In his inaugural address President Obama referenced Martin Luther King’s words “that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth.”
It is hoped that Obama’s embrace of an encompassing internationalism will transcend the narrow nationalism that separates the United States from the rest of the world. The belief of our exceptionalism, our moral superiority, and our right to set the world’s agenda is a barrier to the peaceful resolution of international conflicts and a rationale for militarism and war. The earth and its inhabitants are interconnected and are to be preserved and nurtured.
When a news report informs us that 147 children have been killed in Pakistan by drone strikes, we should mourn and empathize with their families as we would empathize with the families of U.S. troops who have lost their lives in the senseless carnage of war. Compassion and empathy should recognize no boundaries and should not be circumscribed by race, class, gender, or nationality.
We can hope that the Arab Spring, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, the uprisings in Europe and throughout the world are harbingers of a transformation taking place in which narrow, parochial nationalisms are being supplanted by a broader, universal internationalism that proclaims we are citizens of the world. We are one people dedicated to living in harmony with the earth and with each other.
If the above internationalist perspective does not evolve into our reality and we continue down the path of resource depletion, of wars, of extreme inequality, and of class conflict, we might well be the inadvertent destroyers of our planet and the life it sustains.
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