Hence, through their methodical and scientific ‘balance of power’ approach towards international affairs, the Brits have long been ahead of the game per se. Moreover, the point in time at which it became clear to me personally and in turn it was fully imprinted in my mind that the most basic and most fundamental choice or tradeoff in our collective and individual economic, political, and social life was and still is between globalism on one hand and nativism on the other hand was at a ‘British-American Business Association’ (BABA) meeting in Washington during the Summer of 2016, just months before Trump got elected and while I was in the midst of my first writing project after finishing graduate school a couple of years prior to this meeting. 

The host and moderator of the meeting was Jon Sopel, who at that time was the BBC North America editor. Sopel, I should note, was very courteous and polite. He extended a very warm greeting to me as well as a meaningful smile right before the program began. It is hard to forget voluntary acts of kindness and generosity when they are extended in such a manner. And the Brits in attendance made what was supposed to be a dull academic and scientific meeting or seminar into very a jovial and lively program, peppered with side conservations and gossip along with bottles of alcohol audibly being popped in the background as Sopel was calling everyone to attention at the start of the program. 

Perhaps what the Brits were cognizant of at that time as evinced by ‘Brexit’ but what the Americans overlooked and missed – even though both sides knew and understood at that point in time that the most basic and fundamental choice and tradeoff for all of us was between globalism on one hand and nativism on the other hand – was that one could not stand for neoconservative policies and be against nativism at the same time. In a sense, Brexit – as well as many other political and social phenomena of the last couple of decades – was an outcome of this logical flaw in the thought process behind Washington’s policymaking process since the beginning of the 21st century. One cannot be for neoconservatism and neoconservative policies and give immunity and a safe haven to neocons and at the same time be against populism and nativism. Both neoconservatism and nativism are two sides of the same coin. One is the cause, and the other is the effect, and both mutually reinforce one another. 

Yet, the logic – albeit a flawed one – still exists in certain circles and segments of Washington, in the sense that certain circles and segments of Washington still believe and think that you can espouse neoconservative policies and be against populism and nativism at the same time and in a sense hold “two watermelons in one hand.” Also, many of us have made the mistake of attributing globalism as the main impetus behind the rise of nativism rather than neoconservatism. 

Globalism can be balanced with socially conscious policies and a socially conscious disposition and mentality. There can be a balance between a globally interconnected and interdependent superstructure on one hand and a state system underneath the superstructure which is conscious of its people on the other hand. And even if socialism does not take root, one can balance globalist policies and strategies with socially conscious policies which address the concerns and grievances of regular people. Arguably, it was the lack of a globalist policy and strategy balanced with a socially conscious outlook and the void left by the absence of such a policy and strategy which was then filled with neoconservatism, thus resulting in the irreconcilable choice and tradeoff between globalism and nativism that we are now facing. Or at least it appears as an irreconcilable choice and tradeoff in the minds of a great number of people. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s