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WRM in WSJ
Andrew Jackson Needs Alexander Hamilton

Our own Walter Russell Mead is in the Wall Street Journal today arguing that “nationalism” and “globalism”—two words that are often deployed in opposition to each other these days—are actually mutually reinforcing when done right. America’s “globalist” project—providing the conditions for international order and economic growth—requires a strong and united population at home, and a leadership class attuned to its wants and needs. Meanwhile, fulfilling America’s “nationalistic” objectives—keeping Americans secure and their standards of living rising—requires engagement with the wider world. An excerpt:

Mr. Trump is learning that some of the core goals of his Jacksonian program can be realized only by judiciously employing the global military, diplomatic and economic statesmanship associated with Alexander Hamilton. Bringing those two visions into alignment isn’t easy. Up until the Civil War, the American party system revolved around the rivalry of the Jacksonian Democrats with the Hamiltonian Whigs. Abraham Lincoln fused Jacksonian unionism with Henry Clay’s Hamiltonian vision when he created the modern Republican Party. Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan revitalized the party of their times by returning to the Jacksonian-Hamiltonian coalition that made the old party grand. […]

For the coalition to work, Hamiltonians need to realize that the health and cohesion of American society is fundamental to the world order that allows corporations and financial firms to operate so profitably in the global market. In other words, Peoria matters much more than Davos. It was American power and will that built the present world order and ultimately must sustain it. A divided society with an eviscerated middle class cannot provide the stable, coherent leadership that is required.

Effective American statesmanship would reconcile the spirit of Jackson with the spirit of Hamilton, navigating the global order to protect America’s national interests. Read the whole thing to get more of a sense of how this synthesis might look.

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  • Dale Fayda

    Yet another pointless exercise in semantic navel gazing from TAI. Lots of lofty word and historical allusions thrown about, but it’s all just abstract twaddle.

    I realize that TAI has to come up wth fresh content on a daily basis, but seeing words like “Hamiltonian” and “Jacksonian” in just about every other sentence on this blog makes me want to strangle the authors with their own colons.

  • Dhako

    This is the guff (of the most eye-watering kind) in which Walter in here entertained himself with. In other words, to Walter, he is that sort of fellow who would make even Professor Pangloss blush with a sense of pity of how Walter is so optimistic about what Mr Trump is about. No, what Mr Trump is about is essentially the same “bait-and-switch” in which the GOP are famous for. After all, you only have to read his “one-page-budget-proposal” to notice how the populist garb he is wearing is nothing but a con-job. Given, that he is essentially trying to bust deficit with all manner of outrageous trickle-down voodoo argument. Also, the alleged Keynesian infrastructure promise he made to his gullible voters in the Rust-Belt are yesterday’s news and no body is talking about it any more. Moreover, the all talk about the protectionism he was spouting seems to have bitten the dust, once, the Wall-Street boys (i.e., Cohn, and Mnuchin) have worked their calming influence on him (with the help of Ivanka-Kushner duo). Also, the talk of import-tax-duty was again, another policy discarded along the way. And, finally, the promise of the building of the Wall, was once again shown to be another “Con-Job” perpetuated by Mr Trump on his ever-credulously-believing-gullible voters.

    Hence, his agenda, is as ever the same GOP’s all-time-religion of looking after the Well-fed and the well-healed, while “stoking-up” the usual plebs in the Rust-Belt regions with all manner of “culture wars” and “Tribal talk” about how the left in America is trying to destroy the good ole US’s Christian White majority, unless the GOP’s office holders put stop to them. And, while, the GOP are at it (in persecuting the culture wars against the left) then, they should be allow to “feather-bed” the “Donner Class” of the GOP with test another massive tax cuts while telling the rubes and the ill-educated plebs in the Rust-Belt that Trump is fighting for them with all manner of empty talks and cheap rallies intended to lull them into accepting this state of affairs. All in all, it’s well and dandy to keep telling yourself this fiction that, Trump is about another attempt to implement a recognizable version of “Jacksonian politics”, with all that will entail. But, in all honesty, what Trump is about is the same as the old chancer selling another snake-oil cure to bunch of gullible suckers who wouldn’t be deserve nothing but a contempt for their easily purchase-able credulity.

