The current administration in the White House has promoted nationalism as a good thing for the United States.  Nationalist believe that their country is superior above others and desire to separate themselves from other countries, global organizations and global interests.  Leaders of countries sometimes use nationalism to promote a sense of patriotism in the general population but the two are very different. Sydney J. Harris, a journalist, describes the two as follows:

Patriotism is proud of a country’s virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its countries virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. (Ashwill, “US Nationalism – The Elephant in the Room.”)

Adolf Hitler used nationalism to promote his agenda of exterminating other races.  Italy Benito Mussolini in Italy is another example. Today, we see nationalism in the United States immigration policies, building of a border wall, in economics, imposing tariffs, and pulling out of international organizations that the U. S. has long been a leader of. And then the coronavirus also known as COVID 19 came along.  We are reminded again that one cannot live in this world and not be affected by what goes on half way across the globe.

         The response to some things are better when done on a global level.  The coronavirus may have risen out of an animal market in the middle of China but it got to the U.S. very quickly and it is spreading to every corner of the world.  A wall on the border of the U.S. and Mexico cannot keep out the virus. Blaming Asians is not a solution. As a leading expert in infectious diseases and global health stated, “What we know is . . . that it is a really dangerous global threat.” The key word being “global”. (Kolhatkar, “The Corona virus Panic Exposes the Pathology of Nationalism”)  Several months ago Trump’s administration did away with the National Security Council’s global health security team, a “group of world-class infectious disease and public health experts.” (Kolhatker) Furthermore, the funding for overseas operations of U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention has also been severely cut. (Kolhatkar) We are learning very quickly that “the idea of America First, the nationalist populism, is against everything that we believe in in global health.” (Kolhatker)  

         We are an international world.  The coronavirus outbreak has already affected more than health.  It has affected the stock market, travel, politics and trade. Stockpiling water and retreating into our bunkers will not be enough to insulate us from the reaches of the virus.  We need a global response to a global threat.  

Works Cited

(Ashwill, Mark. “US Nationalism – The Elephant in the Room.” March 18, 2016. University World News.

(Kolhatkar, Sonali. “The Corona virus Panic Exposes the Pathology of Nationalism”. Common Dreams. February 7, 2020.  

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