Isolationism is an international relations theory I learned about during my time attending the University of Nebraska. Switzerland is the most popular country that practices isolationism.
This is not a new approach for the United States or other places around the world. After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the United States left isolationism and entered World War II fighting against Japan, Germany, and other Axis powers. The United States joined the Allies to defeat the Axis ending World War II.
Since then, the United States switched between an isolationist country and global engagement for the last 200+ years. As with any other theory, there are pros and cons to isolationism.
When a country, such as the United States, practices isolationism, it allows the government to spend more money on domestic issues — like COVID-19 by spending less on its military budget.
However, as mentioned earlier, with pros comes cons. The economy may suffer by restricting passage to the United States. Isolationism also makes the United States more vulnerable to conflict with foreign adversaries. As Trotsky — a Marxist theorist — mentioned in the early 1900s, even though you may not be looking for war, war may look for you.
With that said, the United States must remain vigilant during this troubled time caused by COVID-19. America is at one of its most vulnerable moments with the pandemic spreading to small towns and metropolitan areas. The economy is in turmoil. Unemployment claims are rising to numbers never seen in recent history with over 3M claims last week alone. Hospitals are running out of beds. This is the prime opportunity that our adversaries have waited years to capitalize on — a vulnerable America.
So, what is in our favor? COVID-19 is affecting everyone state and non-state actors alike. Closing our borders and grounding our planes work to make it more difficult for our adversaries to enter the United States and reduce the spread of the coronavirus at the same time.
My viewpoint on isolationism is that closing our borders temporarily and putting America first is not necessarily a bad thing during the COVID-19 outbreak or any other pandemic for that matter. Why? We have over 300M people living in the United States right now. Of those, approximately one-tenth of a percent or 1:1,000 of Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus. President Trump has increased the projected number of Americans who will become infected with this deadly virus.
While I support isolationism during this time, we — the United States — also need to pour additional funding into the WHO and other international health organizations to work on a vaccine reducing the likelihood of spreading the disease further. At its current infectious rate, every American will have someone close to them at least become a carrier of COVID-19. I hope that we can get control of this outbreak before every American is close to someone who dies from the coronavirus.
In my next post, I will discuss COVID-19 treatment.