Bill Clinton doesn‘t buy this whole “nationalism” thing. In his first major public appearance since the inauguration of Donald Trump, Clinton delivered a keynote speech at a Brookings Institute event. The former president cautioned against nation-state psychology and warned that this mentality will only further divide the world.
In his speech the former president warned against the rising popularity of nationalism across the world, such as Trump’s “American First” policy.
“People who claim to want the nation-state are actually trying to have a pan-national movement to institutionalize separatism and division within borders all over the world,” Clinton said at a Brookings Institution event in Washington, D.C.
“It’s like we’re all having an identity crisis at once — and it is an inevitable consequence of the economic and social changes that have occurred an increasingly rapid pace,” Clinton added, referencing recent political events in the Americas, Europe and the Philippines as examples.
“And it always comes down to two things — are we going to live in an us and them world, or a world that we live in together? If you got that, in every age and time, the challenges we face can be resolved in a way to keep us going forward instead of taking us to the edge of destruction.”
Clinton delivered the keynote speech honoring former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995 for negotiating a peace deal with Palestinians.
Bill Clinton added that Rabin was the opposite of the “us versus them” mentality that often governs global politics.
“The whole history of humankind is basically the definition of who is us and who is them, and the question of whether we should all live under the same set of rules. “We are programmed biologically, instinctively, to prefer win-lose situations, us versus them. We have to find a way to bring simple, personal decency and trust back to our politics.”
Trump has repeatedly promised an “America First” policy at home and abroad, promising to focus on U.S. interests ahead of the nation’s role in the world community.