In countries all around the world today there is a growing movement urging a retreat from “globalism” – the focus on global issues and international relationships. These feelings have clearly been lurking under the surface for some time, but proponents of this ideology have become increasingly vocal – and influential – over the past few years.
The result? We are now witnessing a marked shift of focus away from global issues, and toward domestic ones. Instead of looking abroad for opportunities to connect with other nations and improve the world as a whole, countries are instead turning inward and asking “what will best serve our interests?” Advocates of renewed isolationism argue that focusing attention outward does more harm than good. Every country should look out for own – and let other nations do the same. International organizations and alliances – once recognized as vital to keeping the peace and promoting global development – are now being criticized as “unnecessary” and “a waste of money”.
Last summer, citizens of the UK shocked the world by voting to pull out of the European Union. Since the UK was a prominent member, all the polls and expert opinions indicated that it would vote to stay. However, as was the case with the recent U.S. election, the polls were wrong. A groundswell nationalist movement led voters to reject cooperation with other countries and instead gamble with their own destiny. As it turned out, the Brexit vote was a harbinger of renewed popular support for isolationist policies around the world.
America has long viewed itself as a beacon of freedom in the world, a champion of peace and prosperity for all mankind – not just our own. Historically, our role on the world stage has been that of a country willing to come to the aid of other nations, should they require it. However, this ideal appears to have become stale in the mind of many Americans. In its place is a trend toward isolation.
Following a campaign built on putting “America First”, the Trump administration appears to be changing the status quo. Perhaps the most controversial policy proposal involves building a wall along the entire southern border of the United States. The president recently signed an executive order indicating that construction on the wall will proceed as planned.
Every country must seek to promote the welfare of its own people. However, this trend toward isolationism is troubling. As citizens of the world, our greatest advantage is the ability to work with one another to solve complex problems and make the earth a better place everyone to live. Division only leads to misunderstanding, and misunderstanding to animosity.
As a church that actively works to encourage unity among humankind, the ULC rejects any attempt to divide people. We may believe in different gods, have different skin colors, and speak different languages, but we have much in common, too. We all breathe the same air. We all derive from the same ancestors. And, most importantly, we are all children of the same universe.