Trump, Economic Nationalism, and Imperialism Today

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017
With Lee Sustar

Trump famously broke with Republican orthodoxy by criticizing free trade deals and promising to champion manufacturing workers. He also denounced surviving Cold-War era institutions like NATO—causing some pundits to worry that he would undermine the post-war agreement that placed the U.S. at the center of a “liberal” imperial order. But the core of his economic policy—cutting taxes and reviving domestic industry—is designed to benefit the billionaires and former generals who dominate his cabinet. Questions remain as to how far Trump will go with the protectionist measures that undo free-trade policies his base supports (he’s already backed off on some); or to what extent his sabre-rattling posture will translate into new wars or deeper escalations of existing ones. This talk will discuss the degree of continuity—and discontinuity—of Trump's domestic and international economic and military policies, and what that means for the world.

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