From 1880 -1914 the world entered a new epoch, that of the first phase of globalism. The United States was expanding not only its territories, the cheap labor market and also reassure that American interests especially in Central America and the Caribbean are well-protected The period was known as the great expansion of the American Empire. The new American mercantilism worked on stashing up products at home especially gold silver and other minerals. .
In the second half of the 20th century with the founding of the liberal institutions we see a different kind of trading system; that of the free trade. This trend continued for most of the 20th century and it continues now, until two candidates in 2016 elections: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders revealed that the system of free trade had greatly hurt the economy of our country and many trade agreements needed to be revised. Although the two candidates had a common goal, they had two different approaches. Donald Trump meant to levy tariffs on the import, and decrease the corporate tax in order to –as Russel Bova explain- to enable the American consumer to buy products made in USA as opposed to products made elsewhere. Bernie Sanders explains the flaws of the free trade from a Neo-Marxist point of view implying that the problem the middle class faces today is an external problem (multinational corporations, including American corporate - greed) that are exploiting other cheap markets and leaving the American Worker hopeless and jobless.
SANDERS: I do not believe in unfettered free trade. I believe in fair trade which works for the middle class and working families, not just large multinational corporations. I was on the picket line in opposition to NAFTA. We heard people tell us how many jobs would be created. I didn't believe that for a second because I understood what the function of NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, and the TPP is, it's to say to American workers, hey, you are now competing against people in Vietnam who make 56 cents an hour minimum wage. This is an area where the secretary and I have disagreements
What is important is that both –progressive and economic nationalists - agree that NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China and the TPP must be revised and must work for the American middle class.
I must say that United States was not quite prepared for the 21st Century globalism. In fact Thomas Freedman in the World is Flat mentioned that “we were asleep for a long time and when we woke up, we realized that the world was flat, meaning that China, India, had advanced so much especially in technology.
The political inefficiencies are many. As I have mentioned before, the unpreparedness of the American consumer, worker, middle class put the country in disadvantage. The government and the department of labor in the last 24 years since the signing of NAFTA failed to protect the American worker. The trend continued for a good ten years (when industrial towns were becoming ghost towns) , the factories moved to Mexico, China and elsewhere, and the workers were left with no income, no jobs, and no dignity. The representatives in Congress failed to address the issue for so many years until two years ago when the progressives (Elisabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Keith Ellison), started to speak up for the American worker and the disastrous effect that the free trade agreements have caused in our country. Also, Donald Trump touched upon the same issue compassionately and reached out to the blue collar worker. Whereas the democrats in Congress refused to acknowledge the economy wrecking globalist policies, and the damages it has cause to the economy. (And that cost them the election of 2016).
Geopolitically, globalism raised the underdeveloped countries such as China, Brazil, India and other countries in Asia. It improved their economies but it also strengthens their position in the world economy. China has benefitted tremendously from the trade agreements with the United States and so has Mexico. With the President imposing tariffs in Chinese imports I must say that we are on the verge of a trade war thus it would be very smart to rationalize the situation rather than cutting ties. In my personal opinion, revising the agreements before imposing tariffs on the imports would be a better move. As far as the trade policies being constructive, -of course there are benefits as well. We have kept low prices on clothes, household items, electronics, appliances, for approximately two decades. Compare to Europe American Market is more affordable for the middle class worker.
When it comes to President Trump’s economic policies, there will be challenges from the liberals, the globalists proponents. As I mentioned above, Trump’s economic policies are somewhat protectionist. We are yet to see how the changes in the foreign policy he made with China, Mexico and UE will turn out.
As far as geopolitical outcomes – I believe- that weakening China economically is one of the Trump’s objectives. A weak China mean weaker competition in the global market. Mexico, is not as strong economically even though they are hanging on by a thread, withdrawing from NAFTA means that Mexico’s economy will crash. In 2017, 82% of Mexico’s exports are sold in US. Thus Trump has a good chance sitting down and negotiating better terms of the deal and perhaps other deals. In conclusion, US needs to have strong neighbors and partners, but everything in reciprocity and fairness. We also need a strong economy to survive the effects of globalism.