The rise of nationalism in the United States: What it means for the world
Nationalism is a political ideology that focuses on the interests of one’s own country above all others. In the United States, nationalism is on the rise. This has been reflected in the increased use of phrases such as “America First” and “Make America Great Again” in political discourse, as well as in the proliferation of nationalist and far-right groups.
The rise of nationalism in the United States has significant implications for the world. Here are some of the most important ways in which it could impact global affairs:
1. Threat to global order and stability
The United States has been a key player in the international system since the end of World War II. Its leadership has been crucial to maintaining peace and stability across the globe. However, the rise of nationalism in the country threatens to undermine this role. Nationalism tends to focus on narrow self-interests and can lead to unilateral actions and policies that prioritize the needs of one country over those of others. This creates tension and mistrust in the international system, making it more difficult to work together to tackle global challenges.
2. Impacts on international trade and cooperation
The United States has historically been a strong advocate for free trade and economic globalization. However, the rise of nationalism has led to a growing skepticism of international trade and cooperation. This is reflected in the Trump administration’s withdrawal from multilateral trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and renegotiation of existing agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Nationalism fueled by protectionism can lead to a breakdown in economic ties between countries, which can result in long-term effects such as job loss and economic stagnation.
3. Reinforcement of authoritarian regimes
Nationalism tends to evoke a sense of national pride and exceptionalism which can make some authoritarian regimes more appealing to follow. China and Russia have adopted a nationalist stance and used this to justify their repressive regimes internally, while also seeking to extend their influence on the international stage.
Nationalism may give these regimes more leverage to extend their own spheres of influence and threatens the stability of the global order by exporting authoritarian values.
4. Rise in populism globally
The appeal of nationalism extends beyond the United States; many countries around the world are seeing a rise in populism driven by nationalist rhetoric. This has been seen in the rise of far-right parties in Europe and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom.
Populist movements, which thrive on anti-globalization and anti-immigrant sentiment, tend to promote a divisive societal framework. This can further isolate and marginalize minority groups while creating a climate of fear and xenophobia.
5. Climate change
The United States has historically been one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases and the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord has been seen by many as a failure of the US’s responsibility to global efforts in reducing carbon emissions. The U.S’s decision to abandon the Paris agreement and roll back environmental regulations is not only detrimental to efforts to curb anthropogenic climate change, but it also sends a dangerous message that countries can ignore their global responsibilities when it suits them.
The rise of nationalism in the United States is a complex and evolving issue. It threatens to destabilize the international system and foster a divisive and isolationist approach to global problems. If unchecked, it could have lasting effects on international trade, cooperation, and the fight against global challenges such as climate change. It is important for individuals and governments around the world not to fall into the trap of nationalistic populism that stokes division rather than serving common goals. We must strive for cooperation and global unity in tackling the challenges of the twenty-first century.