I normally listen to sports talk radio in the morning (the great Mike and Mike) because our local morning political talk guy is a GOP hack, but this morning I happened to catch Rush Limbaugh’s morning update. The subject was Obama’s dreaded liberal internationalism, which Rush of course thinks is a bad thing. I think Obama’s liberal internationalism is a bad thing too, but not just because it is liberal but also because it is internationalist. Rush has no problem with internationalism. He just wants unilateral, bellicose, shoot first internationalism and not that mushy liberal type. There could be nothing more internationalist than spreading democracy by force of arms and telling another sovereign nation what kind of weapons it can or cannot have for the sake of a third nation we supposedly have some obligation to defend.
The sad thing is, Rush really does believe that his brand of bellicose internationalism is the polar opposite of and the conservative alternative to Obama’s alleged liberal internationalism. But it is neither. The true opposite would be a philosophy that rejects internationalism in favor of particularism. Something you might call America First.
For the Rushes of the American “right” internationalism is just assumed. It is taken for granted. They can’t even think in terms that aren’t internationalist. But internationalism of this sort is inherently liberal. (Conservatism can be cosmopolitan. It does not require hostile parochialism, but it rejects the assumptions that underlie modern internationalism.) Conservatism is inherently particularist, nationalist (in the good patriotic sense), regionalist, localist and decentralist. So if Rush wishes to speak for the right he should be countering Obama’s liberal internationalism with conservative particularism, but he is so far from getting that.
Rush brags of having half his brain tied behind his back. Well perhaps he should untie it and make an effort to begin to understand how his bellicose internationalism is neither conservative nor the opposite of the liberal internationalism Obama is peddling.