21 February, 2024
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America veering towards a path of isolationism

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As the world navigates an era of unprecedented interconnectedness, the United States, once a beacon of openness and inclusiveness, appears to be veering towards a path of isolationism. Recent incidents, ranging from the interrogation and deportation of Chinese scholars and students with valid visas to the erection of barbed wire fences along the US-Mexican border, paint a picture of a nation turning inward, distancing itself from the global community.

The situation at airports, where individuals with valid visas faced interrogation and deportation, and the raids on Chinese businesses with confiscation of personal devices, exemplify a growing trend of suspicion and barriers. The ripple effect extends to the US-Mexican border, where Texas has set up barbed wire fences in response to an immigration crisis, reflecting a surge in anti-immigration and xenophobic sentiments.

These actions, coupled with the retention of punitive trade barriers against Europeans by the Biden administration, send a clear message – the United States is becoming increasingly self-focused, prioritizing its own interests over global collaboration.

Despite being the sole superpower, the United States seems to be grappling with self-doubt, as noted by political commentator Fareed Zakaria. The prevailing mood in the country is pessimistic, with a Pew Research Center survey revealing dissatisfaction with the economy and a belief in the country’s decline in various aspects. Despite record-high stock prices and seemingly strong economic performance, many ordinary Americans find themselves struggling to make ends meet.

Politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have failed to address chronic issues like the wealth gap, drug problems, national debts, immigration reforms, and entitlement program crises. Instead of fostering collaboration to tackle these problems, they engage in a blame game, pointing fingers at political opponents, rising economies abroad, and even European allies.

This vicious cycle has led to political polarization, social division, and an upsurge in racism, populism, and xenophobia. The manufacturing sector becomes a battleground for conflicting ideologies, with the Biden administration’s push for reindustrialization conflicting with demands for record-high salary increases, potentially affecting the competitiveness of American automakers globally.

The blame game intensifies as Republicans attribute the manufacturing decline to immigrants and foreign competitors, using it as an election tactic. However, a manufacturing renaissance relies on a skilled labor force, a significant portion of which comprises immigrants. The anti-immigrant atmosphere and chaotic policies may hinder the revival of labor-intensive industries.

Extreme conservatism has tainted public opinion, evident in the surge of hate crimes against Asians and airport harassment cases against Chinese students. The very values that made America a strong and diverse nation – openness and tolerance – seem to be eroding.

Regrettably, the United States, once proud of its identity as a nation of immigrants, removed the phrase from the Citizenship and Immigration Services’ mission statement in 2018. In an era of globalization, isolationism is neither possible nor realistic. The interconnectedness of nations demands collaboration, and turning people away benefits neither the world nor the United States.

It’s crucial for the United States to recognize the strength derived from diversity, uphold its legacy as a nation of immigrants, and actively engage in global affairs. Openness, tolerance, and cooperation are the keys to navigating the complex challenges of the 21st century.

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