The runt of the litter

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At some point in life, everyone has had awful neighbors. They leave trash on your lawn, have wild parties and end up ruining the neighborhood.

The good news is that eventually everyone gets fed up and runs them out of the neighborhood. The bad news is that the United States has become the bad neighbor and if it doesn’t make amends soon, it’ll find itself run out of town.

At the recent Summit of the Americas, President Barack Obama had the nerve to shake the hand of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. It wasn’t long before all hell broke loose.

Right-wing critics were calling him irresponsible and questioned his motives.

However, the reality is that the rest of the world has a dim view of the United States right now and it needs to engage in some diplomacy to get its international mojo back.

At the recently concluded G20 summit, the Obamas spent a week touring Europe meeting with several world leaders trying desperately to repair the United States’ image.

Again, they were criticized for seemingly sucking up to the rest of the world.

But since America has become so disconnected with the rest of the world, sucking up is its only recourse.

Following the G20 meeting, Obama met with several Middle Eastern leaders including the King of Saudi Arabia, whom he had the audacity to bow to in respect.

Again critics were up in arms, this time saying that the president had all but surrendered America to Saudi Arabia because he bowed too low.

To say that the United States’ relationship with the Middle East has been strained would be a massive understatement.

With two simultaneous wars in that part of the world, it would stand to reason that a new president would try to show respect and humility to our remaining Mideast allies.

However, there are some who feel that America should continue to cut off itself from those who might disagree with its policies.

If Americans continue to believe that isolation is the right way to handle its image problems, they are mistaken.

The United States is no longer the big man on campus who can unapologetically push everyone else around.

The hard truth is that if America really wants to get back in the good graces of the international community, it’ll have to eat some humble pie and bow down to other countries.

The international community is watching the United States now more than ever to see if America can even step back into its good graces.

Following the terrific job that George W. Bush did for international relations, President Obama has to be on damage control. And that seems to be what he is doing. If conservatives feel that Obama is being too “diplomatic” then perhaps they need their vision adjusted.

The world has become such a small place, made moreso by the current recession. America can’t expect the world to come to it. It is going to have to get out there, suck it up and take some lumps before it’s invited back to the block party.

If America decides to stand in the corner and not talk to anyone, it eventually will find itself stuck on the outside looking in without anyone to call an ally.

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