“America First” was a campaign slogan that President Woodrow Wilson used that helped summarize anti-interventionism during the backdrop of World War I. For a while the slogan proved effective, and was one of the major reasons why he was re-elected in 1916, but as the war dragged on Wilson saw that the involvement in the war was eminent, declaring war on Germany a year later. The involvement in World War I helped bring the United States to the world stage and began partnerships with countries that shared our common interests.
However after 100 years of world affairs, President Trump’s America First policy is poised to bring the United States back to where the country was diplomatically with our closest allies. As a result, it has emboldened our adversaries, such as China, Russia, and Iran, to fill the hole that the United States might leave behind and leave our closest allies to fend for themselves.
While it may be fair to think that our interests should matter at home rather than abroad, we should also keep in mind that our diplomatic relations with our allies allowed our nation to thrive in a more chaotic and globalizing world. We must affirm our ties with our allies and that even though we as a country have a right for self determination, America First shouldn’t mean America alone.
First and foremost, the United States must secure close ties to countries that completely share our values. These are countries that believe and continue to exercise our democratic-republican ideals. Ideals such as freedom of press and religion, free and fair elections, the separation of church and state and the free flow of commerce and ideas, just to name a few.
We must also realize that nations such as China, Russia and Iran only seek to benefit from our absence on the world stage. The world is safer with the United States leading the charge against authoritative regimes that meddle in national elections, invade sovereign nations, and fund terrorism. As a united front, the United States and her allies help bring the world to a better place and help spread peace and democracy to regions that need it most.
At this point in time the United States is on a razor’s edge as to how involved with the world we chose to be. Although the United States hasn’t fully relinquished it’s leading role the world affairs as of yet, China, and to some extent Russia, are becoming more and more influential on the world stage and are likely to upset the peace that was so desperately fought for in the last century. If that does happen, the United States must look to her allies and reaffirm our common values, so that we, as a nation, don’t fight that battle alone.
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