When the Berlin Wall came down Nov. 9, 1989, some prematurely—and infamously—celebrated “the end of history” and the victory of liberal democracy in the Western World. Today, we are faced with the danger of another wall. President Donald Trump’s wall and the implications it could bring to global politics are disastrous.
Nearly three decades have passed since the world witnessed the removal of a concrete barrier that separated ideologically polarized worlds from one another. President Trump’s proposed wall will separate two geographical areas and symbolically create a barrier between worldviews.
The Berlin Wall was built by Soviets to keep Western fascists from encroaching on Communist territory. However, during the Cold War, it mainly served as a symbolic proxy of aggression and defense between two growing empires.
The proposal of a wall that will separate Mexico and much of Latin America from the United States has been received with mixed opinions. In support for the wall, there has been an upswing of American nationalism and hope that the country will once again be “great.” For people standing on the other side of the wall, nationalist sentiments ring true as well—but for their own respective countries.
With every foreign policy decision President Trump and the Republican Party make, it seems as if they are building their own fortress of proto-fascist ideas. For the United States to remove itself from the rest of the world sounds, in some sense, ideal: less unnecessary wars, no longer spreading the American gospel as the only way of life and a heightened ability to focus on what needs to be fixed back home.
However, President Trump and the Republican Party are not simply saying “we have to take some time for ourselves to be more effective for the rest of the world.” Rather, they have made it evident that all other nations are on their own as they continue to face conflict.
On January 3, House Republicans introduced the “American Sovereignty Act of 2017” which, if passed, will end all membership of the United States in the United Nations. Although the UN may be criticized for being largely ineffective, the message this bill sends to the rest of the world simply results in growing global tension.
What many Trumpites do not seem to understand is that with every word of American supremacist rhetoric spewed by Trump, the rest of the world doesn’t respond with awe. It doesn’t make other people want to be Americans.
In fact, the continued aggressions in different countries are seemingly only working to build anti-American sentiments, and deservedly so. To remove ourselves from one of the only formal institutions that works toward nuclear disarmament sends a message to the rest of the world that we don’t particularly care about avoiding a nuclear war, and they shouldn’t either.
Today we happen to be the largest empire in the world, but, throughout history, we’ve seen plenty of empires rise and fall. Making enemies seems to be President Trump’s specialty, but a line has to be drawn. Defensive isolationism is understandable to a point. However, aggressive abandonment and disrespect to the rest of the world will perhaps build enough tension to shift world order, which will surely be a dark time in American history.
– May Olvera is a journalism junior