CNN's Fareed Zakaria: If Obama's Foreign Policy Is Isolationist, 'What Would Imperialism Look Like?'

CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria appeared on the Daily Show, Thursday, to knock the idea that Barack Obama is an isolationist and hint about an "imperialist" U.S. government. 

In a web only section of the interview, Zakaria argued, "We've moved into Asia more significantly. We're building a new military base in Australia. We spend more on our defenses than the next 20 countries put together, 15 of which are treaty allies of the United States." Zakaria joked, "If this is isolationism, you know, I mean, what would imperialism look like?" Fill-in host John Oliver offered a expletive-laced question to set up Zakaria.

The comic wondered, "There's been some crazy criticisms of [Obama] his foreign policy that he's become isolationist. Isolationist? You might want to explain that to the thousands of troops that are overseas. It doesn't feel very fucking isolationist to them."

The "crazy criticism" of Obama came from National Review. Victor Davis Hanson noted:

Is there an Obama Doctrine? That is an understandable question, given that over the past four years President Obama has not articulated a comprehensive foreign policy, and that his supporters haven’t offered a system of guiding principles for foreign policy over that period.

A partial transcript of the June 13 online segment is below:


5/13/13

JOHN OLIVER: There's been some crazy criticisms of [Obama] his foreign policy that he's become isolationist. Isolationist? You might want to explain that to the thousands of troops that are overseas. It doesn't feel very fucking isolationist to them.

FAREED ZAKARIA: Well, you know, if you think about it, we have hundreds of thousands of troops around the world, dozens of military bases, hundreds of diplomatic postings.

OLIVER: Right.

ZAKARIA: We have formal treaty alliances with dozens of countries where we are committed to defend those countries. We've actually expanded that number by saying, in the wake of Iranian issue, we've told the Israelis and the moderate Arab states, and we've said this publicly, that an attack on them would be responded to by the United States. So, we've kind of extended our umbrella. We've moved into Asia more significantly. We're building a new military base in Australia. We spend more on our defenses than the next 20 countries put together, 15 of which are treaty allies of the United States. If this is isolationism, you know, I mean, what would imperialism look like?

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org