Historian Walter Russell Mead on nationalism and 'America First'

Walter Russell Mead speaks at St. Olaf College.
Historian Walter Russell Mead speaks at the Institute for Freedom and Community at St. Olaf College in Northfield Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018.
Courtesy of St. Olaf student photographer Will Cipos

A historian's view of the nationalist and "America First" policies espoused by President Donald Trump.

Speaking to world leaders gathered in France to commemorate the World War I armistice on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron sent a stern message about the dangers of nationalism, calling it a betrayal of moral values. As President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sat just a few feet away, Macron denounced those who evoke nationalist sentiment.

He said, "patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism, nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others', we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values."

President Trump has pursued "America First" policies since entering the White House and in the run-up to the congressional elections this month he proudly declared himself a "nationalist."

Historian Walter Russell Mead of the Hudson Institute spoke at an event titled, "Examining 'America First': Nationalism and Jacksonian Democracy in the 21st Century." It was organized by the Institute for Freedom and Community at St. Olaf College on October 30, 2018. The moderator was professor Edmund Santurri, Morrison Family Director of the Institute.

To listen to the speech, click the audio player above.

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