State Department map shows pretty much every country is too dangerous for you to visit

The U.S. State Department is not yet prohibiting American citizens from going overseas, but its advice regarding international travel generally discourages visits to foreign countries and makes absurd categorizations regarding which countries are least safe to visit.

In preparation for the next leg of a solo motorcycle trip around the world, I pulled up a State Department map that categorizes where overseas travel is most "problematic." 

My motorcycle is currently in Greece, and the plan for 2022 is to loop around the entirety of the Mediterranean basin before heading south into Africa from Morocco.   I hoped the map would highlight the countries that I should most carefully research before entering, but what I discovered is that the State Department's attitude regarding foreign travel is that it really shouldn't be done.  Virtually nowhere is safe, it seems, if it is not within our national borders.

Here is a screen shot of the map:

This image is so small that it is hard to identify individual countries, but if you open up this URL, you will be able to view this same map at full-screen size.

The legend in the upper right of the map identifies four different colors that specify the level of risk associated with each individual country by assigning one of the following colors:

Cream = low risk, referred to as "Exercise Normal Precaution"

Yellow = moderate risk, referred to as "Exercise Increased Caution"

Orange = high risk, referred to as "Reconsider Travel"

Red = excessive risk, referred to as "Do Not Travel"

There are only three countries in the whole wide world that the State Department deems as safe and as low risk as the United State — and they are Senegal in West Africa, Rwanda in Middle Africa, and Djibouti in East Africa.  Three other African countries get categorized as low risk (Togo, Angola, and Zambia), but they are compromised by a cross-hatching that indicates that certain internal regions require increased caution.  But that is it; those six African countries are the only ones that the State Department identifies as low-risk.  No countries in Asia, Latin America, or even Europe can be visited without worrying about bad things happening.

Well, gosh, it will be nice to visit Senegal, I suppose — but are there no other places in the world where we might travel worry-free?

Let's move up the scale and become a little adventurous.  Let's see what is available to us in the way of countries that the State Department considers to be only moderately risky (the countries in yellow). 

Oh, my!  Now we have an additional ten options!  They are the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean; the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, the Congo Republic, and Namibia in Africa; and the three Asian countries of Kuwait, Nepal, and Bhutan.  Unfortunately, even when we've steeled our resolve enough to visit a moderately risky country, there are still very few choices — and none in Europe.

There are over fifty countries in Europe, and the State Department advises you that all but four are no-go zones.  Those four are Ireland, Belgium, Slovakia, and Bosnia.  Even those four, the State Department claims, are high-risk countries where a prudent traveler should "reconsider" before taking such a daring step.

The world contains roughly 200 countries, but the State Department will have us believe that fewer than twenty are appropriate destinations for the average American.  When we have our federal government insisting that virtually the entire world is unsafe for travel, it is hard to believe that such scare-mongering is accidental or unconscious.  This is particularly so when we begin to consider some of the ridiculous conclusions one might reasonably arrive at by looking at the map.

Here are some of those absurdities.

A visit to Switzerland is as risky as a visit to Ukraine.  A visit to Libya is safer than a visit to Greece.

Even though the ongoing volcanic eruption of Mount Sufriere on tiny Montserrat has forced the permanent displacement of over half the country's residents to off-island locations, that country is one of only four in the world that is as safe as the United States.  Much, much safer it is than Canada, which the State Department considers too dangerous to visit.

Africa is the safest continent.

New Zealand — where the death rate from COVID is one of the lowest in the world, where life expectancy is in the top twenty of all countries, where the overall crime rate is below the global average, where natural disasters are relatively rare — is considered by the State Department to be too dangerous to visit.

The point is that the U.S. State Department has no coherent basis upon which it presumes to categorize the level of risk one must expect upon entering any given country.  This is not surprising: there is no objective way to compare different types of risks.  A pandemic (like COVID) is one thing, political unrest another.

One cannot help but suspect that the State Department is trying to curtail the natural right that all humans have to freedom of movement.  Our constitution explicitly guarantees this right to citizens, but it does not and cannot do so for movement beyond the boundaries of the country. 

The State Department is like any other bureaucracy: a collection of officials who as individuals exercise greater or lesser amounts of power in specified domains.  Power is little more than being able to tell others what to do.  The best way to expand that power is to extend the list of activities that are prohibited.  For now, the State Department is authorized only to "advise" us about where we should not go, but how long will its power stay there?

Image: njrfalcon1 via Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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