Saturday, August 06, 2016

Social insecurity

Richard Haass (centre, above at New Class Nirvana) is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and as such would represent a "foreign policy establishment" figure that Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders each in their own way thinks has been too influential (he also is prone to highly original and never-before-thought-of musings). In today's Wall Street Journal he discusses the apparent isolationist trend in US political debate; it's all fairly reasonable stuff but there's still one characteristic "seriousness" bromide --

The cause of internationalism would also be helped by policies that increase economic growth, from infrastructure modernization to tax, entitlement and immigration reform. Populism and parochialism are much more likely to gain traction amid anxiety over jobs and stagnant or declining standards of living.

By entitlement reform, he means cuts to Social Security and Medicare. No argument is presented for why such cuts would make Americans more outward-oriented, and it's also historically unwarranted: FDR brought in Social Security and presided over the most un-isolationist period in American history.

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