Donald Trump came to power repeating a mantra. “America First, America First”. In the short time since his inauguration, he has sought to back his claim up, with controversial policy decisions. The most polemical of which is his executive order barring entry to the US for a number of majority Muslim countries – his reasoning? To stop Islamic terrorism. The evidence shows he is wrong.
- Trump creating a lonely America.
- Domestic terror dominates.
- Is the media to blame?
- What are America’s alternatives?
Having based his campaign upon a defensive and isolationist view of the world, it must be said that Trump has followed through on some of his most controversial promises. His aggressive moves to limit the amount of immigrants entering the country – particularly with his now infamous travel ban – have left his followers joyous.
His comments about the crimes of immigrants and how they affect the native population have left many incredulous. He labeled Mexican immigrants “murderers and rapists”. In the last few weeks he revealed the office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) to emphasize the most horrific crimes of illegal immigrants.
The official name of Trump’s travel ban leaves it’s purpose with no room for interpretation: Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States. Senator Bernie Sanders was clear in its design: “Trump’s Muslim ban isn’t about keeping us safe,” he wrote on Twitter. “A president intent on keeping us safe wouldn’t give ideological ammunition to terrorists.”
Evidence suggests danger from within
In regard to terror incidents in the US in recent times there are some stunning figures. The Anti-Defamation League recently released a report that 295 people were killed by other Americans in extremist activities between 2006 and 2015. 70 percent of the victims or 206 deaths are attributable to white supremacists. Anti-government terrorists killed 15 percent or 44 people.
One fact has been widely reported since the initial travel ban was put in place. That none of the attacks on the US since 9/11 that were attributed to international extremism were committed by nationals of those countries subject to the ban.
Furthermore, New America, a Washington-based nonprofit group has stated that since the Sept. 11 attacks, every deadly jihadist attack inside the United States was carried out by a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
Media playing a pivotal role
Trump has made the mainstream media one of his main opponents in the first months of his presidency, continually calling news sources such as CNN “fake news.” His chief adviser, Steve Bannon, went as far as to label the media “the opposition party” in an interview with the New York Times.
However, it is perhaps the mainstream media’s portrayal of terrorist attacks that has helped exacerbate the fear of that which is foreign, in the US and other Western democracies. Georgia State University carried out a study of media reports of terror attacks that took place between 2011 and 2015. For those five years, the researchers found, Muslims carried out only 11 out of the 89 attacks in the US, yet those attacks received 44 percent of the media coverage.
“The average attack with a Muslim perpetrator is covered in 90.8 articles. Attacks with a Muslim, foreign-born perpetrator are covered in 192.8 articles on average. Compare this with other attacks, which received an average of 18.1 articles,” the researchers reported.
Add to this the capable publicity machine of terror groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda and it is unsurprising that many American are instilled with fear of foreigners, in particular Muslims.
While it is unclear whether Trump himself truly believes the things he says about foreigners, – he seems willing to say anything to please a crowd – it is clear that those shaping his policy do. While these individuals hold seats of power in the Trump administration, it is clear that such policies will be common.
The American people however have a choice, and they must exercise it. Fear of that which is foreign or strange is an instinctive part of all of us. It is only in relatively recent times that we have sought to overcome it and become accepting of all races and creeds.
Liberty-loving Americans, and Europeans for that matter, should refuse to be terrorized by either knife wielding maniacs or security-state authoritarians. They must inform themselves and keep the threat of terrorism in perspective.
The risk of being killed in a jihadi terror attack in the last 15 years equated to roughly 1 in 2,640,000. If you include 9/11, the risk would still just have been 1 in 110,000. To put this in perspective, the risk of dying in a lightning strike is 1 in 161,000, and your chance of being killed in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 114.
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