Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recipe for World Peace

Throughout the world we can see many things, revolutions, tyrants, freedom, and other things throughout the world. The United States has 300 million people and according to the Department of Commerce 2007 US Resident Travel Abroad, collected presumably by customs forms, we travel mostly to European countries and places in North America and least to poor nations and most Middle Eastern nations, with an obvious exception to Egypt. A total of 64,052 Americans traveled abroad in 2007. This makes 240,000 Americans who did not.

Most Americans have never traveled outside the United States. Their experience with the world is severely limited and any experience they have with the outside world is limited to what they get through the media. This is a problem because we are the most powerful nation in the world and our citizens should all have some experience with other cultures whether they are as similar as Canada, or as different as Japan, both nations which made the list.

I think that Americans age 11 and up should be offered to travel somwhere outside the country as part of a delegation no matter how wealthy their parents are. As it is currently, the students that are able to travel are children of people with lots of money. This makes the vast majority of Americans unable to travel outside, giving them a very limited viewpoint. This is not good because then when the media consistently talks about one nation or another distorting the facts, most Americans have no one to confirm these facts with or to use their own experience to prove or disprove the media's story. Beyond this, this makes many people outside of the world that are not exposed to Americans to have a very unfavorable view of us because they have never met a single American. I think of countries in and near the Middle East and other places with extremely unfavorable view of us who have not met any truly normal American, only rich businesspeople.

Another problem with this is that people in most other countries cannot come to America easily, they need to apply for a Visa which is an expensive and time-consuming process that turns most away from visiting America. I think of people from despotic governments that do not know what another lifestyle is like, having lived their entire lives in their own country. They have nothing to compare their place to and do not know how people in free nations live. This is why I am opposed to Visas. Visas do not stop terrorists, as we saw in 2001, and most of the countries that require visas do not have any terrorism anyways. All of the people in the Western Hemisphere, Southern Africa, East Asia, and Europe should be able to visit America Visa-free. By doing this when someone has an unfavorable view of us in those places someone will be able to tell them what we are really like and fight the messages of how terrible we are coming from some foreign media outlets. More than this, they will be able to see how we live and take home the ideas of our types of freedom, improving their lives at home. This happens in America with many Americans who have traveled to Canada seeing their health care system imagining how its post-2003 reform efficiency could be implemented here.

The economical benefits to making tourism easier are immense. By exposing local businesses to currently inaccessible income from tourists people make less money than they would otherwise, which hurts our economy. Our cities would become wealthier and the people who make the city would have more money to do things they want.

Some tourists will choose to visit small towns throughout the country. This will expose many people in rural America to tourists from many parts of the world that would fight xenophobia, and expose currently isolated Americans to other viewpoints and cultures. Also, these small towns would get income they otherwise wouldn't have. It would make rural traditionalists wary when pundits speak against a minority. This will improve our attitude and face in the world. We have nothing to lose.

This would be an excellent way to improve our relations with the rest of the world. I think it could be done by either by private, non-profit, or public institutions. However, it is easy to see that the current system for non-profits does not get as much done as could be, so it should be improved.

If you are interested in this, look at People to People, a non-profit organization that was founded by President Eisenhower to promote world peace through understanding:

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