    • ——————————

      Ah Grasshopper…another lengthy diatribe filled with speculation, condescension, and angst.
      Trump has really been making you and your paper tiger ever more nervous….and it is showing quite abundantly….the fearful and immature often lash out in a weak defense.

      Again, no one at TAI is swayed….

      • Dhako

        I see the usual mouth-breathers from the Trump’s political swarms have surfaced again. No, in case you are wondering, Trump, has already gave up the ghost of talking tough to China, much less act on it. And all it took was a measly “back-handed-palm-greasing” to his daughter’s business in China. And, just like so much of a “cheap-date”, he was ready to give up the “goods” to President Xi. Which he did, in case, you haven’t got the “Memo” from Kushner at the White-House yet. But, as I said it, his gullible voters are not any the wiser, even when the “bait-and-switch” he is perfecting on them has been broadcast to the wider world.

        In other words, pitiful cretins like you are essentially what makes a good specimen who deserve nothing but a contempt from others, since you are still in the habit of not knowing when you have been fleeced in a broad daylight. And for good measure, still believe the man who fleeced you out of your votes and in turn gave you a bill of good is still your “political savior”.

        • ——————————

          As I said, you and the paper tiger are showing your fears. That is why you have to lash out ad nauseam in your first comment…and why you felt the need to produce another lengthy diatribe as a response to my short and hurtful comment.

          Only “mouth breathers” eulogies communist countries….

          • Dhako

            You really have no idea of how pathetic you really are if you think that China is in fear about Trump. In fact, the Chinese are laughing their hats off, particularly how easy it was to see off all the bluster and bluff of Mr Trump. Unfortunately for you, you are not the sort of person who could read the tea-leaf of the Trump’s political reality. And since sadly the likes of Mr Kushner won’t be taking you into his confidence, then it seems you will be waiting (like so much Godot) the day the likes of Trump will get tough with China, even if in fact the rest of the world has already understood it (and have cottoned on to it) as to how “cheaply purchase-able” the likes of Trump was for the Chinese.

      • seattleoutcast

        I think he gets paid by the word.

        To sum up, all of Trump’s promises were empty, RINO promises. Anyone who falls for his pseudo-nationalism is a dumb, racist hick.

        • ——————————

          It must be only 1 rice per word the way he rambles on….

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Now that the Hamiltonian Globalists have lured most of the world’s nations into the American Global Trading System, by trading away American working class interests. It’s time to threaten that trade they’re now addicted to, in order to renegotiate and recover those working class interests.

    It would be best to pay off all Foreign holdings of US Treasuries ($6+ Trillion), which were accumulated by our cheating trade partners in the manipulation of their currency to gain a price advantage for their exports to America. This would reverse 40+ years of cheating in an instant, and rebalance world trade. It would also put a boot on the neck of our trading partners and America would be in a strong position in renegotiations.

    That $6+ Trillion would burn a hole in foreigners pockets, and would swiftly be used to buy American Products, and capital investments in America. American exporters would gobble up world market share, and pump prime the American Economy. Massive Growth would be the result.

    Compounding Growth is the Greatest Force in the Universe.

    • Tom

      “It would be best to pay off all Foreign holdings of US Treasuries ($6+ Trillion), which were accumulated by our cheating trade partners in the manipulation of their currency to gain a price advantage for their exports to America.”

      Would you care to provide evidence of this assertion, or are you simply insisting that we take it on faith?

      • Jim__L

        He goes into the mechanism farther down — dollars in the hands of overseas consumers would be spent on American goods. It’s very much like the currency manipulation that some countries engage in, trading their own currency to foreigners for their dollars, so that instead of spending dollars (that they no longer have) on American goods they spend whatever currency is in their hands instead of dollars.

        This has been demonstrated to work. I guess you could argue that the “big debt payoff” hasn’t precisely been tried, but something very similar has.

