Have we become a shithole country?
Uruguay seems to think so. Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an alert after the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shootings for Uruguayan nationals traveling to the United States. It advises they “take extreme precautions in the face of growing indiscriminate violence, mostly hate crimes, including racism and discrimination, which killed more than 250 people in the first seven months of this year.”
Blaming the “indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population,” it recommends everybody, but particularly children, avoid shopping malls, theme parks, religious activities and cultural and sporting events. It warns about cities such as Detroit, Baltimore and Albuquerque, “among the 20 most dangerous in the world.”
Venezuela piled on — not entirely credibly, given U.S. efforts to remove that country’s regime — by recommending Monday that its citizens postpone travel to the United States or take “extreme precautions” given the “violence and crimes of indiscriminate hatred” perpetuated by “the supremacist elite that holds political power in Washington.”
The Japanese are spooked, too: Japan’s consulate in Detroit warned this week that its nationals “should be aware of the potential for gunfire incidents everywhere in the United States,” which is a “a gun society,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Mexico, which lost several of its citizens in the El Paso massacre, even announced that it is considering legal action because the United States isn’t adequately protecting Mexican nationals in the United States. Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced “a series of legal, diplomatic and protective measures to guarantee justice for the victims of the shooting and to protect the rights of Mexican communities in the United States.” It will confer with other Spanish-speaking countries with similar concerns.
Suddenly, we’re the banana republic, and the rest of the world is warning about the dangerous and hate-filled place under President Donald Trump’s administration. Pretty soon they’ll be warning visitors to boil drinking water and to take preventive antibiotics.
But that’s how it has been lately. In 2017, the New York Times reported, the Canadian and British governments updated their warnings to travelers about violence after the Las Vegas massacre. In 2016, when Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail was accompanied by an increase in anti-Muslim violence, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cautioned its citizens about demonstrations against police violence, CBS News reported. The Bahamas advised young men to “exercise extreme caution” in “interactions with the police.”
New Zealand warns visitors to the United States that “a number of politically motivated attacks have occurred,” and, citing the Las Vegas shooting, cautions about “active shooter incidents” and “higher incidence of violent crime and firearm possession.”
Germany warns of terrorist attacks, “an increased risk of politically motivated violence,” and easy access to firearms. It also cautions about “long distances” to hospitals and says “treatments are expensive.”
Britain, too, warns that “medical treatment is expensive” and cautions about “indiscriminate” terrorist attacks and border crime and drugs.
Canada warns about gang violence and says “even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time.”
Now, where would they get such ideas about the United States?
Well, maybe it’s because the president of the United States has been declaring to all the world that gangs and illegal aliens have “overrun” the border and flooded the country with drugs. American cities are so “dangerous,” “filthy” and full of rodents that “no human being” would want to live in them. The leadership of the FBI is “corrupt” and the Justice Department is so dubious that “Justice” must be put in quotes. There is “no border security,” there are “killers coming in and murderers coming in,” and “deadly sanctuary cities” release “dangerous criminals.” American carnage!
That vision of America, as outlined by Trump, is largely fiction. But our friends around the world would be justified in warning their citizens about certain realities of Trump’s America.
FOREIGN MINISTRY ALERT! Travelers to the United States should be aware that: air and water standards have been loosened, millions have lost health care, the military has been politicized, opposition lawmakers face calls to be deported, children have been taken from their parents and caged in deplorable conditions on the border, aviation safety has come into question, sea levels are rising with no countermeasures, the free press and courts been threatened, the most senior government official flouts the law with impunity, religious bigotry and racial hatred have been stoked at the highest level, and violence by white nationalists has surged.
Foreign nationals should take extreme precautions in Trump’s America. So should the rest of us.
Dana Milbank is a columnist for The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter: @Milbank.