Unless you have been living in a a cave since the beginning of January you are probably well aware of the controversies surrounding the current U.S. government. Trump and his administration have rightfully been accused of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, religious fundamentalism and anti-intellectualism. People are calling them fascists, bigots, unprepared and unfit to govern. No matter how true or untrue these accusations may be what’s worrisome is how often these feelings are placed on the entire American population.
U.S. foreign policy has a history of being based on self-interest and going against global trends. A few examples:
- In the 1930’s the U.S. Government was complacent in the cover up of the Ukrainian genocide. ‘The US State Department was well aware of what was occurring in Ukraine, but chose to do nothing because the republic was not vital to American interests. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the American president at the time, was aiming to establish formal diplomatic relations with the USSR and did not wish to compromise negotiations’ (1)
- The United States pulled out the Kyoto Accord, a treaty intended to help reduce greenhouse emissions. President Bush stated that it would hurt the economy.(2)
- The United States also refused to sign the international treaty banning landmines (3)
- Iran-contra: The U.S.defied an international ban and sold arms to Iran(4)
While it sometimes makes sense to protect national interests, that can be taken too far to the detriment of everyone. Now thanks to a combination of self-centered foreign policy and media sensationalism the world is facing an anti-Americanism that is unsettling. In 2016 America’s image internationally had risen but Americans were still considered greedy, arrogant, violent and optimistic and hardworking but not tolerant.(5) The same research showed little faith in Trump and safe to assume that future research will show declining results.
While there is certainly reason to dislike and worry about American foreign policy. There is no reason to hate Americans. With only two parties to choose from and even a civil war, the United States is a nation that has always had a deep cultural divide(6). With all of the media attention on Trump’s controversies many are forgetting that more than 65 million Americans didn’t vote for him. That means tens of millions of American’s don’t favor the current president or the controversies surrounding him. Low voter turnout was a big issue too so that number is probably a lot higher. Protests are widespread and outcry is constant, it’s hard to turn on the T.V or radio and not hear denouncement of Trump from someone in the world, including other Americans.
This blog normally doesn’t touch on politics but as humanists we are deeply against hatred and we fear that anti-American hatred is going to get really bad going forward but we can and will rise above. There are plenty of natural reactions to controversies like the one’s surrounding Trump’s administration so far like shock, anger or dismay but Americans are our friends, neighbors and relatives and hatred of them makes us no better then those we accuse of racism and bigotry.
- Holomdomor -Denial and Silences
- Bush: Kyoto Treaty Would Hurt the Economy
- Why Hasn’t the U.S. Signed the International Ban on Landmines?
- United States History: Iran-Contra Affair
- As Obama Years Draw to Close, President and U.S. Seen Favorably in Europe and Asia.
- A Disunited United States: What the 2016 Election Says About America.