The congressional debate over China’s trading status with the United States and its entry into the WTO has stirred a parallel debate among the directors and staff of Foreign Policy In Focus and within the two organizations—Institute for Policy Studies and Interhemispheric Resource Center—that sponsor the FPIF project. This essay is the second in a series of FPIF discussion papers examining the internationalist and nationalist tendencies within the fair trade movement in the United States. We invite readers to join the discussion by sending their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in the FPIF’s ezine, The Progressive Response.
President Bill Clinton’s visit to NATO allies Greece and Turkey is raising new questions about the ongoing strategic relationship the United States has with these two historic rivals, particularly in the light of the anti-American demonstrations which delayed and shortened the planned presidential visit.
In a December 1998 Wall Street Journal/ NBC News survey, 58 percent of Americans polled indicated that “foreign trade has been bad for the U.S. economy.1” Similar U.S. public opinion surveys in recent years register growing public apprehension over the current course of corporate-led economic globalization. Yet, expanding trade and overseas investment has been the Clinton administration’s central strategy both for job growth and for addressing a rapidly changing global economy. This fundamental divide between U.S. government policy and U.S. public opinion represents a monumental challenge for the crafters of U.S. foreign policy at the onset of a new century.
Components of the package outlined below have been circulating as separate reform proposals—some on the IMF and/or G-7 reform agendas, others struggling against Washington and IMF resistance. Combined they are an updating of the Bretton Woods architecture commensurate with today’s changed economic and political environment. They would help restore some of the stable, equitable, economic growth of yesteryear, while supplying institutional building blocks for erecting a genuinely integrated global economy in the future. The components are: