Erecting barriers does not make the world safer

Our new President has been in office less than two months and the world is a less safe place than it was before his tenure. So, is the United States, which is the opposite result of his stated goal.

Erecting barriers, both physically and verbally, perpetuates a we/ they culture. Demonizing groups of people and specific individuals causes disenfranchisement. Banning folks creates segregation and less integration of thoughts, cultures and ideas. Tolerating and fueling bigotry promotes narrow-minded thinking and less collaboration. And, a jingoistic national bent derails international commerce and security.

But, this is not just a US phenomenon. Like-minded folks in other countries are demonizing people who look and worship differently than they do. I recognize fully there are concerns and conflicts with influx of refugees. Yet, demonizing folks does not help resolve the issues. The resulting nationalistic thinking makes collaboration and trade more difficult, as well as finding ways to resolve problems.

Breaking down barriers makes us safer. The more commerce we do across borders, the more indebted we are to each other’s success. The more commerce and common goals makes us more secure. The greatest threat to terrorists is multi-cultural success and freedoms.

And, as I wrote recently, coexisting leads to more profits. So, we should reduce barriers not erect them. We should challenge bigotry and exclusion. We should ask the same of our leaders.

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14 thoughts on “Erecting barriers does not make the world safer

  1. So true Keith. We are not the only country leaning right, isolating. Look at Brexit and now the Dutch. I think we made it ok to put up borders for the others though GB led the way over there. I hate to see this happening. It does make for a far more dangerous world.

    • Erika, I prefer your use of the word “connecting.” I read once that innovation occurs in the intersections of disciplines and groups. I worked for a global company based in New York and my non-US colleagues were bemused by the belief in HQ that if it was not invented in America it was not the best idea. What was interesting is many very good idea spawned and were incubated in Australia, Germany, the U.K., Spain, etc. It forced this global company to adapt. Had they been US centric, they would have shot themselves in the foot. Keith

      • What a great example and the word connecting fits perfectly here! We need to learn that our pride doesn’t help but the openness to let everyone in in order to add their parts! That is real connection and you have the best from everything!

      • Pride, especially national pride, causes too many problems. Thinking your country can do no wrong is not patriotism. Doing what you can to make your country better is patriotism.

      • Erika, we have some strident folks who don’t think we should apologize for anything. That is plain foolish with our more than a few poor actions – maltreatment of Native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow, encamping Japanese-Americans in WWII, invading a country under false pretense, etc.

      • I know, we hear such statements in the news which we cannot believe that they really believe what they say! It is more than shocking!!!

  2. Dear Keith,

    Apologizing for mistakes one makes, is the sign of an adult who is taking responsibility for his/ her actions. This is true for countries as well.

    It is my observation that autocratic leaders are dependent on peoples being fearful which leads to distrust and other ugly behaviors. For example DT is trying to spread the fear of Muslims which is not warranted based on facts but we as Americans can chose not to act accordingly.

    He is turning a blind eye to the spike in hate crimes in the USA by alt-right which makes me feel less safe.

    .Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, all good points. Former Senator and cabinet secretary William Cohen responded to a question from a BBC reporter regarding the world not being able to trust what Trump says. Cohen said it is more than just Trump, it is America’s lack of trust. He added the world is looking at us as a circus. That is an apt word. Keith

  3. What is really frightening to me in today’s western culture is a lesson I learned when doing research for a political science professor during my grad school years. The theme of the publication he was working on was that when a nation is divided within itself, if an external threat exists, the people on both sides come together to defeat the external threat. Thus governments of divided nations may actually expedite or invent threats from without to heal divisions within. We saw this for a short time after 9/11 … people coming together, caring for one another … and even supporting government in endeavors that we would later learn were pure folly, such as WMDs in Iraq, so we must go to war. Is Trump not only spreading false fears, but setting us up for an attack that will bring the nation together, willing to give him even greater powers? Look at Erdogan in Turkey, the coup in July …

    • Jill, you make a chillingly good point. An additional dilemma that cannot be overlooked, is after two months, it is apparent to our allies that Trunp cannot be trusted. So, as he looks for allies in any fight, he and we have this albatross to overcome. Thanks for your comment, Keith

  4. Note to Readers: One of my mantras is religion is at its finest when it includes and is at its absolute worst when it excludes. The same holds true with governments and countries. When they exclude they are ignoring both intellectual capital and civil rights. We have far too many examples of immigrants who made a major impact on his or her new country. We have far too many examples of entrepreneurs who immigrated to a country.

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