The United States is becoming less engaged in the world in order to focus on fixing problems at home, but that shift is creating a power vacuum that will be filled by countries that don’t share U.S. values, according to Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state under President Bill Clinton.
Kasich and Albright talked to the PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff about a report released Tuesday by democracy advocacy group Freedom House, which says democracy worldwide today “finds itself battered and weakened,” a trend it has reported for the past 12 years. It noted this year a “striking” withdrawal by the United States due to the Trump administration’s “America First” stance.
“When we withdraw from trade agreements in the Pacific, the Chinese have an advantage. When we insult people in Africa, it means the Chinese have more ability to have sway [decisions]. When we are not working with our allies and making unilateral decisions, it begins to undermine the strength of NATO,” Kasich said.
“These are things that are very, very concerning not just to me, but to people around the world,” he added.
“America is better off and Americans are better off if other countries are democracies,” Albright said, because countries with crumbling governments can be petri dishes for terrorism and instability.
Other highlights from the conversation:
On “America First”:
“I think that’s very short sighted,” Kaisch said of the desire to “withdraw, take care of ourselves.” “I don’t think that’s the fundamental problem,” he added. “But I think that was the reaction here. And the danger is, when the United States of America withdraws, it creates a vacuum, and the vacuum today is not being filled by people that we share our values with.”
On Russian interference in the 2016 elections:
“The thing that troubles me is [Russia] did get involved in our election process and it’s gotten so personal here that we have not really been investigating enough what they’ve been doing in Europe,” Albright said.
On the immigration debate:
“I know people want strong borders. I know they want immigration reform. I am for strong borders and immigration, but we cannot project an image that we don’t love our friends and our neighbors who are part of our culture. It’s just not right,” Kasich said, adding he hoped Congress could reach an agreement on immigration this week.
Watch the full interview in the player above.