Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Return to Globalism?

For defying the conventional foreign policy wisdom President Trump attracted a coterie of naysayers. In some cases, in the Middle East, he made them look like fools. In other cases, toward China, the Trump policy seemed to have been more bluster than substance.

Be that as it may, Peter Skurkiss explains the Trump policy toward Europe. As you know, the foreign policy establishment has been gnashing its teeth about Trump’s dismissal of the Europeans. They accuse him of not treating our allies like allies. To which I have occasionally responded that if our European allies want to be treated like allies, they should act like allies.

For all the caterwauling about Trump’s Russian collusion, Barack Obama is far more deserving of the label of being Putin’s toady. As for the great Angela Merkel she is being applauded for shutting down German nuclear power plants, the better to rely on Russia for natural gas. Russian stooge??

So, Skurkiss suggests that globalism enhances the importance of Europe while it hides the fact that the European Union is completely dependent on America for its protection. As a reward for providing protection for Europe, America has been engaging in trade practices that advantage, you guessed it, Europe. 

In more mundane circumstances this is called freeloading-- it is morally unacceptable, even degenerate.

It took Donald Trump to figure out that we were being treated as patsies. Naturally the globalist contingent is horrified at being exposed.

Skurkiss tells us that European bureaucrats are salivating at the arrival of the new Biden administration:

The bureaucrats who run the European Union and the globalists behind them are cocksure that with Donald Trump gone, things will return to the comfortable pre-Trump days.  Daddy Yankee will again uncomplainingly throw a protective blanket of security over Europe and in his benevolence turn a blind eye to the unfair trade arrangements that benefit Europe so.

Skurkiss is more optimistic than most. He believes that Trump broke the globalist consensus and that America will not be able to return to its traditional role of subservience to a continent that it is paying to protect:

.... even should Biden become president, he will not be able to restore to good old days that Europe longs for...and needs.  Take the matter of defense.  As president, Trump made it acceptable not just to issue objections to Europe about its freeloading, but to actually start doing something about it, something none of his predecessors had the moxie to do.  Adding fuel to American anger toward Europe has been the E.U.'s propensity to anoint itself as the moral leader of the West and try to shape U.S. foreign policy from that vantage point.  The unstated but clear European message to America was "you do the work, and we'll sit back and tell you what to do and how to do it."

Bizarre notion, that one. Europeans consider themselves to be morally superior so they want to dictate American foreign policy. In more concrete terms, they are happy to defy American sanctions on Iran because they know better than we do how to deal with a terrorist state-- especially one that is hellbent on killing Jews.

Skurkiss continues that Europe has become less important as a player on the world stage. After all, the high tech wars, as Kai-fu Lee once opined, are pitting American versus Asia, against China and South Korea and Japan. The reason is simple: Europe has chosen to emphasize regulation. America and Asia have downplayed regulation in favor of innovation. You cannot do both. More regulation stifles innovation. The regulatory state is risk averse and morally decadent.

Trump gave voice to what the average American long thought about Europe.  That genie is not going back into the bottle.  Plus, irrespective of Biden's personal feelings toward Europe, geopolitical reality will demand a de-emphasis on both European needs and Middle Eastern engagements.  This is because a true pivot toward Asia is needed to counter the rise of communist China.  At least Emmanuel Macron of France realizes all this, which is why he is persistent in trying to gain support for an all-European army.  So far, his calls are falling on deaf ears. 

The bright spot, from the European perspective, is that Biden administration policies will damage the American economy, thus enhancing the economic power of Europe. Of course, a weakened America will be less likely to finance Europe’s defense.

One seemingly bright spot from Europe's perspective should Biden get into the White House is that the Democrats will do considerable damage to the U.S. economy with tax increases, green environmental nonsense, and likely more lockdowns.  This would bring America closer to Europe's sclerotic state.  But before Europe celebrates, it should realize that a weakened America would be even less willing than it is now to finance Europe's defense and to tolerate unfair trade deals. 

No matter how things turn out stateside, Europe is in a fix.  America will not — cannot — be Europe's savior.  The Cold War days are over.  

Europe's fundamental problems are of its own making.  Until the people of Europe, particularly Western Europe, can loosen the death grip the leftist elite and bureaucrats have on their countries, the continent will continue to languish.


Sam L. said...

Europe: Decided to not be great. Nor smart, either. Cynical? Moi? You betcha.

David Foster said...

I think a lot of the support for globalization is based on the idea that improved transportation & communications make countries irrelevant. This is prefigured in a remark made by Edward Porter Alexander, who was a Confederate general (he was Lee's artillery commander at Gettysburg) and after the war a railroad president...

"Well that (state’s rights) was the issue of the war; & as we were defeated that right was surrendered & a limit put on state sovereignty. And the South is now entirely satisfied with that result. And the reason of it is very simple. State sovereignty was doubtless a wise political institution for the condition of this vast country in the last century. But the railroad, and the steamboat & the telegraph began to transform things early in this century & have gradually made what may almost be called a new planet of it… Our political institutions have had to change… Briefly we had the right to fight, but our fight was against what might be called a Darwinian development – or an adaptation to changed & changing conditions – so we need not greatly regret defeat."

I think a lot of the belief in unlimited globalization is implicitly driven by an extension of Alexander’s argument, with the jet plane, the container ship, and the Internet taking the place of the railroad, steamboat, and telegraph. See my post What are the limits of the Alexander Analysis? and especially the ensuing discussion:

David Foster said...

Also, another post which is relevant to the limits of globalization...Coupling:

Anonymous said...

Europe's fundamental problems are of its own making. Until the people of Europe, particularly Western Europe, can loosen the death grip the leftist elite and bureaucrats have on their countries, the continent will continue to languish.

Search & Replace “Europe | Western Europe” with “America.”

Works for me.