Greg Autry

Fighting for space, not over it.

Putin Exercises Our Right to Free Speech

Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin recently had the presumption to exercise his American right to free speech by publishing an Op-Ed in the New York Times. The irony of this aside, Putin has crafted a strong and well-worded case for caution in dealing with Syria. While we cannot ignore the human tragedy going on, we would be wise to carefully consider each of his points before acting, according to our own judgement, based on our own principles. However, that is not my point here.

Putin closed his piece with this carefully crafted paragraph, which has created some outrage in America:

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. 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.

Note that Putin has called upon the words of Thomas Jefferson to suggest that Americans are not exceptional. He’s right; Americans are not exceptional, as a race. We are, indeed, with the rest of humanity created equal. In fact, we are a joyous mix of immigrants and the ideal of racial exceptionalism that Putin implies we aspire to is actually an anathema to us.

What Mr. Putin has intentionally failed to comprehend is that it is the very nature of Jefferson’s words that make the ideal of America exceptional. When the American people live up to those ideals we are the exceptional nation. It is then that we are that Shining City of the Hill that Reagan promised the world. That is what inspired thousands of protestors in Tiananmen Square to gather around a Goddess of Democracy modeled after America’s Statue of Liberty, shortly before their own government began to slaughter them.

Further, “created equal”, in the context of the Declaration was not a judgement of the inherent abilities of individuals, it was an assertion that all men are equal in the eyes of God and the law. That is something Putin’s increasingly oligarchic and locked down Russia can no longer even aspire to. Russia is heading toward a model of nationalistic socialism ironically similar to the one that Putin noted America and Russia once worked together to defeat.

If we react to external threats by surrendering our moral responsibility to international organizations or running down to Wal-Mart and buying a load of Made-in-China hats and shirts emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes we are not demonstrating our exceptionalism and we prove Mr. Putin’s point. It is actually when we vehemently disagree in the press, argue around the family table and our complain about our Congress and our President locking horns over the important issues of the day, that we are exceptional. Keep that up America; earn your exceptionalism this day.

 

The Author at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, Washington DC

The Author at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, Washington DC

 

Greg Autry is a professor of entrepreneurship and economics. He serves as Senior Economist with the American Jobs Alliance and with the Coalition for a Prosperous America and is co-author (with Peter Navarro) of Death by China: Confronting the Dragon – a Global Call to Action. He blogs regularly at: http://www.gregautry.us/blog  and on the Huffington Post.

Ten Differences Between Syria and China

Recently China and its fellow gangster, state-capitalists in Russia vetoed a UN resolution calling for resignation of brutal Syrian dictator, Assad. This should come as no surprise to anyone except our delusional administration which is determined to convince itself that China’s rulers are civilized and friendly despite of all the empirical evidence to the contrary.

However, it does offer the opportunity to compare the two regimes, one which rightfully garners they enmity of President Obama and our State Department and the other which gets treated to state visits to the White House and meetings with eager American Governors (are you listening Mr. Brown?) and Mayors.

Let’s see if we can figure out what difference between the two nations results in such different treatment.

1. Syria isn’t gutting America’s manufacturing base with illegal trade abuses. China is.

2. Syria isn’t running a state sponsored industrial espionage program to steal American technology and give it to their state owned competitors (at least not effective one). China is.

3. Syria isn’t building a new missile designed specifically to destroy American aircraft carries and murder their crews. China is.

4. Syria doesn’t have a vast and secretive nuclear arsenal aimed at America’s cities (not that they wouldn’t like to). China does.

5. (Despite trying) The Syrian regime hasn’t killed more people than any organization in the history of the world. The Chinese Communist Party has.

6. Syria isn’t locked in a territorial dispute with nearly everyone of its neighbors. China is.

7. Syria doesn’t run the worlds largest network of “re-eduction” concentration camps. China does.

8. Syria doesn’t deny reproductive rights to hundreds of millions of women and induce millions of coerced and even forced abortions. China does.

9. When Syria kills its own citizens it does not sell their organs to Westerners for cash. China does.

10. Syrian labor repression and environmental abuse doesn’t generate huge profits for President Obama’s (and many congressional member’s) big, corporate donors. China’s does!