Dan Liljenquist: Putin's Crimea gambit: A challenge to American exceptionalism


Return To Article
  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2014 6:08 p.m.

    re: Esquire on Mar 20...

    It'd be ironic (& make me chuckle) if Putin slapped the US down w/ his version of the Monroe doctrine.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 21, 2014 3:24 p.m.

    @ patriot's hate is palpable, but I think if you get away from that toxic attitude, you will find out that Obama might have the last laugh. The Russian economy has taken a hit and will continue to do so. how much will depend largely on Europe, whihc has closer ties. Agian, patriot, taking shots is one thing. What are your ideas as to how the U.S. should respond? Like all on the right, I see nothing but chest beating, hinting at war, but afraid to say so.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    March 21, 2014 6:35 a.m.

    @one vote

    Actually, the therm "exceptiionalism," as applied to America means that America has not gone through the historical development of other countries - a theory developed by Marxist believers that all countries went through a evolution which included socialism. Since America had not gone through that, it was deemed "exceptional." In current usage, it is a description of the feeling of superiority over other countries - based upon a belief that the U.S. does things better. Fox news did not invent it.

    You should stop listening to MSNBC for a better understanding of context.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 20, 2014 10:13 p.m.

    re:Happy Valley Heretic

    HA! No its just that this KGB thug Putin has schooled your little Barack and has laughed him to world scorn. Barack is weaker than Jimmy Carter and that takes some doing. No one respects Barack Obama - no one at all on the world stage. His Syria fiasco with his red lines was a joke and the world laughed then just like they are laughing now. Putin is a corrupt thug but he does have a plan and he is executing it to perfection regardless of what silly little diplomat ban Barack puts on. Today Putin matched Baracks little ban by banning US officials from Russia. Take that Barack. It's like a little kid with a cap gun trying to fight a guy with an M16 rifle. Barack Obama is NOT a leader and is way over his head with anything that goes beyond late night entertainment shows or maybe The View and Ellen on daytime TV. This little man is not a serious presence in the White House and America is paying dearly for it. Putin can grab as much new territory as he wants and what is the US going to do??? What??

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    March 20, 2014 8:43 p.m.

    The concept of "exceptional-ism" is no different than the concept of "nationalism" its been around and always has been in some form or another.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 20, 2014 8:11 p.m.

    "Putin 1 Obama 0"

    yep... that is what this is all about. Russia is just as obsessed with Obama as are some conservatives. This had nothing to do with 500 years of history of that area, or the navel bases that are there.

    The funny thing is 90 days ago, Putin had basically bought all of the Ukraine for 15 billion... not he just has influence over Crimea. So he lost control over 85% percent of the country.... but he is the winner here.

    Okie dokie then. I am sure when the Ukraine is given expadited membership into NATO, and the EU... he is going to fill like a huge winner having a Nato nation on his doorstep.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2014 7:59 p.m.

    The vague concept of "exceptionalism" is a Fox new anti-Obama spin developed after the President refocused from the Iraq failure and ruined the right wing myth that only the right can effectively address security.

  • McMurphy St George, Utah
    March 20, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    Esquire has it right. Lijenquist lays out a litany of economic, political and military woes. I agree with many (not the military ones) but do not believe these problems played any role in Putin's decision to annex Crimea. We are still the most powerful nation in the world economically and militarily. Are we or should we be willing to go to war militarily or economically with Russia over Crimea? No. Would we have been willing to 15-years ago? I doubt it. Assuming our American Exceptionalism (whatever that means)was still intact would any moral suasion based on such exceptionalism have deterred Putin? Unlikely. Lijenquist among others is rising up in righteous indignation over Putin's actions. What is lacking are any possible proposals that would cause the KGB Colonel to reverse himself.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    March 20, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    Russian patriot
    Putin 1 Obama 0. Get used to it...

    So how does one keep score in this petty fox news game?
    Someone in the world does something anything they get a point against Obama.

    Seems most of the true patriots, true american conservatives think the world of Putin, he's their new Reagan and why not their ability to remember the truth about him has all but been forgotten or rewritten too.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 20, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    Putin 1 Obama 0. Get used to it...

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    March 20, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    This column reads like an American counterpoint to Putin’s nationalistic rant before the Russian Parliament. If Liljenquist has a prescription to offer, I see no hint of what it might be. He seems to be shaken at the grim realization that American exceptionalism may be a myth that clouded our judgment for far too long. Did the end of the cold war actually lull us into a false confidence?

    It’s devastating to wake up to the realization that you’re not superman and you never were.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    March 20, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    Want to put pressure on Russia? Try being exceptional at everything. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If Russia needs to sell its oil and natural gas to be economically viable, let us turn on the spigot and produce more oil and natural gas so as to drive down prices in the marketplace. Don't whisper to Russian leaders that elections give the President more flexibility. Honor your NATO commitments. Be friends to your friends and enemies to your enemies. Don't confuse your enemies with your friends.

    I suppose that the Crimeans have the right to be Russians if they want - call the moving vans and make the move. Certainly, there must be some historical basis (and I am not talking about what happened 100 to 400 years ago) for the boundaries of Ukraine - colonization by outsiders taken into consideration. How come those who oppose Israeli colonization are the same people who support Russian colonization within Ukraine?

