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Fighting against diplomacy — really?

Right-wing pundits complained loudly this week that President Barack Obama is opening up to the world and declaring a new era of diplomacy, after years of unilateralism that alienated much of the rest of the world.

At the center of the debate are the president himself and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who criticized the president this week for calling himself a citizen of the world. “I am not a citizen of the world,” Gingrich blurted out Monday at a Washington, D.C., GOP fundraiser. “I think the entire concept is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous.”

As idiotic as that statement may sound, an alarming number of people appear to agree with Gingrich, based on a show of applause and responses by commentators. The former speaker is just one of many figureheads from the far right who appear to believe we should be at war with the rest of the world. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is one of the agitators who immediately comes to mind.

Conservative commentators echoed pathetic, paranoid talking points this week, lambasting the Obama administration for reaching out to the Muslim world in a carefully worded speech in Cairo last week. Apparently, calling for “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect” is akin to surrendering to terrorists.

Confronting issues together, fighting extremism, working toward peace and achieving justice and prosperity were among the goals conveyed in Obama’s speech. Fox News critics opined that it is useless to reach out to countries that have a negative opinion of the United States. They seem to think it’s better to be enemies than to try to be friends. That’s Gingrich’s argument in a nutshell.

Luckily for this nation, the pundits and outdated politicians aren’t the ones in charge. The Obama administration is successfully working to improve the image of the United States around the world, a welcome change from the previous administration’s tack. Good news will continue to outweigh the bloated, negative cackling coming from hate-filled, sore losers.

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