Trump Touts National Security But Misses Big Picture

By the 314 Action Blog Team

The war on science has already begun for the Trump administration, and the battle being waged seems to not only focus on domestic entities like the EPA and National Park Service. Trump’s foreign policy, namely his immigration ban targeting Muslims and proposed border wall with Mexico, are just as detrimental to the scientific community and to global efforts to solve environmental problems like climate change, which the recently elected President famously called a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese.

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It is disheartening to hear that scientists, in particular, from the seven affected countries are being dissuaded from coming to the United States and actively being denied access to travel to America. Leading scientists from Iran like Samira Asgari, who was intending to come to the USA to research genetic effects on tuberculosis, have now been left in limbo following the President’s executive order.

Unfortunately, it seems President Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the detrimental effects of this ban both in regards to the global exchange of knowledge and, more generally, America’s ability to attract leading academics will severely impact our country’s role as a world scientific leader. Schools and institutions across the country are warning international students and scholars affiliated with them to stay in the country until the effects of this rushed policy can be determined.

Despite his claims that this policy will provide the nation with increased security, it misses the larger problem posed to both national and international security by issues such as climate change. By effectively limiting the international exchange of scientists and academics Trump sends a clear signal to the global community that the United States will let bigoted fear rhetoric override more pressing concerns.

Coming down the pipeline is Trump’s proposal to build a Mexican border wall, which will not only serve as a costly and ineffective means to solve illegal immigration. Scientists are reporting that the wall itself will prove detrimental to the environment. Not only will there be increased greenhouse gas emissions from building the wall, construction will block animal migration routes and alter the surrounding ecosystems.

Ultimately, the scope of the impact of Trump’s radical foreign policy frightens our international allies and proves a serious threat to scientific progress. As scientists and protesters continue to speak out against this Administration’s actions, hopefully will get the message and do an about face on these policies.