America views itself as unique; we are indeed different from the rest of the world. We are beholden to no other government and our population is amazingly diverse.

As our nation developed, it went through periods where independence and separatism from other nations were emphasized. America began with a “we can do it alone” philosophy. Since our country’s birth, the world has changed greatly. Whether we like it or not, it has become much more interconnected. The coronavirus proves what has been known all along; American isolationism never worked.

Isolationism is generally described as a nation’s foreign policy of avoiding involvement in the problems, concerns and events of other nations. Countries subscribing to this philosophy often view themselves as superior and reject ideas or people from “not as good” nations. This was a popular American attitude in the 1920s just before the Great Depression.

While our country’s founding fathers desired complete separation from European nations, we welcomed help from the French during our War of Independence from Britain. America had no desire to become involved in World War I , but when Germans sank merchant ships and offered Mexico help to regain lands they lost to the U.S. in the Mexican American war, it was clear that isolationism wouldn’t work. Our country wanted to stay out of World War II; then came Pearl Harbor. We still want to stop fighting battles in other lands, but somehow we ended up killing and being killed in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and more.

When the coronavirus first appeared in China this winter, many Americans, politicians and government officials seemed to view it as a Chinese problem and blamed Chinese medical care and their dictatorial regime for the rapid spread of this malady.

As the devastating nature of the disease and pandemic spread into the U.S., President Trump insisted that before sharing any medical information on the coronavirus with the American public, all scientists and medical spokespersons had to go through him or his political surrogates. When Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and medical adviser to six presidents, was initially relegated to left field, we saw proof that our nation needs a better team manager.

President Trump loudly announced that anyone who wanted or needed a coronavirus test could get one. False. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the only laboratory previously allowed to make such tests, was supposed to produce the coronavirus testing kits quickly and efficiently. That plan failed; MIT Tech Review noted that the initial test had contaminated agents and produced inaccurate results.

Politico reported that on Jan. 11, before the U.S. was awash in coronavirus cases, Chinese researchers posted the genome of this virus, and a week later German virologists produced the first diagnostic test for it. Other nations followed suit. By the end of February, the World Health Organization (WHO) had sent tests to nearly 60 countries, but not to the U.S. We, isolationists, wanted to make our very own. Had the U.S. used WHO test materials, we could have been testing many thousands of people daily.

Americans must understand that all people and nations are interconnected on this planet. We cannot be a great nation without global relationships. The coronavirus clearly reminds us that isolationism never has worked

Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist. Her email is dwmufson@comcast.net.

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