Donald Trump had a memorable campaign in 2016 where he painted the immigrants as villains while he praised repressive regimes such as Russia and China where human rights and freedoms America stands for are pushed aside. He showed the American people that the US is not as powerful as it used to be and that he wanted to restore it to glory. This philosophy resonated and it continues to resonate despite the fact that Trump has already been a president for over a year. According to a Pew survey, almost half of the American population believes that the country should “pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems here at home.”
This is not surprising at all. The Americans are worried about their kids, the bills they have to pay and health care, not what is happening thousands of miles away from them. For regular people, globalization is a never-ending process which is complex, and it favors the wealthy over everyone else. Meanwhile, the sons and daughters are sent to wars miles and miles away from their homes, and they are not sure whether they would ever come back. Furthermore, terrorism is still there to combat. Even though the US won in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Islamic State appeared, and they are too powerful to deal with which is why it takes a lot of years to get rid of them. It is understandable why Americans are frustrated. The engagement of the US overseas never ends.
Trump is still exploiting these feelings of frustration, and he presents the choices – safety at home or peace in the world, human rights or improved and steady salaries. However, there are more than two sides of the coin, and these choices are false. Today’s world is too connected, and even if America were to turn their backs on the other countries, that wouldn’t do much to improve things in their own backyard. Withdrawing from the world scene would not mean “America First” but “America Alone” which would give the other countries a lot more room to develop and shape the future of the world.
Currently, the US citizens are facing many problems. First of all, US keeps failing to address climate change and flood insurance bills are too high. More and more Americans are fighting with addiction, and the use of illegal substances grows. Constant cyber attacks are threatening the security of the US citizens, and their right to vote is in the hands of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. These are all problems that need to be addressed, but such things cannot be taken care of by abandoning the rest of the world. Foreign Policy is not necessarily what happens across the ocean. Yes, it affects the wars the US engage in, but what happens in the rest of the world reflects on American lives as well. The entire world is interconnected and starting with the “America First” policy at this moment would be disastrous.
The United States faces huge global threats. Despite the fact that they have the largest economy, soon, America is going to be surpassed by China. Meanwhile, Russia has become bolder, interfering in the states around the world, while Europe’s division is growing. For instance, Apple is the largest corporation by market value, but the CEO is not responsible to the US lawmakers but to the shareholders of the company. On the other hand, Jack Ma doesn’t have the same luxury. The rise of state capitalism in China is a significant problem for the global free market.
The Americans are not engaged in foreign policy, but they should be. They are concerned about healthcare and gun control, and there is a great need to deal with such matters. But they also need to start thinking about foreign policy as well. For them to do so, the US government and all of the officials need to offer a story which is more compelling and give the right reasons why someone in Austin, Texas should care for what is happening in Afghanistan, Syria and the other countries worldwide.
New Foreign Policy
Trump and his administration decided to withdraw from the Paris agreement, but for the residents of Fall River, Massachusetts, this can have tremendous effects. The US is the largest CO2 emitter in the world, and instead of doing everything in its power to reduce the numbers of CO2 emitted in the atmosphere, the people in power seem not to care. Meanwhile, the Fall River residents are fighting with floods which are ruining the local infrastructure and redirecting budget to fixes instead of development. The aging sewage system needs to be upgraded to sustain the influx of extreme weather conditions.
Meanwhile, Georgia is the state which has more military enlistees than any other one in the nation. After Georgia, South Carolina and Texas are the top states and the families of such communities and cities in these states are well-aware of the US wars in the Middle East. These conflicts are a reality for them, and they are reading the stories – they are waiting for their husbands, fathers, and mothers to return home. In his presidential campaign, Trump has said that American would no longer fight pointless wars, but here he is, risking conflicts with Russia, Iran, and even Turkey, a country which is an ally.
West Virginia is not located on the border with Mexico, but it is the country most concerned with addiction. The pharmaceutical companies are loosely regulated, and a lot of Americans are hooked on painkillers. But it is not only painkillers that are the problem. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid originates from China, but it is distributed mostly through Mexico. Furthermore, it is scary to think that 95% of illegal substances in the United States comes over the Mexican border. The point is that building of a wall may reduce the entry of illegal immigrants, but it will not stop this epidemic. On the other hand, if Trump administration were to invest in mental health, pharmaceutical accountability and increase engagement across the borders, the numbers would go down.
Seven states – Wisconsin, Alaska, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and California had their state websites or voter registration databases compromised during the election, US intelligence officials confirm. The enemies of the state managed to harm the US citizens with cyber attacks which know no borders.
The Pax Americana has come to an end, and the United States, together with the entire world is going to establish a new world order in the upcoming years. The US should assume the role of a leader and help shape the better world. Otherwise, this will be decided without it, and its interests and values will be disregarded. If America wants no part in the world scene, China has an alternative model for global leadership, and they are willing to impose it. While it favors government over the individual, this type of rule is not defined by freedom, but conformity. It is the model based on state capitalism, and those who accept it are going to prosper, but those who oppose it will not be able to grow. On the other hand, America is promoting a system based on mutual benefit and development and the rights of individuals are its priority. Everyone has a chance to compete and succeed in the free market.
Which system is worth fighting for?