With surgeon’s precision, the administration of President Donald Trump is cutting the ties that bind this country to the rest of the world. The policy of his predecessor, Barack Obama, aimed at deepening international agreements that allow facing common problems in a coordinated way, has been completely rejected by the current president.
Last Saturday, through a laconic statement, the US mission to the UN notified its intention to withdraw from the UN Global Conpact on Migration and Refugees, considering that such pact contains many provisions that are incompatible with US immigration and refugee policies , and with the principles dictated by the Trump administration in immigration matters.
This is another battle won by the most reactionary sector of Trump’s environment; in this particular case, the ultra-nationalist Stephen Miller, who got his way, despite the skepticism of the State Department and the open opposition of the ambassador to the UN, Nikky Haley.
The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants had been adopted unanimously by the 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016, with the purpose of improving the management of migrant and refugee movements, as well as their protection. With this declaration, a mandate was granted to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to prepare a proposal to be presented to the General Assembly in 2018. Its objective is to build a Global Compact that will improve the international management of migrations, guarantee the protection of the Human Rights of migrants, including that of immigrant children, and define a common action program.
In presenting — in spite of herself— the decision of the White House, Nikki Halley pointed out, in a second statement, that the United States had done more than any other country for immigrants and refugees, a policy that it would continue to carry out with generosity, but with “own decisions” including those that it will consider most appropriate to defend its borders.
It is difficult to immediately assess the consequences of such a serious action at a time when migration has become a problem that needs a sensible and international policy; a pity, the destabilization of democratic governments and the advance of nationalist and far-right movements. Only through international control it is possible to organize the constant flow of migrants and guarantee respect for the human rights of those fleeing situations of hunger and war. As the current president of the UN General Assembly, the Slovak Miroslav Lajcak, said in response to the decision of the United States: “Migration is a global problem, which demands a global response”.
Since his arrival in the White House, President Trump has promoted a policy of distancing the U.S. from international organizations. Brick after brick, and with the almost compulsive speed characterizing politicians during electoral months, he is dismantling, without anesthesia, agreements and decisions that are the fruit of long and patient diplomatic work.
The isolation policy began with the abandonment of the Paris Agreements on climate; this decision continues to concern not only scientists, but also a humanity that suffers daily the consequences of global warming. The future is already present, and it is being demonstrated by the extreme atmospheric phenomena that shake the land regardless of borders and, in many cases, being an additional cause for migrations.
Another decision that has caused perplexity and concern has been the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
It was the governments of the countries opposing the Nazi Germany in the middle of the Second World War who took the first steps towards the creation of this organization. Europe was experiencing the most serious tragedy of war; and politicians understood that, in order to guarantee a stable peace, it was necessary to rebuild education systems when the conflict ended. On these bases the definitive creation of UNESCO was agreed upon, as an international organization focused on the promotion and protection of education and culture, as pillars to avoid new global conflicts. In the preamble of its constitution, it is explained: “Since wars are born in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the bastions of peace must be erected.”
In a world in which pro-Nazi movements are proliferating again, terrorism is growing and the specter of nuclear war is once again a real threat, leaving UNESCO to die can have far more serious consequences than it might seem at first.
President Trump also decided to abandon the international nuclear agreement that his country and five other world powers had signed with Iran; and, as we know, he wants to abandon the Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed with Mexico and Canada by his predecessor.
The isolationist policy of the current US administration puts increasingly at risk the delicate framework of agreements / controls established at the international level to face problems that do not concern a single country, but all human beings equally.
While many international organizations can and should be improved; while there is criticism from those who would like more incisive and determined actions, no one can deny that it would be practically impossible to face situations of global interest without the help of international organizations. To weaken them, means to weaken the populations, which would become much more isolated and alone in the face of the excesses of their own governments; to weaken them, means also to allow more freedom of movement to the most reactionary and xenophobic sectors.
It is a fact that despite of, or perhaps because of, greater interconnection, nationalist movements are growing and the entropic forces of societies are deepening, which tend to destroy concepts such as solidarity and inclusion.
The need to blame others for our ills facilitates the path of those who base their strength in the ability to draw different culprits from a hat, who cannot defend themselves. Many times, immigrants top the list of those culprits.
History teaches that this disease has ancient roots; unfortunately, it has yet to teach us about a medicine to treat it adequately.
“Pensar es como vivir dos veces.” - Cicerón