Humble or Bumble? Obama's New Diplomacy

05/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Rick Horowitz Milwaukee Public TV Commentator, Writing Coach, Writing & Editing Consultant

If the Bluster Years are really over, what'll we do for fun?

I mean, what's the point of being the Number One country in the whole wide world if you can't tell the whole wide world where to stick it? When the going gets tough, the tough get pushy -- that's the way it's always been, and that's the way it's supposed to be.

And all of a sudden, we're supposed to...listen? To them?

We've got more weapons than anybody. (We've got more weapons than everybody.) We've also got responsibilities in every corner of the planet, not that we asked for them -- it just comes with being Number One. And the first responsibility, in every corner of the planet, is to take no guff. What we say goes. What we want we get, or we're taking names.

And now all of a sudden, we're supposed to find...consensus? We're supposed to try to see things from somebody else's perspective?

Where's the fun in that?

If somebody else's perspective had been worth considering, it would have been our perspective already, right? We wouldn't have had to wait for somebody else to open our eyes and tell us what's what. We tell them what's what -- that's the whole point. We sit them down and we tell them how it's going to be.

If we even bother to sit them down.

When you're Number One, you don't sit down with just everybody. Sitting down with us isn't a right, it's a privilege. You have to earn your way to the table, and you don't do it by ticking us off. You do it by behaving yourself.

And now all of a sudden, we're supposed to make time for every tin-pot nobody with two missiles to rub together? We're supposed to find out what's on their mind? We're supposed to see whether we can do business together?

It was never like that in the Bluster Years.

We had better things to do than waste our time talking to people like that, or even going to conferences where people like that might show up, just so we might bump into them in the hallway and figure out what they're thinking and maybe even do a little deal about something or other just to get the ball rolling.

We don't have to get the ball rolling. It's our ball, and we can take it and go home any time we want. Or at least we could during the Bluster Years.

You were either with us, or you were against us, and we didn't tie ourselves in knots figuring out who was in which category. It was simple. Everything was simple. The money was always in dollars. The conversation was always in English. We apologized for nothing, and we had nothing to apologize for.

And now all of a sudden, the president -- the president of the United States, mind you -- is telling foreigners that we screw up from time to time. That we've gone our own way much too often. That we've been arrogant!

Like we don't have a hundred perfectly good reasons to be arrogant.

Next thing you know, he'll be apologizing for us speaking English. Bad enough he keeps sticking foreign words into his foreign speeches just to show them he "gets it" or something. What's next? We'll all have to talk Turkish? We'll all have to think like Iranians?

It was so much better when we ran everything.

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Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at