Sen. Rand Paul is fighting Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent op-ed with an op-ed of his own, taking issue in particular with Putin's dismissive attitude toward American exceptionalism.
"I respond to him directly with the statement that yes, American is indeed exceptional," Paul wrote in TIME Magazine on Friday. "Our history has proved it so."
The retort refers to Putin's concluding assertion in a New York Times op-ed Thursday that it is "extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional."
Paul and Putin in fact have much to agree on. Paul has established himself as a fierce opponent in the Senate of American military intervention in Syria's civil war, and Putin has also urged a diplomatic solution.
Paul noted that he "welcome[s] the engagement of the Russians" in the debate over the need for Syria to turn its chemical weapons over to international authorities.
But Russia is an ally to Syria, which used chemical weapons against its own people, and has provided arms to the Syrian government.
For that reason and others, Paul wrote, "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."