‘A country that fails to open its doors is setting itself up for failure.’ Comment.

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Countries in the world today are largely interconnected, whether through trade relations, cultural exchanges, multinational cooperation on world issues like the environment and natural resources. These interactions among countries have built closer ties and improved the relationships of countries. The question of whether a country that fails to open its doors is setting itself up for failure is a debatable one. Opening doors can be defined as accepting foreign ideas and integrating a country into the global community, be it is economically or by culturally. Failure of a country is defined as not achieving economic, political or social stability in this essay. I would agree to a large extent, using China, North Korea and the Eastern European countries as case studies. However, using USA’s and Cuba’s context, the above statement may not be necessarily true.

A country that fails to open its economy and integrating itself into the global economy is likely to be setting itself up for poor economic growth. Without any economic relations with the outside world, the economic activities of that country are limited to its own territory only. An example would be China before its opening up to the world in 1978. Before 1978, China was a closed economy and there was hardly any import or export of goods and services. Inflation was rampant and the Chinese suffered economically due to mass unemployment. After opening up, the economic policies implemented by Deng Xiao Ping promoted economic activities with other countries and subsequently foreigners started to invest in China. Jobs were created and the economy became increasingly prosperous even till today. China’s entry into the World Trade Organisation also allowed China’s GDP to grow by double digit each year in the 21st century. The comparison between the time before China opened up and after it has integrated itself into the global economy showed us that isolation from the global economy is detrimental to a country’s economic stability.

A country that fails to discuss regional issues with other countries may be setting itself up for political instability. When a country does not have the alliance and cooperation from countries to discuss issues of importance, it may be creating enemies for its own government as the country is often regarded to be irresponsible and anti-social. An example would be North Korea’s refusal to go to the negotiation table for nuclear weapons. After its testing on missiles, countries such as China and USA have been persuading it to have a meeting with them to voice out their concerns and discuss plans for control of nuclear weapons. However, North Korea refused and stated that they have no obligation to do so. This issue has created tension among the countries in the region and further worsened the impression and relations North Korea has with the rest of the world. The stubbornness of North Korea to cooperate with other countries has caused its government’s image and reputation to tarnish severely and it can be predicted that the government will meet challenges and pressure from the other countries regarding the legitimacy of their rule over North Korea.

A country that fails to accept new ideas into its society may risk having social instability in the long run. When a country limits the interaction of its country with other countries for vested interest, dissatisfaction and angst may spread among the people. One such example can be seen from the situation of the East European countries during the Cold War under the rule of Communism. During the Cold War, their governments restricted their citizens’ communication with the democratic Western Europe in these communist states. They were not allowed access to goods from Western Europe for fear of ideological contact with democracy. The people then suffered economically due to inferior goods and most importantly, they suffered psychologically due to their desire to break out of communism. Their anger and desperation resulted in a revolt against their governments, with the fall of Berlin Wall signifying the fall of Communism in 1989. This historical event has proven that when a country fails to integrate itself with the other countries and fall back behind in terms of standard of living, it is causing tension in society to accumulate and eventually the social instability will lead to the downfall of the government.

However, it must be acknowledged that a country can be successful in come cases even when it fails to open its doors, especially in economic terms. When a country’s economy is too open, the market forces of any other countries can have a significant impact on it. The example used would be USA after the financial crisis due to Lehman Brothers. USA has always been one of the most open economies in the world and has been actively trading with many countries. However, after the financial crisis, the Obama administration actually implemented protectionist measures and wanted their citizens to buy more of domestic goods to boost the economy while their trade import decreased significantly. This policy ensured that USA’s economy can revive slowly but denied other countries of opportunities to gain profits by selling their goods to USA. It showed us that when a country cuts off some trade connections with the rest of the world and focus more on being self-sufficient, it can actually cause the country’s economy to grow much faster in the short term. This proves that failing to open a country’s doors may not necessarily mean failure for the country at all. Nonetheless, it should be recognized that USA did not fully cut off all its economic ties with the rest of the world and thus this example is not an extreme measure by the country.

Another example to show that when a country fails to open its doors, it may not be setting itself up for failure would be the Cuba’s healthcare system. Cuba is a communist state and hardly has any interaction with the rest of the world. When the Obama administration and the Chinese government is still discussing over how to improve the healthcare system in their countries, Cuba has one of the best healthcare systems in the world already. All Cubans have easy access to healthcare services and do not have the problem of not being able to afford their medical fees. This proves that even if a country does not integrate itself into the global community, it is not denied of the ability to be successful in their governance and policies too. Nonetheless, it should be recognized that Cuba is a relatively small country as compared to USA or China and thus it may have been easier for Cuba to succeed in its healthcare reforms. Besides, we do know of Cuba’s other domestic problems such as poor economic growth which does not showcase that Cuba is a successful country as a whole.

In the world today, it is quite impossible for countries to not come together as one and solve issues of importance. I believe that a country that fails to open its doors will most likely to set itself up for failure in the future. Even though there may be cases which prove otherwise, given the technological advancement and the rapid population growth, the policies may fail to counter these changes and be increasingly of no use if they remain static.

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