You want to talk about imperialism?

Check out the super-size Times editorial on how industrialized countries hobble the bright side of globalization's logic with protectionist trade policies and an unwillingness to confront domestic interests about the massive subsidies they receive.

This is such a huge story, and so revealing of the real challenges to promoting the ideals of prosperity and, ultimately, democracy which we espouse. And yet, somehow the globalization debate which took center stage during the late 90s has become largely an afterthought. The fanatical anti-globalization rhetoric of Seattle has become woefully tired and inadequate, while Bill Clinton's forceful, if problematic vision of humane globalization has no place on the national stage anymore. The Bush administration, true to form, continues its special ADD brand of politics, letting expediency guide ideology, sacrificing real engagement for any hollow ploy that makes for a good blurb on the Fox News crawl.

But the questions are hardly going away. Developing nations will only demand more equality in international markets, justly chagrined that Europe, the U.S. and Japan think they can talk tough about an honest rules-based international trading regime while rigging the outcomes. It's well past time to get over the idea that globalization is akin to a free lunch for the West. Developing economies have come too far, and have grown too adept at global competition to tolerate this sort of thing. And you can forget about international regulations to dull the sharp edges of globalization in the developing world unless we make good on these obligations.

More later...in the meantime, see this column by Bernard Wasow (scroll down to the 12/23 entry).


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