In the early days of a Donald Trump-led United States of America, reactions continue to trail his inauguration as the 45th  President of the USA. One of such reactions is that of Pope Francis in form of a comment passed during an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Reacting to the trend of populist political activism in a bid to win over the people, Pope Francis warned the people to be wary of ideologies and politicians who preach populism, citing the emergence of Adolf Hitler as the president of Nazi Germany prior to the Second World War. In the words of the Pope, Hitler emerged the president of Germany on the back of his populist ideologies, the same ideologies that he used in destroying his people. In essence, Pope Francis does not see nationalism, which is often the end product of populist ideologies, as the solution to various challenges countries face. As he explained, it is better to build bridges than walls. Referring to Donald Trump while reserving some hope for him, Pope remarked that Christians do not build walls.

Populism has become the new trend in not just the European or American politics, but the entire world. It is clothed in the idea of looking inward for solutions, putting one’s country first, and the likes, which seem harmless at first, but its execution often tends towards extremism. This was the same ideology on which Donald Trump’s presidential campaign rode. Now in Europe, far-right groups in Germany and France are now toeing the path, showing extreme intolerance for foreigners and refugees. It was upon this subject that far-right groups in a number of European nation converged in Germany on Saturday while Donald Trump was being sworn in as the 45th president of the USA.

As can be deduced from the words of the Pope, the script played by populist politicians all over the world are similar. It often begins with the impression of the need to wrestle the government from sophisticated and corrupt leaders. As it progresses, it stresses the need for a unique single identity of the people, the need to wrestle their countries from foreigners arises, and over time, it becomes extreme nationalism, which has elements of hate not in small quantity. Nazi Germany is a perfect example of this. In addition, with the campaign of Donald Trump riding on the same rhetoric, Pope Francis fears appears to be valid and present rather than imaginary and futuristic.

However, as much as populism, as an ideology which often leads to nationalism, cannot entirely solve the problem of a country, globalisation despite its tremendous contribution to growth of world economies, has been shown, in recent time, to be at the centre of the security concern and surge of terrorism across continents. Countries, which have suffered terrorist attacks through porous borders, are beginning to see the need to keep a close their borders in order to keep their people safe.

In the end, a perfect blend of both nationalism and globalisation would be the best way to advance the development of countries and the world at large. As much as ‘bridges’ help advance the course of interdependency and rapid development among countries, walls have their places in securing lives life and property.

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