Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Trump cannot shield America from the forces of globalization

Washington Post


Afshin Molavi is co-director of the emerge85 Lab and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Trump likes to consider himself a businessman president. If that is the case, he ought to take a cue from the major American and global multinational consumer companies that have been chasing the growth across the 85 percent world for at least three decades. The emerging middle-class consumer is the Great Commercial Prize of the 21st century, cultivated and coveted by companies such as Unilever, Nestle, Starbucks, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, and McDonald’s, whose bottom lines are increasingly driven by emerging markets’ growth.
This global middle class is America’s soft-power secret weapon. The truth is that most people around the world want the same basic things: opportunity, education, decent health care and non-corrupt governments, not to mention regular electricity, clean water and safe infrastructure. An American president who can tap global middle-class hopes will do more to burnish America’s image than billions of dollars spent on public diplomacy.
Thus far, when Trump speaks of foreign policy, however, he generally has reduced it to counterterrorism strategy. He is, however, not alone. This is a peculiar reality of many working in foreign policy and national security: They are so consumed by the fires that need to be contained that they can barely see the budding flowers far beyond. As one former National Security Council official who now works in global private equity investment put it to me: “In government, when I looked at Pakistan, all I saw were problems; in the private equity world, all I see are opportunities.” ...
America’s political class must come to terms with the reality that the United States is more globalized and connected to the world economy than is often realized, and its members must also understand that the growing economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America offer promising soft-power opportunities for diplomacy and even more promising growth opportunities for the U.S economy. 

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