- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin took umbrage with the “extremely dangerous” notion of American exceptionalism, so former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint offered to personally explain the concept further via a snark-filled letter dashed off Friday to the Russian Embassy.

Mr. DeMint, who heads up the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, fired back against a Putin-penned op-ed published Wednesday in the New York Times railing against President Obama’s assertion that the U.S.’s foreign policy is “what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional.”

Such a stance is “extremely dangerous … whatever the motivation,” Mr. Putin wrote, prompting furor and scorn from several U.S. politicians and dignitaries.

For his part, Mr. DeMint thanks Mr. Putin for raising the subject and volunteers to school him, albeit with a history lesson peppered with thinly-veiled personal jabs and ridicule.

“President Obama has been very busy and has not properly responded to you to explain the nature and origin of American exceptionalism,” Mr. DeMint wrote. “I am happy to explain the basic facts.”

Mr. DeMint argued that the United States is indeed exceptional because of its dedication to the “universal principle of human liberty,” not-so-subtly reminding Mr. Putin of the existing philosophical divide between between the two nations.

“When we helped liberate the western half of Europe, we left it democratic and free to decide its own fate,” he wrote. “The wall that existed for decades dividing Berlin — and the Iron Curtain that stretched from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic — were not there to keep out westerners, but to keep those born in the east from escaping to freedom. But you must know this history well, since you were a KGB agent in Germany at the time.”

SEE ALSO: Putin sends message to America: You are not exceptional

The Heritage Foundation has been a thorn in Russia’s side since the 1980s, when it was one of the first proponents of missile defense. The organization sponsored the High Frontier study in 1981, one year before President Reagan’s speech on the Strategic Defense Initiative.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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