Evan Vucci / AP
Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 | 8 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Russian President Vladimir Putin is no fan of the idea of American exceptionalism. He suggests that God isn't either.
"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation," Putin wrote in an opinion piece posted Wednesday on the website of The New York Times.
"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," he wrote. "We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
Putin's remarks concluded a plea to Americans for caution in dealing with Syria, a Russian ally. He cited President Barack Obama's speech Tuesday night in which he asserted that American ideals and principles "are at stake in Syria" as he made his case for holding the Assad government accountable for a deadly chemical weapons attack near Damascus.
"That's what makes America different," Obama said. "That's what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth."