Geopolitics Matters to Us All


Wayne Chen, Staff Writer

Perhaps due to the vast size of the United States and the fact that 64 percent of us have never left the country, domestic issues have always been at the forefront of U.S. residents’ attention spans, while foreign affairs rarely garner any public attention. In the wake of a messy presidential election and a chaotic new administration, our country is filled with debates about social injustice and emerging domestic crises. While these issues are all valid, U.S. voters have been alarmingly uninformed about events happening abroad over the past decades, especially in places with increasing tension with the United States, such as the Middle East and China. We need to pay closer attention to how U.S. interests are being played out abroad, as it can deeply impact every single one of us.

A large amount of NYU’s student body consists of international students. Among the countries represented on campus, China has the largest international student population at NYU, enrolling the most students in 2016 at 6,719 students. However, with President Donald Trump’s recent threat of launching a trade war with China, this number can potentially get severely cut down, seeing that with the escalation of the Sino-American trade war, the White House is threatening to cut down amount of student visas issued to Chinese students.

If the policy goes into effect, NYU will be among the schools most heavily hit by such changes, due to our large international student population and our degree-granting campus in Shanghai — the First Sino-American joint venture university approved by China’s Ministry of Education. As the administration risks raising tension with other countries — even the ones we traditionally considered allies — the diverse student background of schools like NYU will be in jeopardy.

The recent trade war tensions between the U.S. and the European Union and China, also demonstrates how prone to unexpected changes in prices we are as a nation. While currently there is only a tariff on steel and aluminum, recently, the Wall Street Journal published a piece stating that the trade war has the potential to increase prices for U.S. goods in China. Given that the trade war will not have a one way impact, it is not too far fetched to assume that this will happen in the U.S. with Chinese goods. NYU students suffer from perhaps the highest cost of living in the entire country, and any instability can impact the student body, as goods and services see a significant threat of inflation. In a city this expensive, nobody should be happy about further rising prices. What’s worse is U.S. voters seem to perceive changes in such prices as merely domestic issues, unaware of the international power wrestling match that the U.S. has found itself embroiled internationally over the past months.

No matter how much it might seem otherwise, it is necessary for Americans to pay close attention to what is happening beyond our borders and the oceans, to look at how the elected officials of the only superpower on this planet is cementing — or sacrificing — its power abroad to change the lives of each and every one of us.

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Email Wayne Chen at [email protected].