  • Laura Ann Layton, UT
    March 20, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    I'm ashamed of our country. There are many things we could do if we wanted to. If Europe and the United States worked together, they could bring great economic pressure on Russia. I don't want war, I just want us to help our fellow brethren if we can. Obama is terrible at dealing with foreign policy. There are things we can do, but most Americans have no idea about the Ukraine and Russia because they are too busy texting, playing electronic games, and being on social networks to even bother about the world around them.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    March 20, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    Sorry, Dan, but this is not about America. In fact, even suggesting that this is about American exceptionalism is proof that American exceptionalism has been blown way out of proportion. This is about Putin trying to maintain his sphere of influence and perhaps reconstruct the Soviet Empire he continues to mourn.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    March 20, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    KGB vs ACORN. mmmmm. Not a good match

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 20, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    What would an Exceptional American response be in this case? Are we to attempt armed conflict with Russia in Crimea? Can we voice that option without taking into account how stupid and costly and foolish it would be? I don't know what the answer should be yet, but it's fairly easy to eliminate some options right away.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    March 20, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    So Russian exceptionalism runs smack into American exceptionalism. That's the sort of thing that nearly got us all killed a generation ago. The answer then as now is balance. What are you gonna do about Crimea? There's nothing you can do. I've been there. The Crimeans are Russians. They've always wanted to be Russians. If we even tried to "liberate" them, they'd liberate themselves from our liberation. Where we can assert our influence to counterbalance Russia, we should. But Crimea is not in our sphere of influence.

    BTW, Dan, your vision of a rotten America is nothing compared to the rot in Russia, which is just a big gas pump attached to a country where vodka is the national obsession.

  • Kim Cedar Park, Texas
    March 20, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    The way to make things worse is to continue to promote "American Exceptionalism." What if the shoe was on the other foot and Putin was promoting "Russian Expceptionalism.?" To go around the world touting your exceptionalism is a clear path to poor foreign relations.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 20, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    Well now we know what insanity looks like.

    Every President since Kennedy given the chance to fight with Russia or find another way has chosen the later, including George H Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and now Obama.

    Kennedy gave into Russia's demands, Bush, and Clinton specifically wrote the 1994 agreement in such a way that it didn't include military action and didn't have the weight of an international agreement. George Bush was for once smart enough to know a fight worth fighting and one not worth fighting.

    But, hey what did they know about American exceptionalisim?

    I hate to break it to you Barker but America did not invent democracy, America did not invent a Republican form of government, America did not invent individual rights and freedoms, heck we didn't even invent capitalism or banking.

    Everything you see as exceptional about America was begged and borrowed from history. We can talk about how our cobbling together of these principles has worked but don't get all puffy, and teary eyed about origins, none of it was created here.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 20, 2014 8:29 a.m.

    Sorry, but this piece is ridiculous. I urge its author to spend more time learning some history and geo-politics rather than spouting right wing rhetoric. Putin's actions have nothing to do with "American exceptionalism." This is a self serving propaganda taliing point of the right wing.

  • Gibster San Antonio, TX
    March 20, 2014 8:27 a.m.


    I reject your assertion that the military is festering with corruption and lack of discipline. A majority of those serving (both military and civilian) are dedicated professionals who are committed to the defense of our nation. Don't vilify all of of because of the actions of a few bad apples.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    March 20, 2014 8:15 a.m.

    Some folks really must think America is a fragile little child, anything that happens in the world becomes a reflection on what the world thinks of her. This is nonsense, arrogant narcissistic little men, who believe they are very very important.

    We would be more exceptional if some weren't frothing at the mouth to start another war, which doesn't really involve us.

    Treaties with Ukraine, file those with the Indian treaties.

    Lets get our house in order, and lead by example, not look for excuses to keep fighting, financing fighting, supplying the world with tools to make fighting deadlier.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    March 20, 2014 6:57 a.m.

    When you put something exceptional in the charge of people who believe that it is arrogant and misplaced to be exceptional - then that thing ceases to be exceptional. It can be easily argued that the United States should not be the military police of the world - however, why can't the United States be exceptional in the defense of the smaller and lesser developed kids on the block? The intellectual "children" who are making U.S. policy at this time are dedicated to redefining the United States as a weaker and more compassionate player in the world theatre - so as to avoid the appearance of being "exceptional." So, who is left to inspire and protect? Apparently it is Russia and Putin. IF the strength of the American Spirit is not encourage by our leaders, and manifest through our physical strength, how can we expect that Spirit to grow - let alone flourish. Russian respect only physical strength, much like the bullies of your youth.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    March 20, 2014 6:31 a.m.

    So Dan Liljenquist, can you offer any suggestions, or do you just like to complain?

    Deseret News seems to have an exhaustible supply of complaints, but it's pretty light on solutions . . . kind of like the Republican Party.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    March 20, 2014 6:21 a.m.

    In the history of this planet, the vast majority of humans have lived and died under the rule of dictators, despot Kings and tyrants. Our founding fathers established this nation as perhaps the only exception to that in the history of the world where the people told the government what it could and could not do and wrote an inspired constitution that placed limits on the power of the government rather than the government telling its subjects what they could and could not do. That is the exception in all the world,a government of the people, by the people and for the people, truly an exception in all of history. Of course Putin does not understand that because he is just another dictator. Once our own President was asked about American exceptionalism and he said he thinks people in other counties think they are exceptional too. Clearly Mr. Obama does not understand the meaning of American exceptionalism either.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 20, 2014 6:00 a.m.

    "Words and sanctions will not be enough to balance these old yet new geopolitical equations. "

    So, Mr Liljenquist, what options does that leave?

    I love how people beat around the bush. At least have the backbone to put it in words.

    What can you possibly be suggesting, if not military action?