Missed opportunity

Greg Ip’s article in Wall Street Journal published on January 6 (behind a paywall,  I think) is a good one. But, I think the article does not go deep enough.

There are two issues:

(1) Globalism might have been ideal in theory – a border-less world in which all work  together to address issues on a global basis – poverty, climate change, health, etc.

(2) In reality, it did not turn out that way. We now know enough about inequality and the rise of corporate profits, executive compensation, asset prices, etc.

These two constitute one aspect.

So, the opposition is not so much to globalisation or globalism as to the reality of the  distribution of its benefits.

Then, the other aspect is religion and culture. In fact, they both go together. The burden of assimilation was placed on the hosts. Second, the yardsticks applied to locals and  immigrants – esp. Muslim immigrants in western societies – were different.

Third, there was the unwillingness to face the problem of Islamic terrorism, to name it and to isolate it. The political correctness and the inconsistency and hypocrisy that flowed from it alienated many people. In fact, it made them angrier and more resentful towards
Muslims, while making ordinary Muslims feel fearful and insecure too.

Often, basic things like being truthful and fair were buried in a deliberate heap of  politically correct jargon. Leaders have to behave in a manner that wins them trust. Both corporate and political leadership failed. Period.

Even from a practical standpoint, it was even stupid on the part of those who were politically correct. Forget about being morally correct and fair. They simply achieved the opposite of what they were hoping to achieve. They created a wider chasm and division between people with their politically correct rhetoric.

Finally, it is not just for many Americans that borders matter. Even for the so-called globalisers, borders matter. They cannot simply write and speak as they do in America – in China or in Saudi Arabia or in many other countries.

They can only do so under the values and traditions that America offers. Hence, it is not wrong on the part of many Americans to feel that those values and traditions not be compromised by outsiders and for the sake of outsiders.

So, Greg Ip had lost an opportunity for a deeper analysis of the issues.

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