Trump not the only leader to have an interest in building protective barriers

Donald Trump is not the only political leader interested in putting up barriers against foreign threats.

On Feb. 9, the deputy mayor of Paris, Jean-Francois Martins said at a press conference that the city will be spending 20 million euros (or $28 million) to build a “protective barrier around the Eiffel Tower.”

Martins’ reasoning for building such a barrier was to combat terrorism, which has been devastating France and other parts of Europe for well over a year.

“Sadly, the risk of terrorism hasn’t gone away,” said Martins. “Let’s make one thing clear: It’s not a wall, it’s an aesthetic perimeter.”

While a wall and an aesthetic perimeter are two different things, Paris’s reasoning for building a barrier seems to mirror the reasoning of Donald Trump’s order to build a southern border.

The goal of these barriers is to separate political or geographical areas from one another, while also protecting the enclosed nation’s citizens. And while many leftists like to link Donald Trump’s proposal to the likes of past dictators like Adolf Hitler, Trump’s reasoning for building a wall is straightforward.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” said Trump in a June 2015 speech announcing his run for the presidency. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Many were offended by his remarks, and with good reason. To call an entire nation out and say, “some, I assume, are good people,” is not the best thing to have said when you’re the leader of the free world. But Trump isn’t the first, nor will he be the last leader to think in such a way.

After the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York City, George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized the construction of 850 miles of border fencing. It also called for more vehicle barriers, checkpoints, and lighting to help border patrols spot people crossing the border.

Were people outraged back in 2006?

How about in 1995, when then-President Bill Clinton had similar tough-on-immigration views? Clinton said in a 1995 speech, “In every place in this country people are rightfully disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country.”

Clinton even built the first 325-mile fence along the border between California and Mexico during his time in office three years earlier, with full support from his wife Hillary Clinton, who would go on to mock Trump for his proposal to build a wall during the presidential debates in 2016.

Speaking in early 2016, Hillary Clinton admitted that she voted “numerous times” to spend a lot of money on a barrier to prevent illegal immigrants coming into the country.

But building walls to secure borders is not just an American thing to do. Thousands of miles away in eastern Europe, Hungary is planning to “split Europe in two” by building a huge network of fencing and walls to stop illegal immigrants from entering southern Europe.

In 1994, Israel, acting in the name of security, built physical barriers to separate itself from Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. In 2002, Israel decided to expand the barrier by building a wall to completely separate the nation from the West Bank.

The wall is expected to be over 420 miles long when completed. The Israel Defense Forces website even states that “in areas where the fence has been completed, such terrorist attacks have dramatically declined.”

And who can forget one of the greatest sights in the world: The Great Wall of China? The sole purpose for the massive wall was to secure the border from invading northern nations and to protect the Silk Road trade.

So while anti-Trump protestors find hatred, racism, and bigotry in his words and actions, Trump is simply trying to secure America’s borders just like other leaders have in the past and in the present.

People may be right by saying Trump’s approach to such an issue is irrational, but his reasoning behind it may be more rational than they think.

About the author  ⁄ Daniel Duvnjak

Danny Duvnjak is an aspiring journalism student studying at Mohawk College in his 3rd year. He is interested in political issues, healthy living, and has a passion for hockey of all levels.

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