Lib

@LisaGray Why don't you just debate the issues instead of telling people to find their own private island to populate? That would be a much better debate tactic.

tmderman
tmderman

@LisaGray How is disagreeing with Rand tantamount to hating America? Rand is a neoconfederate. I would think Mr. Putin would understand  that Rand doesn't even represent America but just the 1% who believe the 'South shall rise again'.' 

RolfLindgren
RolfLindgren

@gomomaildotcom Please give Rand a break, he just helped us stop the gun control bill, then the 1000-page immigration bill, and now the war upon Syria.  I thought the allusion to the separation of powers in this article was sweet.

ifreemantoo
ifreemantoo

@Roland.MengePolitics dictates the appearance of respect. Putin joined the KGB in 1975. The KGB would be as today in the uS as Homeland Security which encompasses just about everything from intelligence gathering, and manipulation and policing to even natural disasters. Anyway what kind of respect is their among mischief makers and legalized murderers? Of course the KGB is usually paralleled or likened to agencies like the CIA. Stirring things up since 1947.

Yea these two leaders certainly deserve respect from those that are like them, but certainly not from the common people who have been harmed by them.

By real law of the land the American people are not bound to international law on their land. It takes mischief-makers to make that so by the Just Because law. Likewise these United Nation mischief makers want the American people to give up their right to self-defense as our so-called "good" leader Obama would have us cooperate with.

You were doing pretty good when you talked people establishing what they want versus government mischief makers establishing what they want for the people and world. And also where you speak of respect. More like the respect of two mafia heads who have enough power between them to destroy the world.

Alessandro
Alessandro

@Roland.Menge 

While it is true that Russia has given the world great novelists and composers of beautiful music, she has also given the world Ivan the Terrible, Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, plus (under Stalin alone), 20 million dead Russians and a brutalized society where torture, imprisonment, censorship, and political harassment were common place realities. I would not compare any of that to American exceptionalism. America is exceptional because, as Sen. Rand cogently stated, she has always been a beacon of freedom and hope for her own citizens, as well as for the citizens of other states.  No other state in history has arrived at the level of economic, industrial, political or military power as the U.S.  This is not to say that we should not respect Russia (or other nations), but the U.S. and Russia are not equal by any stretch of the imagination.

tmderman
tmderman

@RolfLindgrenan OP-Ed by Chris Cillizza? Surely you are smarter than that. Don't you see the word 'blog'? Sure you do. 


RolfLindgren
RolfLindgren

@Alessandro @Roland.Menge FACT:  In 1800, the US accounted for 0.8% of all world economic output.  By 1900, it was up to 23.6%.  This was the century of freedom.

Roland.Menge
Roland.Menge

@Alessandro @Roland.Menge Allesandro, is this the same "exceptional" America that kept millions of people enslaved for generations, in many cases using brutal methods to enforce their subjugation? We have our faults, also, as recently shown as the Iraq war during which we used torture in defiance of international norms, just as we continue to keep people detained in Guantanamo without writ of habeas corpus. Again, in violation of basic human rights agreed to by all nations.

Gadsden
Gadsden

What is terribly dated in our world is the idea that if the popular media endorses an idea it must be true.

tmderman
tmderman

Rand is from Kentucky,>

@RolfLindgren  No, his wife was from Kentucky and he moved there after he married her according to Ron Paul. Rand co-wrote a book with the chairman of the League Of The South, the most prominent neoconfederate organization in the country. 

RolfLindgren
RolfLindgren

@tmderman @TX_Lib That's another false-flag, just like Syria, the Maine, Gulf of Tonkin, USS Liberty, the 2nd Punic War, and 9/11.

TX_Lib
TX_Lib

@LisaGray @Roland.Menge @Alessandro Seriously - get a new line. If you have a problem with what people are posting, proper debate protocol would be to actually address statements you disagree with by providing a counter point, not by telling them to "just leave". That's childish.

Roland.Menge
Roland.Menge

@tmderman @Roland.Menge 

I think of Sen. Paul as a Barry Goldwater type of fundamental conservative who would like to see American life rooted in "local centers of power" as it was more decades ago during the 1950s. At the core of this philosophy, I believe, is a true regard for basic American values such as self-reliance and independent thought. I think probably the senator just has the decency not to turn his back on people he has been affiliated with in the past; I don't think this association you mention represents Paul's own philosophy. I'm a liberal myself, but I would like to think what we all have in common is a love of democracy and a respect for the opinion of our fellow citizens.

tmderman
tmderman

@Roland.Menge Not sure how rallying behind a guy who wrote a book with the chairman of the neoconfederate League of the South, which promotes secession and advocates a 'natural societal order of superiors and subordinates' qualifies as 'patriotism.'

Roland.Menge
Roland.Menge

@LisaGray @Roland.Menge @Alessandro 

Lisa,

I love America and have never lived anywhere else. The point I was trying to make is that to do this I don't need to hate or disparage any other nation, or you, for that matter. I appreciate your patriotism.