Alexander Lukashenko, the hardline leader of Belarus, has compared the idea of U.S. exceptionalism to Nazi ideology and criticized President Barack Obama for supporting it as a "black-skinned person."
Lukashenko, once dubbed the "last dictator in Europe" by former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, told a Kazakh television station that the idea of U.S. exceptionalism was "very bad" and "counterproductive."
After issuing a sweeping statement of support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Lukashenko slammed the U.S. for meddling in the affairs of Middle East countries.
He continued: "The American nation — it's funny, I can't even grasp what it is as a nation, this American one, which already awarded itself the right to some sort of exceptionalism. Do you know what that already smells of?" he asked an interviewer from Kazakhstan's 24KZ channel.
"We already lived through this exceptionalism in the middle of the last century, and it cost 50 million lives. So it already smells of something bad," Lukashenko said, referring to World War II. "So for a nation to award itself the right to some sort of exceptionalism...and as a result of this to ground the bombing of other governments is, I think, to put it softly, counterproductive. It's very bad."
"Putin was right when he said the the scariest thing is when this ideology of our exceptionalism, as Obama says, is hammered into the head of the population, and that's 300 million people," Lukashenko said of the U.S. "And they, as it once was in Germany, start thinking it's a special race, a special blood, and a special exceptionalism and they should restore world order and bring everybody to their standards."
Russian president Vladimir Putin called out "American exceptionalism" in a New York Times op-ed last month warning against U.S. intervention in Syria. "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation," Putin wrote in the conclusion of the hotly debated op-ed.
Lukashenko continued by personally addressing Obama's role in the concept: "Obama amazes — not long ago, black-skinned people in America were slaves. Today, they make statements about some sort of exceptionalism."
"I never thought a person coming out of these poor conditions could put such a rhetoric into the world," Lukashenko said. "It's inadmissible. It's very dangerous."
Miriam Elder is the world editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 5B5F EC17 C20B C11F 226D 3EBE 6205 F92F AC14 DCB1
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