US and Globalization–Protectionism

October 16, 2012

There is a long established history among students and scholars associated with Globalization, wherein the US is indisputably shown to take great advantage of the benefits of globalization, while finding a variety of excuses not to allow that same process to proceed wherever certain US centers of wealth have protested that they will potentially suffer.

The most recent example is the US Government’s “House Intelligence Committee” proclaiming that allowing Huawei and ZTE to do business in the US would “undermine US national security interests.”

It seems counterintuitive to us that the US, the most technologically advanced nation in the world and leading promoter of global neoliberal free trade on a worldwide basis, could take such a position.

There are likely few who would fail to see through this decision. How could we essentially say that we are unable, with all our technological brainpower, to examine the equipment and software from these suppliers, such as to verify they are not carrying or transmitting so as to endanger us? There is a 99% chance, in our opinion, that this is just another example of the US protecting its own huge and profitable suppliers, at the expense of Chinese suppliers.

If our reason is suspicion of internet espionage by China, does anyone really believe we are not conducting our own internet espionage of China on a continuous basis? If there is to be a set of rules about the allowed and dis-allowed types internet espionage, then let’s set about to negotiate that set of rules, and then we will have a basis for protest when China violates those, but to our knowledge there is no such agreement now and internet espionage is indeed indisputably common and conducted by most all advanced governments. We have to because they do, or they do because we do.

Is the iPhone banned in China? No. What would our reaction be if it were, on the basis of endangering national security for China? We all know what that reaction would be.

Here is the kind of free trade leader we really are, behind all our rhetoric to the contrary: We pay out $10 Billion annually to subsidize US farmers, who cannot really be seen as in any great economic danger, especially when compared to the farmers of Brazil, Africa, and Bangladesh. At the same time, we are increasing tariffs on solar equipment which we import from China, to protect an industry here–an industry which may be best located there, considering labor costs, etc.

We are of the opinion that the US would do well to closely examine its real intent as it relates to free trade, from which we happen to be the greatest beneficiary, by far, worldwide, no matter how the $ value is calculated. If we are for it, let’s be for it. If we want to be protectionist, then let’s be honest about that, as well, and tailor our policies accordingly, without all the rhetoric coming from lobbyists, which only weakens the voice of government in the eyes of the American public.

We are in favor of the US altering its rhetoric and its policy in regard to free trade, accept that some elements of it are going to work against US interests, but most are going to work strongly in our favor. If we are to protect certain interests, then we should strive for “fairness” in allowing others to have equal protections to their favored. This is not our behavior. We clearly seek to verbally promote free trade, but look for every possible way to protect ourselves when free trade might hurt our established interests, with no serious regard for those who are desperately poor. Their improvement in income and standard of living will benefit not only them, but also us–in the long run. Let’s take a long run and world-wide point of view.

We shouldn’t be shocked at how we are seen in the world, if we don’t try harder to be better world citizens.  The rhetoric may seem comforting to those who mouth it, but the behavior is what is souring our image in the world.

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