Thursday, November 10, 2016

How Trump Replaced America's Globalist Consensus With A Nationalist Sensibility - National Interest

Trump revealed through his often Quixotic campaign that millions of Americans agreed with him that the real threat came from the country’s ruling elites.

The old order of American politics crumbled on Tuesday with an election that signaled an inflection point in the nation’s history. Donald Trump’s victory, almost universally considered impossible until it happened, shattered the globalist consensus of America’s governing elite and replaced it with a nationalist sensibility exemplified in the slogan, "America First." Never in the country’s history has it seen an anti-status quo, anti-establishment politician of such force and effectiveness.

The globalist consensus contained a number of central tenets, all rejected by Trump. They included:

— We live in a unipolar world, with America at its center as an "indispensable nation" with an imperative and mandate to dominate events and developments around the world; spread Western-style democratic capitalism; and salve the hurts and wounds of humanity in far-flung precincts of the globe.

— The nation state is in decline and is being replaced by emergent multinational super-institutions such as the European Union, the United Nations and, presumably, Hillary Clinton’s proposed "hemispheric common market," with open trade and open borders.

— The demands of constituent identity groups, based mostly on ethnicity and gender affiliations, are more important than any concept of national unity.

— Borders have lost their significance as nationalist sentiments have receded, and while something probably needs to be done about illegal immigration, largely to assuage political pressures, there is nothing essentially wrong with mass immigration.

— Free trade is an imperative in the post-Cold War era of globalization to lubricate global commerce and spur global prosperity.

— Despite the advent of Islamist radicalism, fueled primarily by intense anti-Western fervor, there is no reason to believe that large numbers of Muslims can’t be assimilated into Western societies smoothly without detriment to those societies.

This globalist consensus was embraced by American presidents from Bush I to Clinton I to Bush II to Obama and then to Clinton II. It was so entrenched within the top echelons of American society—the federal bureaucracy, the media, academia, big corporations, big finance, Hollywood, think tanks and charitable foundations—that hardly anyone could conceptualize any serious threat to it. Then Trump attacked it and marshalled a rowdy following of people bent on upending it. The globalist sensibility won’t go away, but it now is seriously challenged. The result is a new fault line in American politics.

The Trump constituency rejects most of the central tenets of the post-Cold War consensus. Its beliefs include:

— The American experiment in national building, with an attendant propensity for regime change, has been an utter failure, particularly in the Middle East, and needs to be replaced.  America must be in the world but shouldn’t try to dominate it.
— Nationalism is a hallowed sentiment, tied to old-fashioned patriotism, and shouldn’t be denigrated or rejected. - Read More


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