America's Standing in the World
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Commentator and humorist Aaron Freeman spent some time watching President Bush on television this week, and he took note when the King of Jordan told the United States that it needed to look at the total picture in the Middle East and be ready to talk with Syria and Iran. Well, Freeman says cut the lecture, world. The U.S. is still a super power.
AARON FREEMAN: The President of the United States had a dinner date with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Al-Maliki blew the president off and said he didn't need to talk to Mr. Bush just then.
I remember when the U.S. was policeman of the world. People hated, envied and feared us. That was fun. We would stroll the narrow planet like a beat cop. But in the last couple of years, everything has changed. Now, it's like we are the global substitute teacher. Nobody listens to us. We stand at the head of the class and write out on the black whatever is supposed to do, and the next thing you know, there are spit balls coming at us from everywhere.
We try to tell them - today's lesson is democracy. Now, if you will all just sit down and be quiet and cooperate, everything will better for everybody. We get more spitballs. Worse, we can't even tell where they're coming from.
The president of the U.S. says Mr. Hugo Chavez, sit down and be quiet. Chavez says who's gonna make me, el Diablo? You can here the class snickering.
All right. All right - that's enough, we shout. And the giggling diminishes, but it's still there.
Mr. Ahmadinejad, Mr. Kim Jong-Il, get away from the physics lab now. And they're like, yeah, yeah, whatever.
Look, I'm certainly no right-winger. But I'd like the world to at least give us a little bit of respect. As far as I can see, it's only Britain that even pretends to care what we think. But I don't long for a U.S. empire. Then again, I remember when the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan ruled the NBA, and that made it a lot of fun to be a Chicagoan.
But I am down with the whole citizen of the world thing. I really, truly, don't think any one country, even my own, should dominate. But I am tired of all the global raspberries and paper airplanes flying around when we are trying to get some important work done here.
But if that's the way the world is gonna be about it, fine. America will just go sit in the back of the room, play with our iPods and let friends run the global classroom and see how the planet likes that.
Oh, and by the way, the world ain't seen spitballs ‘til they check out our spitballs.
SIEGEL: Humorist Aaron Freeman lives in Chicago.
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