I’ve never been able to fully commit myself to either a pro- or anti-globalization position. On the one hand, I find it hard to believe that we will ever return to an era of isolationsim, and I do believe that trade can open up societies. On the other hand, you don’t have to look very far to see the negative consequences at home or abroad. Plus, any free-trade regime inevitably drifts toward oligopoly, in a sort of Aristotelian way (ie the way pure democracies become oligarchies etc.)
So, in the end, I come down supporting “fair trade” or some variation of it, whereby we keep the trade but have the kinds of international institutions that we have in the US. To the industry side, this is the same as isolationism, because it denies the benefit of multinational status: limited regulation
But, one of the unofficial “institutions” that has had to enforce trade arrangments, formal or informal, has been the US military. Protest all you want, but the only reason Iraq is on our radar, the only reason that Islamists might target us, is because of our history of exploitation in that region, which is, at least over the last 100 years or so, been connected with oil (as opposed to slavery before).
And to be sure, once we’re done fighting over oil, we’ll find something else… water maybe, to fight over, so long as there is a growing population in a limited and ever more used-up world.
But, given the present situation, there will probably have to be another 9/11 level event with a clear source to get the US politically ready to mobilize for another trade-poicing action again.
Given that, I ask, is the Iraq situation the end of globalization? Is it (if Viet Nam wasn’t) the end of American exceptionalism?