Focusing on candidates’ foreign policies

Photo by Casey Gomez

If you are still floundering on whom to vote for this November, let foreign policy tip the scale.

Though domestic policy tends to fill more debate time as candidates argue over gun control, education, and immigration reform, the fact is that we live in an increasingly interdependent, interconnected world, and the United States is in a unique position where small changes at a local level can have consequences at a global level.

The U.S. is a major player in determining international policy and influencing the global economy. Isolationism was idealized by early U.S. presidents such as George Washington, but is an outdated concept in a world where every action by a major country ripples out consequences from first world to third world.

Neither the U.S. nor our policies exist in a vacuum. The World Wars and the Cold War were harsh lessons in the need for cooperation between countries — or, at the very least, tolerance — while technology like the Internet and multinational companies like Apple and Google have brought them together and linked their economies.

The interconnectedness of modern countries and their memberships to supranational organizations such as the United Nations has forced every country to be a team player. This trend of linking countries economically and politically will only increase in the coming decades, meaning world leaders must be able to navigate a complex landscape on an international stage.

One of the most important of these leaders is U.S. president, who aside from maintaining domestic peace will also have to contend with foreign affairs.

The ideal U.S. president must be able to balance protecting the country’s interests while understanding that the U.S. is just one country of many. Building walls to sperate us from others or deporting a group of people is incredibly petty and is not respectful of other countries and cultures. A rash international decision such as firebombing an entire corner of the globe (looking at you, Mr. Drumpf) will not only drag the U.S. into costly engagements, but ruin its reputation with important allies.

Being seen as stable is more important than being seen as strong-armed, especially when it comes to trade agreements and economic transactions.

Maintaining a stable foreign policy should be one of the top issues, if not the most important. The U.S. may be the strongest country in the world, in its economy, military and pervasive culture, but we are not a hegemon lording over other states.

Other countries such as China and the European nations hold as much clout and are just as determined to look after their own interests. We need a president who can hold firm, but
play nice.

To quote my politically-savvy roommate, “We can be a hot mess at home, but internationally … we can’t afford to do that.”