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10/6 Blog Post

When reading about America’s connection around the world a couple things stuck out to me. When thinking about countries inability to function within isolationism ideals a couple things struck me. I initially thought that the struggle to be a self sustaining nation was something that was understandable for small countries that might not have developed a strong and highly functioning system of trade within their country. Or maybe depending on their geographical location production of essential goods might not have even possible. When thinking about the United States however, I just assumed we of all countries could most certainly live self sustainably. What I learned is that for first world, major world powers like America, isolationism is nearly impossible. I think for a place like the US, there are a great deal of countries that rely on trade for their economy to flourish. America itself even relies heavily on countries like China for the production of the majority of goods sold in the United States.

Zinn breaks down the false sense of unity within the global power that is the United States. The ability to aid countries around the world should in fact bring the country together, but in reality it tears the country apart. Due to the United States constant role in foreign affairs I believe it has lost sight of some of the issues that Americans face at home and within communities. I believe in the majority of the work that the US does outside of the country, but I believe that we must first formulate plans and have conversations as to how we can help improve our own affairs while still being able to provide for nations outside of the US. I think it all comes down to balance, and the United States hasn’t quite figured out the perfect combination of both foreign and domestic affairs just yet. Someday I am hopeful that we will.

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  1. Charley Blount Charley Blount

    I think the isolationist US was doing just fine. For much of the twentieth century, the US embraced that stance (except for the Mexican-American war). This is not to say that the US did not make economic progressions following its global expansion, but this was instigated by imperial aspirations that began with the Spanish-American War. Not saying we should have closed our borders, but US interventionism has not served the world (or the US, for that matter) well in the last 100 years (ex. Iran, Vietnam, Gulf War, Gulf War 2).

  2. Margot Roussel Margot Roussel

    I agree with you. I think the world is so interconnected by globalization that there is no way to untangle that web (ha richmond reference!). I think that in the future the US can control how big of a role they wanted to play in certain affairs, but I do not see there being anyway that they can just ignore the rest of the world. Right now coronavirus is proving this point, there is no way to remain completely neutral.

  3. Jeffrey Sprung Jeffrey Sprung

    I completely agree that the US constant roles in foreign affairs causes for the increase in issues for the American people in the United States. I believe that it is problematic that when the US gets involved in foreign affairs we tend to concentrate less on domestic issues. I believe Zinn did an excellent job at highlighting the false sense of unity within the United States during WW1 within this chapter.

  4. Delaney Demaret Delaney Demaret

    I think that in the greater conversation around American foreign policy and disagreements over isolationism versus globalization is often lacking the crucial aspect of recognizing the past harms of United States policy. In the most colloquial way of saying it, we dug ourselves (and other nations) into holes for decades/centuries and now must find a way to repair past mistakes sustainably. The argument for or against isolationism cannot lie in the absolute binary, because a very complex response is required of the United States as an economic and militaristic power going forwards.

  5. Alexandra Oloughlin Alexandra Oloughlin

    In general, when countries isolate, they can only do so for so long. When China was isolated during the industrial revolution it fell behind on technology and had to catch up which created some bad conditions. We rely on the countries we trade with but suppose the US had a reason to isolate now, do you think we would be able to maintain this for an extended period of time?

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