JoT re
Rev re "Liberals"

Let's say that it has been predominantly the conservatives who have established the US as the world's only superpower. Even so, this accomplishment isn't the sort of thing I'm talking about. I mean, when conservatives and liberals disagreed about something 50 or 100 years ago, but they agree about it now, it was always the liberals whose side won out. When there's still serious disagreement between conservatives and liberals, as there is with abortion, it doesn't count as a victory for either side. The proper place of the country on the world scene is still contentious and is not the sort of victory that I was citing for the liberals.

That said, I'll concede that the conservatives have done more for establishing US hegemony than the liberals have.

As for defeating the Communism, this is not a clear victory for the conservatives because the mainstream liberals were not trying to preserve Communism. Liberals and conservatives both opposed the Communism, albeit in different ways.

Do the conservatives deserve accolades for opposing the Soviet Union more forcefully? Do they get most of the credit for bringing that oppressive regime down? Let's say they do. It's equally fair to credit the liberals with avoiding World War III. The conservatives said we had to face down the Soviet Union. The liberals said we had to prevent nuclear war. Both sides succeeded, each with the help of the other.

If this sounds like double-talk, I can retreat to the narrower statement, that as far as domestic issues are concerned, the 20th century was the century of the liberals being right.

Now on to your tangent, the WTO and its kind. You're right that the growth of extragovernmental trade organizations is neither a liberal nor conservative development. Now that the conservatives have become liberals, maybe those two labels are outdated, or soon will be. I think you're right that future conflicts between states are more likely to be political and economic than military. The wealthy have long profited from war. Now the world is so interconnected that there's even more profit to be made by peace and cooperation. With the power of the globe's wealthiest behind peace, maybe peace will finally be given a chance.

Personally, I'm generally for NAFTA, the WTO, and other international trade arrangements. Left to their own, countries each erect barriers to trade to benefit themselves. As a whole, however, these barriers hurt global trade more than they help the individual countries. It makes no sense to be the only country to ditch trade barriers, but it makes sense to agree with other countries to ditch these barriers together.

February 2004


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