It’s not just Donald Trump talking about building a wall. Border walls are going up worldwide. (Mexico isn’t paying for all of them.)
According to the Washington Post, “The numbers are clear: In 2015, work started on more new barriers around the world than at any other point in modern history. There are now 63 borders where walls or fences separate neighboring countries.”
The rise in wall building points to increased international tensions, increases in refugee flows, and coincides with rising opposition to trade deals. The decision by the people of the UK to leave the EU and the backlash to Angela Merkel’s opening the borders to a huge amount of refugees are among the examples of this.
The world is becoming a more dangerous place, and for many nations stronger borders are a logical and effective response. Any country owes safety to their own people first above all else, and that sometimes means borders must be strengthened and defended.
The rising opposition to trade reflects another aspect of this concern, as the promises of free trade deals have not materialized for many people. Big promises turned into small benefits and even loss of wealth, loss of jobs, and loss of opportunities for millions of people. Many trade deals have only benefitted those at the top – enriching large corporations at the expense of others.
Stronger borders, protection from unfair and possibly corrupt trade deals, and enhancing national defences are all necessary responses to a world that is more threatening. Also necessary is the protection of the equal rights of all citizens within countries. The values of individual freedom, respect for equality, and building shared prosperity are key to ensuring that walls are not put up within our own nations and between our own people.
Photo – Geoff Dude