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Perspective: Understanding International Events This Year

Dan Russo

International events this year will be shaped by nationalism; policies will pursue primarily narrow self interest.

Nationalism substitutes protectionism for globalization and free trade. It explains both Brexit and Boris Johnson. It rejects Obama's multilateralism for Trump's "America First." It drove the global shift from pro to anti immigration policies. It explains at least some of the assertive, even aggressive, foreign policies that have caused such seismic shocks.

BusinessWeek observes that resentment drives nationalist policies. Elites are resented for promoting trade rules that threaten jobs. Their adventures raise taxes and send sons and daughters off to fight "endless wars." Their immigration policies threaten domestic jobs and disrupt the established culture.

The "Great Recession" exacerbated income inequality on a global scale, compounding levels of dissatisfaction. The comfort of the old order is threatened, so nationalist leaders promise to restore the old order.

Two conclusions emerge. First, the analysis above applies not only to international politics, but equally forcefully to our domestic condition. Second, however one judges the people and politics just described, one should not simply dismiss them. As the Democrats of 2016 can attest, there is manifest danger in doing so.

I'm Bob Evans and that is my perspective.

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