The Atlantic

America’s New President: Borders Are Back

The big idea in Trump’s inauguration speech
Source: Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

Donald Trump ended his journey to the American presidency the way he began it: by vowing to restore the borders of the United States. In launching his campaign a year and a half ago, Trump promised a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants and tariffs to keep out foreign-made cars. After taking his oath of office on Friday, Trump essentially announced what amounts to a dramatic break with decades of American foreign policy: The U.S. government will no longer focus on sustaining peace and prosperity beyond its borders.

“A nation exists

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Consider the Possibility That Trump Is Right About China
When a new coronavirus emerged in China and began spreading around the world, including in the United States, President Donald Trump’s many critics in the American foreign-policy establishment were quick to identify him as part of the problem. Trump
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
The Revolution Is Under Way Already
Far from making Americans crave stability, the pandemic underscores how everything is up for grabs.
The Atlantic10 min readSociety
This Is What Happens When the Federal Government Abandons You
Local officials and health-care workers are losing faith in the national response, and struggling to improvise their own solutions.