How a Trump presidency is damaging the international status of the US


Nate Fordyce, Staffer

At the peak of tension during the Cold War, Soviet politician Nikita Krushchev warned John F. Kennedy not to pull the knot of war too tight or else the knot would become so tight that neither man would possess the power to untie it.

Recently it seems as if President Donald Trump has done everything in his power to pull this “knot of war” with North Korea as tight as possible, while simultaneously soiling the international status of the United States.

Typically changes in the United States’ presidential administration will lead to some degree of global uncertainty, but never before to the extreme that has been seen with the Trump administration.

A recent international poll conducted by The Pew Research Center, spanning 37 countries including neighboring Mexico and Canada, found that a mere 22 percent of those surveyed have confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to foreign affairs.

This statistic raises several red flags, especially as tensions with North Korea continue to increase and Trump continues to carelessly threaten the already fuming nation via Twitter.

However, Trump took to a broader, more official audience to deliver his most recent jumble of vague threats, ironically enough at a U.N. peace conference on Sept. 19, when he said, “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”

This kind of hateful rhetoric is not only damaging to an international view of a Trump presidency, but to the international view of the U.S. as a whole. The continuous threats spewing out of the west wing are just a single example among a plethora of global-image harming foreign policies.

Trump’s foreign policies could also be affecting the faces you see on campus. When questioned what the current administration might look like from an overseas perspective, associate vice chancellor of the Office of International Education and Development at Appalachian State, Jesse Lutabingwa, said, “I think one of the fears is that we seem to be looking more inward than open to others, we seem to put barriers to entry to the country rather than making it easier for international students to come here.”

Unlike Trump, Lutabingwa values the goal of creating a global community. When asked why he thinks creating a global community is so important, Lutabingwa said, “We live in an interconnected world” and “A lot of big challenges we face as a world will be solved by working together as citizens of the world such as environmental issues.” He added that environmental issues “have no borders.”

Instead of internationally working to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, Trump chose to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, opening the door for other countries to question, if the U.S. is not committed to fixing this problem, why should we?

Unilateralism is an infectious disease that spreads from nation to nation, only driving a wedge between international community.

Sustaining a healthy and productive international populace is not an easy thing to accomplish. However, putting America first will not assist us with reaching this goal in any way.

Trump’s vision for America is that of a schoolyard bully looking to pick a fight. It is the kind of image that will strike nothing but fear into our allies and global neighbors.

This fear Trump wishes to be instilled upon the global community has a dangerous capability to do irreparable harm by turning scientists and doctors away from the U.S., cutting off international communications and trade, bringing any global efforts to clean our planet to a screeching halt or even inciting war.

Are we already engaged in a modern day Cold War with North Korea? Is Trump attempting to simmer heated relations or is he carelessly tossing gas into the flames? Will Trump ever find his footing as a leader in global politics?

In the coming years of his presidency, one would hope this business tycoon might come to find that there is a difference between corporate profits and national interest.

Instead of putting America first, he might begin to see some value in working together to put the health of the planet first.

Although it may be difficult, I encourage those who consider themselves members of this global community to remain optimistic for this young presidency to mature.

Nate Fordyce is an undecided freshman from Chicago, Illinois.