Many of the gilded glitterati who gathered in Davos, Switzerland, amid the towering Alps for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) see the populism sweeping much of the world as a fascinating trend. They do enjoy talking about it.
But their academic chitter-chatter has taken on a panicked tone, over the implications of the common man demanding a better life—a life without poverty in the face of plenty and without nonstop unwinnable wars, among other vexing problems.
And newly sworn-in President Donald Trump — in an act arguably palatable to the activist left and the protectionist right—began rocking the Davos worldview in a big way Jan. 23, Trump’s first full day in office, when he signed an executive order pulling out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a “crown jewel” of trade treaties.
The TPP would’ve added to the existing treachery wrought by the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has eroded nationhood through mandated globalization of production-distribution-consumption—so no one nation can stand on its own feet and limit its trading mainly to vitals that cannot be domestically produced.
Trump’s new overall strategy “starts by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and making certain that any new trade deals are in the interests of American workers. President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA. If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA,” according to the Trump White House’s website.
Even before this year’s three-day WEF started around Jan. 17, Charlie Rose was interviewing several guests about this topic on his well-known PBS talk show. Rose’s esteemed guests fretted over several trends that suggest there’s a devolution from globalism in the works—call it “de-globalization.”
Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haas and Chicago Council on Global Affairs President Ivo Daalder in early December 2016 confided to Rose that they’re jittery over the current populist surge, most visibly represented in their eyes by Brexit and especially by Trump’s ascent to the presidency—and above all by what his election says about the worldview of a sizable cross section of the American people.
Simply put: Globalization is losing its grip on the human psyche. And Trump, the seemingly improbable president, is a key factor in this process, whatever his faults, foibles and fetishes.
Daalder tried to say that largely unregulated “integration” is the Western “tradition,” without mentioning that the kind of forcible integration that’s now taking place—largely due to wars waged by Western powers that force people out of their homelands and into places they wouldn’t otherwise live, in most cases—unavoidably creates cultural clashes, crime, and upheaval.
Of course, this upheaval could all be avoided if world-consolidation promoters would stop trying to mold the world according to their portfolios and to their impractical, sometimes demented visions of world governance.
Rock band U2’s vocalist, Bono, and Ian Brenner of the Eurasia Group were among other jet-setting guests on Rose’s show in early January. They, too, greeted the populist revival with a mixture of fascination and subtle alarm.
So, silver-spoon WEF attendees—and the like-minded corporate media that usually does their bidding—are acknowledging more than ever before that populism of whatever flavor is undermining what’s typically called globalism. This is the credo practiced by those who want to knit the world into a singular economic-political-cultural construct lacking the rich and varied landscape that can only be produced by a world of distinct nation-states.
In other words, if money can’t buy true love, perhaps it also cannot ultimately buy total world-rule, either, because there’s something in human nature that naturally rejects a drab existence based on the “metrics” of the internationalists who run the central and commercial banking system, and the chief corporations and media outlets.
This doesn’t mean, though, that the plutocrats and their associates, hell-bent on world-rule, are about to flat-line. Their private, usurious central banking system that stole the people’s credit and put everyone’s land and labor in hock is their chief asset. Without it, though, their press control would shrivel and the rest of their influence would wane to the breaking point.
So, the upside is that real freedom-seekers know that largely long-term monetary and financial reforms of the proper sort represent the best pathway to decentralizing such power. In the more immediate future, with the US out of the TPP, we should strongly consider withdrawing from similar pacts like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement.
Doing so would help reinvigorate US independence and prosperity, setting the stage for long-term measures that have the clear potential to convert a populist revolt from push-back into the kind of reforms that make for a better world.
Mark Anderson is a veteran journalist who divides his time between Texas and Michigan. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From The Progressive Populist, March 1, 2017
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