“For U.S. internationalists, the election of Donald Trump poses a monumental challenge,” wrote Stewart M. Patrick, in a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) blog, The Internationalist, in reaction to the stunning upset victory of Trump in Tuesday’s presidential election. What concerns Patrick is not just Trump himself, but the growth of the anti-globalist movement, noting, “Two decades ago, Patrick J. Buchanan’s pitchfork populism attracted no more than twenty percent of the Republican electorate. Today his ideological heir is bound for the White House.”
By his own admission, Patrick is part of the political and economic establishment that has promoted globalism for the past several decades. He is a senior fellow and director of the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance. So this blog article gives us valuable insight into the thinking of the global elite.
“Among its many implications, Donald Trump’s election as president calls into question the open liberal international order this country has championed and defended for more than seven decades,” Patrick lamented.
In his blog, Patrick asserted, “Trump won because he recognized and tapped into deep public anxieties about the direction of the United States and its role in the world.” Patrick said the specific concerns that Trump was able to address sufficiently to win the presidency showed that he understood that a growing number of Americans mistrust globalization; are weary of overseas commitments; and are determined to reassert sovereign control over U.S. borders.
Patrick said that Trump successfully challenged the assertion that “international trade benefits both U.S. businesses and consumers.” With millions of American jobs lost over the past several years, it was easy to convince blue-collar workers and anxious middle-class voters that these multilateral trade deals were, in Trump’s words, “awful.”
Closely related to this is the rising concern about “overseas commitments.” Patrick noted that Trump did not make this simply a partisan problem, because he lumped Obama and Bush together in their “entangling the United States in endless, pointless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere.”
Finally, Trump’s campaign theme that the United States must restore its sovereignty likewise struck a responsive chord on election day. While some other Republican candidates have expressed concern about immigration, Patrick argued that Trump resonated with voters because of his “crude simplicity,” with an ability to reduce the concerns to single sentences such as, “A nation without borders is not a nation,” and sometimes the even simpler: “Got to have a country, people.”
After summarizing what Patrick considered the problem of Trump’s election and the mood in the electorate that produced it, he offered three ways to “rebuild a bipartisan internationalist consensus in the United States,” which he said “cannot begin soon enough.” In short, while the rebels, or as Hillary Clinton described them, “the deplorables,” have struck a powerful blow against the globalist agenda, it is now time “the Empire strikes back.”
“Restoring faith in the global economy will require persuading U.S. citizens that new international trade agreements crafted to make them less vulnerable can help to deliver on the American Dream,” Patrick proposes. He admits that global trade has caused “titans of finance” to flourish, but far too often “the little guy has been left behind.” What is his solution? More government, naturally. He urges national governments to “intervene in the market to pursue full employment and other social welfare goals.” It is not like this is not already the case — for example, the Obama administration led the way in the expansion of food stamp programs, and other wealth transfer schemes — but most Americans would prefer to have good-paying jobs rather than hand-outs. Losing one’s job due to globalization, replacing it with food stamps and other social welfare hand-outs, is hardly the ideal of “the American Dream.”
Second, Patrick contends that Americans must be convinced that internationalism is a good thing, lamenting that it has been a traditional foreign policy for the United States, dating back to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to steer clear of “entangling alliances.” This changed with World War II, Patrick wrote approvingly, arguing a reversal of our modern interventionist foreign policy would be “a disaster” not only for the United States, but also “the world, which depends on the United States.” Of course, this is exactly what millions of Americans rejected in the latest presidential election — they do not want a foreign policy in which America serves as the world’s policeman. They do not want American lives and treasure squandered so as to decide which thug runs Syria, for example.
The third suggestion made by Patrick to beat back the opponents of globalism is that “internationalists must come to terms with a sovereignty-minded public that insists on controlling the U.S. border, retaining freedom of action abroad, and safeguarding U.S. constitutional liberties from foreign encroachments.” Patrick noted that Trump appealed to this concern, sometimes “tinged with an ugly nativism.” According to Patrick, Trump’s appeal on this score “boiled down to this: we want our country back --- from illegal immigrants, from international treaties and organizations, and from global elites who neither understand nor care about us.”
Patrick was concerned that this third area “may be the hardest nut to crack,” because the American public must be persuaded that “international cooperation” is the most promising path to U.S. security, prosperity, and well-being.
Certainly, the internationalists such as Patrick had their champion for president in Hillary Clinton. She has long been an ardent supporter of multilateral trade deals, immigration, and international organizations. In an address to the Brazilian megabank, Banco Itau, Clinton succinctly summarized the globalist position: “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.”
This “dream” of Clinton’s has already been implemented, of course, in Europe, and for many residents of the continent, it is more of a nightmare than a dream. The European Union (EU) gives us a preview of what “open borders” would look like. The resistance to the ultimate goals of the global elite — unrestricted immigration, integrated economies with supra-national governments — is rising in Europe, not just in the United States. The vote of the United Kingdom — Brexit — to leave the EU was a foreshadowing of the results of the American presidential election.
Richard Haass, president of the CFR, which favors globalism, took note of the Brexit vote and warned Clinton of its ramifications. “For Hillary Clinton’s campaign, this is something of a warning not to underestimate this disaffection, not [to] underestimate political and economic nationalism.”
Clinton has certainly given every indication that she values the opinion of Haass, and the collective opinion of the CFR. When the CFR opened a new headquarters in Washington, D.C., while Clinton was still secretary of state, Haass introduced her before her remarks that were highly laudatory toward the globalist CFR.
“Thank you very much, Richard, and I am delighted to be here in these new headquarters. I have been often to, I guess, the mother ship in New York City, but it’s good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.”
No doubt Clinton’s remark was intended somewhat humorously, but the reality is that the CFR has wielded tremendous influence in American presidential administrations since Franklin Roosevelt, whether Democratic or Republican.
Writing in his 2002 Memoirs, David Rockefeller, the longtime chairman of the CFR, was quite blunt in what he and his fellow globalists wished to accomplish. “Some even believe we [the Rockefeller family] are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as “internationalists” and conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
Clearly, Rockefeller was not joking, and, as the American presidential election just past has indicated, the American people are not laughing about this effort to destroy our status as an independent nation. But as Stewart Patrick so clearly puts it in his blog, the global elites are not giving up, despite their repudiation in the latest election.