by Jack Hunter
WTMA commentary broadcast 7/29/08:
One of the primary criticisms of Barack Obama’s speech in Germany in front of 200,000 people last week was that a man running for President of the United States would dare call himself a “citizen of the world” in a foreign land. Said Rush Limbaugh, “(this) "citizen of the world" stuff. When he started talking about that, that's when the red flags went up… I'm growing weary of Democrats and their presidential candidates finding something wrong with being an American citizen… Obama says we have to remake our world again. What an arrogant thing to say… You mean like in Iraq, Obama, a place you would have abandoned in defeat? Is that what you mean by remaking the world? How are you going to remake China? How are you going to remake Iran? How are you going to remake Russia… Cuba… Venezuela… Sudan… Somalia… Congo… France… Spain… Pakistan… Kazakhstan… Mongolia? The arrogance of this is literally staggering.”
So is the ignorance, blindness and hypocrisy of Limbaugh. From the moment the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq in 2003, the neoconservatives and their spokesmen in the Republican Party, in magazines like The Weekly Standard and National Review, the pundits on FOX News and the countless Limbaugh clones on talk radio, have made the case that the United States must dominate the world stage indefinitely, not only politically but militarily, forever expanding “democracy” across the globe. The “War on Terror” could and should be used to justify any and all military intervention, or so we were told, time and again. The neoconservatives have made sure that thanks to our foreign policy, every American is a de facto “citizen of the world” – whether we like it or not. When a Canadian visits Europe, he’s a tourist. When an American visits Europe, he is also a tourist but with infinitely more political baggage by virtue of his nation’s foreign policy. The 200,000 people in Germany showed up hoping that America might elect a better luggage handler.
Pretend as he might, Limbaugh is not mad at “citizen of the world” Obama because he refuses to put America first – El Rushbo hasn’t done that himself in years. Limbaugh simply believes the Illinois senator would be too incompetent to run America’s extended empire, as it relates to Iraq, Iran, Russia and the rest of the countries he mentioned. For Rush and his comrades, America must be in charge of the whole world and only the most qualified emperor will do– talk about arrogance.
In an election year where Congressman Ron Paul spent the better part of the Republican primary trying to explain that the U.S. should return to a foreign policy that emphasized America’s interests, and let the rest of the world govern themselves, his critics piled on calling the Texas Republican an “isolationist” at every turn. When Rudy Giuliani berated Paul for not only wanting to bring our troops home from Iraq, but also not wanting to start a war with Iran, and any other country Rambo Rudy and his adviser, neoconservative guru Norman Podhoretz had on their short list, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg applauded the former New York City mayor for “sticking it to Ron Paul on his blame America first isolationism."
What makes Paul an isolationist? He believes in trading with other nations and having diplomatic relations across the globe. He also believes the purpose of the military is to defend its respective country – not impose that country’s system of government on every other country. In short, Paul believes the U.S. should have a foreign policy much like every other nation on earth, what Pat Buchanan calls a “traditional foreign policy.” Paul is more concerned with being a citizen of the United States than the world. For Limbaugh and his friends to criticize Obama for claiming to be “a citizen of the world,” a statement that reflects neoconservative foreign policy to a tee, and yet at the same time call men like Paul “isolationist” for putting America first, is not only hypocritical – it’s schizophrenic.
Calling a non-interventionist like Paul a pejorative like “isolationist,” would be no different than constantly referring to Bush, McCain and Limbaugh as “warmongers,” and yet they would howl at the mere suggestion. Every prediction so-called isolationists like Paul and Buchanan made concerning Iraq have been proven 100% correct and every prediction made by Bush and the neoconservatives have been proven 100% wrong. It’s not even close. The rest of the world has long recognized this even if the Republican Party hasn’t.
“Why should we care what the rest of the world thinks?” some ask. Imagine a man courts a lady, makes love to her and marries her. He has firmly invested and entrenched himself in this woman’s life. Should he value her opinion on their relationship?
The U.S. is firmly invested and entrenched all over the world, and our occupation of the Middle East has a direct impact on geopolitics, just ask Iran, Russia and every other country Limbaugh mentioned. In short, thanks to our interventionist foreign policy, America is married to the world. And the fact that Obama calls himself a “citizen of the world” is, if nothing else, a recognition of a situation he’s inherited from the same people who now chastise him for even acknowledging it.