Restoring stability in AmericaProtests have flared up across America over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25 after a video showed the victim in custody pleading for help as he chocked under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer and three others. The mourning and protest rallies have turned into lootings, riots and shootings, provoking President Donald Trump to push states to mobilize the National Guard to restore order in the country still under the epidemic threat. A deployment of military force to control unrest, if it takes place, would be the first on American soil since the Los Angeles riots in 1992.
The latest incident underscores the innate problems of American society. Complaints over the long-standing gap between classes and races have reached a boiling point amidst the Covid-19 lockdowns and lockouts. The death of George Floyd has unleashed the social resentment.
The protests are led by a cross-section of society. They are aimed at correcting deeply-rooted racism and structural conflicts. Yet their leader Trump has called the protesters “lowlifes and losers” or even “terrorists” and called for the use of force to stamp out the “unlawful” demonstrations even though many of them are peaceful.
His response to the incident is in line with his usual approach to challenges — continuing his way with the support of his extreme supporters instead of seeking harmony and unity.
Internal rife in the United States comes as U.S. pride has been bruised due to its poor response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The scenes of vandalism and violence on the heels of the slack handling of a virus epidemic would deal another critical blow to the U.S. leadership on the global stage. Trump’s America First, avid protectionism and an upset to international order have already built up distrust.
China has been using the momentum to raise its standing and influence, clashing with the United States. The global order has been muddled up with the surge of a neo-Cold War feeling. American society must regain order and reaffirm its commitment to U.S. values based on freedom, openness and diversity.
Meanwhile, our government must pay extra attention to the safety of ethnic Koreans. The Korean community suffered during the Los Angeles riots. Many shops run by Korean-Americans in Minneapolis and Atlanta, Georgia, have been raided by looters. Envoys must do their upmost to defend the assets and lives of Korean communities in the United States.
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