Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bush warns against protectionism

Whatever you think of Bush, this is still sound advice. His influence has reach a nadir, and the first impulse of a lot of people is to oppose anything Bush supports. Personally, I am disappointed that he didn't do more to promote free trade when he was popular. Subsidies to American agriculture and industry do almost as much damage to our image in other countries as the occupation of Iraq and detaining people without trial or POW status in Gitmo. Obama will have a very hard time making friends out of foreigners if he takes the advice of his SecState and takes a "free trade timeout".

Free trade is a tool and a weapon. If we don't like a country, our options prior to armed conflict is imposing an embargo. Countries that are economically interdependent are less likely to go to war. For that matter, a foreigner with a full time job is that much less likely to become a terrorist.

1 comment:

J Q Taxpayer said...

I think Bush was too light on getting our products into many countries over what we allowed into ours. However, the flip side can cause even more harm. So Obama has a fine line to walk.

The United States is no longer the single major store in the shopping mall of the world. We are now among a group of major stores in the mall. Many products we offer can be purchased from other stores so isolation is not going to work in the long run.