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Emma Nelson
December 2016.
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How can Trump make America great again with an isolationist policy?
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The short answer is: he won’t. The genie is out of the bottle in terms of globalisation. We live in a global world. So the idea that we can just build walls and imagine that the problems out there won’t affect us is misreading what the 21st century is about. 

If you try to go down that path, you’re going to build a wall and for a short time you might have the illusion of America First or making America great again. But those problems are going to come over the wall. For example the EU has learned the hard way that not paying attention to Syria actually has an impact on the EU itself. 

Not paying attention to how societies govern themselves when they break apart catastrophically has an impact on the West. And the West is the only power that can really clean up these messes or prevent them in the first place. I think most people would say if we could have dealt with Syria in 2010 and brokered a peace deal, oh my God that would have been worth the money. 

"That said, the line Make America Great Again is brilliant. It taps into the feeling of loss of white identity. That's the beast that Trump woke up in white rural America."

The more that you ignore the problem, the more that you just blind yourselves to the eventual deluge of a much bigger problem down the road. That’s what Trump’s America first policy is risking. To my mind it’s believing that we can just go back to some fake nostalgia for a period that was actually less prosperous and less safe than it is now. It’s really shortsighted. That said, the tagline 'Make America Great Again' is brilliant. There are a lot of people who feel nostalgic for the past because they don’t like multiculturalism. This idea of identity politics to make America great again is genius. It really taps into the feeling of loss of white identity, and to people who are uncomfortable with the complexion of the electorate and how it’s becoming darker really respond to this. That’s the beast he really woke up in white rural America. 

Brian Klass is the author of The Despot’s Accomplice: How The West Is Aiding And Abetting The Decline Of Democracy.