In the last year the U.S. has canceled treaties or threatened to abandon allies in NATO, NAFTA, the G7, the Iran nuclear agreement, UNESCO, the Paris Accords and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Those arrangements gave priorities to those nations in trade and favored big corporations. We are now fighting with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

These treaties and accords were seen as necessary to help make the world a cleaner, more prosperous place for all. Meanwhile, Russia and China were sitting on the sidelines waiting patiently. For decades Vladimir Putin has tried to undermine and separate us from our allies in Europe and the Americas. By dropping or ostracizing NATO, the G7, the Paris Accords, NAFTA, UNESCO, the Iran nuclear deal and the TPP, we have handed over Europe to Putin. By dropping the TPP, we opened the door to China to take our place as trading partners.

The lesson of 2017 is that if we abandon our allies, other states are ready to take our place. In pulling back from international trade and treaties, we are forfeiting our historically important role in shaping international norms and multilateral policies. Nations that are willing to pick up the slack will shape the worlds future to enhance their own vision of what the world should be like. These include the totalitarian regimes of China and Russia.  

How can we continue to be the leader of the Free World if we have abandoned our allies and nobody is following us?

Elizabeth Keranen, Bakersfield