"there is in fact no circumstance under which I would like to be a citizen of North Korea, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Cuba, or Russia. I am a citizen – I am a citizen of the United States of America. And, the rest of this speech is about the United States of America."
Newt Gingrich in his speech last week.
There comes a time in the term of every President when he wants something from the world around us. The United States is no small third world country which simply exists on its own. We have business in every corner of the world, and even now are involved in not one but two military conflicts in totally different sections of the world.
Every time we move troops, we are making agreements with other countries about whether our troops can be moved through them, about refueling and so on; we have to make deals.
This makes it all the more unfortunate that one of our parties constantly makes belittling comments about the rest of the world. It brings the phrase "motivating the base" all new meaning. The candidates are gaining votes with the small minded, at the expense not only of the center of our country, but at the expense of their own foreign policy should they ever get elected.
Newt Gingrich is as usual a polarizing figure, and what he's doing has become common in modern GOP politics. I recall during the Republican primaries two elections ago, a speech was given making fun of the Democrats as being a party that cared about the opinion of the rest of the world. I wonder, what people in other countries watching those primaries felt at that moment? Did they feel closer to the United States?
Very often when conservatives watch television and they see Mahmoud Ahmadinejad make belittling comments about the US, they use that as an example as to why we shouldn't deal with them. I tend to agree, though there are better reasons. Are we somehow different? When we imply that the rest of the world is somehow unimportant, should they not react to it as well?
The really special part of Gingrich's speech is that he not only suggested that being a citizen of the world was silly, he went so far as to list specific countries he would never desire to be a citizen of. He didn't give any reasons, just implied they were crappy countries and moved on. His name has been floated a number of times as a candidate for President in the future. Should he win, I wonder if foreign policy discussions with those specific countries would benefit from the hostility he expressed. Oh well, maybe we'll never need to negotiate with Russia.
I think it's unpatriotic to insult people that we are going to be negotiating with, in order to win points with your base. And I think it's rather stupid as well. Gingrich isn't a stupid man, he knows that this sort of thing effects foreign policy. He just doesn't care. He wants votes in the US and he doesn't give a damn what it means for our foreign policy.
This is all part of the new lunatic flavor of the Republican party. Reagan himself once stated that he was a citizen of the world. But apparently, that view has gone out of fashion, even with members of his party who constantly invoke his name.