        • Tom

          Sorry, I think I took too much of the quote. Where is the evidence that currency manipulation by other countries is the primary cause of our trade deficit? Has he forgotten so soon why Japan managed to get in on the American market and the US never managed to even get a toehold in Japan? (Protip: Japanese protectionism was not the only reason.)

  • D4x

    The WSJ has a paywall.

  • FluffyFooFoo

    Huzzah… WRM is on board the Trump train.

  • Anthony

    “Mr Trump and the Republican Party should be weaving nationalist and globalist themes together rather than picking them apart.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Well, what are national interests – economic, militaristic, cultural, exploitative, etc. – in a global connected world? Underlying forces (economic, social, political) may shape the rise of a political movement (Trumpism, for lack of better description presently) over time but the catalyst that brings that movement to the center of public attention and makes it a potent force is just as likely to be something else WRM – neither Jacksonian nor Hamiltonian interpretations may suffice.

    The U.S. is undergoing transition – we seek to put to words or epochs our anxieties and shifting social/political arrangements. A most important question remains ‘what is American Nationalism and how does it comport to a 21st century global dynamic (not nationalism vs. globalism but United States in a global world). No synthesis required by Trump administration as much as a recognition that over 300 million Americans exist in a world of billions (over 7 billion) – that’s the real navigating.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Come on. Peoria voted to make itself irrelevant, remember?

  • Andrew Allison

    A leadership class attuned to America’s wants and needs is what is so manifestly missing.

  • Proud Skeptic

    There is something very basic that those who take a hard stand against nationalism in any form are missing. It is beneficial to a people to have pride in themselves and their country and to feel both that they are in control and a force for good in the world. Obama recreated the Carter malaise by constantly lecturing us and pointing out the bad in us. Trump leans more toward the Reagan approach and believes in American greatness. Trump doesn’t have Reagan’s sunny disposition, of course, but the effect is generally the same.

    Nationalism isn’t synonymous with Nazism. Pride in one’s country and in one’s self is not xenophobia. Such pride is a source of greatness and, in the case of the US, a stabilizing force in the world.

    Though I grit my teeth sometimes watching our president go through his learning curve, I feel lighter in spirit than I did during eight years of Obama. I also feel a sense of relief that Hillary is not president

    Bismarck was right. God does have a special providence for fools, drunkards and the United States of America.

    • RedWell

      Patriotism, yes. Nationalism, no. To some extent, this is all just semantics, but the semantics signify important issues.

      Namely, “nationalism” is typically used to describe a more chauvinist view of the world in which I don’t just take pride in my people or state but they are better than others. Further, others represent a threat. Usually, this also involves a zero-sum view of the world in which others’ gain is our loss. In the modern era, nationalism has almost always led to negative, and sometimes calamitous, outcomes.

      WRM is probably right that we need to mix our Jacksonian and Hamiltonian impulses. On the other hand, playing with nationalism is risky business. Politicians like Trump who play with it need to be held under special scrutiny.

      • Proud Skeptic

        Then the question remains as to the dividing line between patriotism and nationalism.

        I suspect the term “nationalist” is being applied to Trump in an attempt to cast him in a negative light….he needs little help in that regard. While he threw around rhetoric that crossed the line during the campaign, I do not find his actions or policies inappropriately nationalistic. But then, I don’t consider enforcing our immigration laws or protecting our interests oversees to be nationalistic…just common sense.

        At any rate, the Obama years were very light on patriotism and I remain relieved that his successor is not following in his footsteps.

        • RedWell

          I suppose that is where we part ways. No doubt many use “nationalist” to discredit Trump without much thought about what it means (just as they called GW a “fascist”).

          However, as I read his rhetoric (“I alone” can solve your problems, “America first,” etc.) and policies (greater protectionism, etc.), he quite clearly fits the definition of a nationalist. He problem is that in the first months, that has proven difficult to implement and he is deferring to a standard conservative GOP position.

          • Proud Skeptic

            Those phrases are simply the way a salesman speaks. But you have made valid points.

  • Mike

    “Mr. Trump is learning…”

    Trump is incapable of learning, he never did and he never will. Those who decided to gamble their reputation on Trump’s acting rationally must be really desperate.

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