When the president is a bigot, the poison spreads

In case anyone needs reminding: A majority of the world is populated by what we Americans call “people of color.” To fight terrorism or prevent the spread of pandemic disease, to stem weapons proliferation or organized criminal organizations, to address climate change or punish outlaw states, we need the willing cooperation of nations around the world. None of these transnational security challenges can be combated effectively by the United States alone.

With the president increasingly alienating our allies and insulting potential partners as “shithole” countries, America is hardly well positioned to call upon the good will and cooperation of other states when next we need it most. Moreover, in our intensified competition with China for influence in Asia and markets globally, we are hobbled by the contrast between a president who embraces white nationalist mantras and holds people around the world in disdain, and China, which is still perceived by many developing countries as more sympathetic to the world’s underdogs despite its autocratic government.

Most dangerously, President Trump is serving up to our adversaries an ever more divided and weakened America, one that is animated by suspicion, rived by hatred of the “other” and increasingly incapable of uniting in the face of external threats.

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