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In his inaugural speech, President Trump said, “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first.” The term has an ugly history, which can be traced to the America First Committee that opposed any US involvement in World War II, with undertones of anti-Semitism.

As an expression of nationalistic populism, “America First” is in tension with the global common good. While governments have duties toward their citizens, a nation’s health can be effectively secured only through international cooperation. Trump’s political philosophy—erecting walls (literally and figuratively) and distrusting international law and institutions—rejects core values of shared responsibility and mutual solidarity. In particular, the following 5 policies would make America, and the world, less healthy and secure: Mexico City (Reproductive Health), travel and refugee ban, Global Health Security Agenda, PEPFAR, WHO and the UN System.

Publication Citation

Lawrence O. Gostin, “America First”: Prospects for Global Health, 95 Milbank Q. 224-228 (2017)