“Globalism”: which U.S. President Donald Trump criticizes is a double-edged sword – By Mohamed Hamaludin

  — By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN

In his three addresses to the United Nations, President Donald Trump has increasingly stressed his belief in nativism and his distaste of multilaterialism or “globalism.” It is a theme that plays well with his base.

 “If we are to embrace the opportunities of the future and overcome the present dangers together, “ he said In 2017, “there can be no substitute for strong, sovereign, and independent nations — nations that are rooted in their histories and invested in their destinies; nations that seek allies to befriend, not enemies to conquer; and most important of all, nations that are home to patriots, to men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their countries, their fellow citizens, and for all that is best in the human spirit.”     

In 2018, he said, “Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination… We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.”

This year, he returned to the topic with a vengeance: “The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots… The free world must embrace its national foundations. It must not attempt to erase them or replace them.”

This “America First” posture reflects the claim by ethno-nationalist groups at home and abroad that white nations are in danger of losing their identity because of the influx of millions of refugees, whether from Latin America or the Middle East, the so-called “Great Replacement.”

Trump’s 2019 speech was such a thinly veiled attempt to justify his callous immigration policy that The Guardian’s Julian Borger said it “bore the hallmarks of his most long-serving hardline White House adviser and speechwriter Stephen Miller.” Miller, whom critics accuse of being a white supremacist, is widely regarded as the architect of Trump’s immigration policy.

But Trump has been preaching nationalism for at least a quarter-century, focusing then on the Japanese. In 1988, on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” he complained, “They come over here, they sell their cars, their VCRs. They knock the hell out of our companies.” Winfrey asked him whether he would consider running for president and he replied, “Probably not. But I do get tired of seeing the country ripped off.”

Never mind, as Daniel Immerwahr points out in his book “How to Hide and Empire,” that Japan’s economic advances resulted not from some sinister plot but from Japanese efforts to make things after their country’s destruction in World War II. Much of their inspiration came from what they saw at the U.S. base in Okinawa — especially Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita and their Totsuko company, later renamed Sony.

Trump’s anti-globalism drew this reaction from United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres last year: “The world is more connected, yet societies are becoming more fragmented. Challenges are growing outward, while many people are turning inward. Multilateralism is under fire precisely when we need it most.” This year, Guterres pointed to a need for collective action to deal with problems such as climate change and nuclear weapons. Many leaders of the 193 member-countries of the United Nations agree.

But globalism is a two-edged sword. Many smaller states also chafe under the world order in place now for 70 years, but for a different reason. Take, for instance, the United Nations, which, despite the lofty ideals which saw its creation after the League of Nations collapsed in 1946, is just a glorified soap box that allows the developing nations to vent and sometimes even incur the wrath of the United States when they do so. The power rests with the five countries with veto powers in the Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the Unites States.

Similarly, institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are geared towards promoting aggressive capitalism by insisting borrowers, regardless of their domestic circumstances, adhere to punishing economic policies.

Also, globalism enables multinational corporations almost unfettered access to the human and natural resources of the smaller states with little technology transfer to help them develop beyond plantation-type economies.

And then there is the practice of big nations stationing troops in those countries. The United States, for example, has 800 bases in more than 70 countries — France, Russia and the United Kingdom combined have 30 — and the American military is present in 150 countries. This is just another form of globalism.

The United States is ideally suited to setting an example on how a diverse world can live in harmony through multilateralism but, under Trump, co-existence means the “patriots” pulling up the gates across the moat and leaving the unwashed hordes to would-be alligators and snakes. America’s 370 million people include about 45 million, or 14 percent, who are foreign-born, and this diversity should be cherished and promoted. That cannot happen when the president sees the world through blinkers that are painted white.

Mohamed Hamaludin is a Guyana-born journalist who  worked for several years at The Chronicle in the 1970s and on publications in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands before emigrating to the United States in 1984 where he worked at The Miami Times, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Times.  Though now retired, he writes a commentary every week or two for The South Florida Times (sfltimes.com) in which the above column first appeared. He may be reached at hamal1942@gmail.com.

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