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Globalists vs. Nationalists: Who Owns the Future?

Robert Bartley, the late editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, was a free trade zealot who for decades championed a five-word amendment to the Constitution: “There shall be open borders.”

Bartley accepted what the erasure of America’s borders and an endless influx or foreign peoples and goods would mean for his country.

Said Bartley, “I think the nation-state is finished.”

His vision and ideology had a long pedigree.

This free trade, open borders cult first flowered in 18th Century Britain. The St. Paul of this post-Christian faith was Richard Cobden, who mesmerized elites with the grandeur of his vision and the power of his rhetoric.

In Free Trade Hall in Manchester, Jan. 15, 1846, the crowd was so immense the seats had to be removed. There, Cobden thundered:

“I look farther; I see in the Free Trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe—drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonisms of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace.”

Britain converted to this utopian faith and threw open her markets to the world. Across the Atlantic, however, another system, that would be known as the “American System,” had been embraced.


The second bill signed by President Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789. Said the Founding Father of his country in his first address to Congress: “A free people … should promote such manufactures as tend to make them independent on others for essential, particularly military supplies.”

In his 1791 “Report on Manufactures,” Alexander Hamilton wrote, “Every nation ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitat, clothing and defence.”

This was wisdom born of experience.

At Yorktown, Americans had to rely on French muskets and ships to win their independence. They were determined to erect a system that would end our reliance on Europe for the necessities of our national life, and establish new bonds of mutual dependency among Americans.

Britain’s folly became manifest in World War I, as a self-reliant America stayed out, while selling to an import-dependent England the food, supplies and arms she needed to survive but could not produce.

America’s own first major steps toward free trade, open borders and globalism came with JFK’s Trade Expansion Act and LBJ’s Immigration Act of 1965.

By the end of the Cold War, however, a reaction had set in, and a great awakening begun. U.S. trade deficits in goods were surging into the hundreds of billions, and more than a million legal and illegal immigrants were flooding in yearly, visibly altering the character of the country.

Americans were coming to realize that free trade was gutting the nation’s manufacturing base and open borders meant losing the country in which they grew up. And on this earth there is no greater loss.

The new resistance of Western man to the globalist agenda is now everywhere manifest.

We see it in Trump’s hostility to NAFTA, his tariffs, his border wall.

We see it in England’s declaration of independence from the EU in Brexit. We see it in the political triumphs of Polish, Hungarian and Czech nationalists, in anti-EU parties rising across Europe, in the secessionist movements in Scotland and Catalonia and Ukraine, and in the admiration for Russian nationalist Vladimir Putin.

Europeans have begun to see themselves as indigenous peoples whose Old Continent is mortally imperiled by the hundreds of millions of invaders wading across the Med and desperate come and occupy their homelands.

Who owns the future? Who will decide the fate of the West?

The problem of the internationalists is that the vision they have on offer — a world of free trade, open borders and global government — are constructs of the mind that do not engage the heart.

Men will fight for family, faith and country. But how many will lay down their lives for pluralism and diversity?

Who will fight and die for the Eurozone and EU?

On Aug. 4, 1914, the anti-militarist German Social Democrats, the oldest and greatest socialist party in Europe, voted the credits needed for the Kaiser to wage war on France and Russia. With the German army on the march, the German socialists were Germans first.

Patriotism trumps ideology.

In “Present at the Creation,” Dean Acheson wrote of the postwar world and institutions born in the years he served FDR and Truman in the Department of State: The U.N., IMF, World Bank, Marshall Plan, and with the split between East and West, NATO.

We are present now at the end of all that.

And our transnational elites have a seemingly insoluble problem.

To rising millions in the West, the open borders and free trade globalism they cherish and champion is not a glorious future, but an existential threat to the sovereignty, independence and identity of the countries they love. And they will not go gentle into that good night.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

24 Comments (Open | Close)

24 Comments To "Globalists vs. Nationalists: Who Owns the Future?"

#1 Comment By Howlvis On March 12, 2018 @ 10:26 pm

It is worth remembering that Karl Marx believed capitalism was a necessary step in the path to socialism and finally communism.

#2 Comment By ScottA On March 12, 2018 @ 11:23 pm

Build the Wall! Build the Wall!

#3 Comment By Kurt Gayle On March 13, 2018 @ 6:58 am

Yesterday in USA Today Dr. Peter Navarro wrote this about the national vital security interests in President Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel:

“’When it comes to a time when our country can’t make aluminum and steel … you almost don’t have much of a country.’ This warning from President Trump perfectly encapsulates the national security rationale for imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum, two of the most important industries for the health and stability of the American manufacturing and defense industrial base. Consider the plight of our once-proud primary aluminum industry — now nearly on its death bed. We need aluminum to build everything from the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the Littoral Combat Ship and the Tomahawk missile. We also require aluminum for critical infrastructure projects, from the electric grid and transportation projects to water and sewer treatment plants. As the primary aluminum sector has shrunk dramatically, we have lost high-skilled jobs and tax revenues, while in 2016 our total trade deficit in aluminum products alone was $7.2 billion. In 2000, America was the world’s largest aluminum producer, but today its share has fallen to 1.4% of the world market while China’s share has risen from 11% in 2000 to 54%. In 2013, U.S. production was about 2 million metric tons of the roughly 4.5 million metric tons we consumed. According to the Department of Commerce, ‘Since 2012, six smelters with a combined 3,500 workers have been permanently shut down, totaling 1.13 million metric tons in lost production capacity per year.’ Today, only five smelters remain, only two are at full capacity, and only one produces the high-purity aluminum we need for our defense needs. If we lose that high-purity aluminum production, we will have to depend on others to meet our military’s needs. Absent the 10% tariffs on aluminum that Trump has ordered, we could well lose the rest of our aluminum industry.”

#4 Comment By collin On March 13, 2018 @ 9:37 am

Thanx to President Trump my business is hurt by higher steel prices (automotive), although it probably only goes up by 5 – 10%, with some hope that it may create 10K which will likely cost 20K+ jobs in other businesses.

Pat Buchanan supports this awful economics.

#5 Comment By Tyro On March 13, 2018 @ 10:02 am

Pat Buchanan endorses Juche.

#6 Comment By KD On March 13, 2018 @ 10:20 am

Ban soy milk.

#7 Comment By Liam On March 13, 2018 @ 11:35 am

Then again, we are about to have a new Secretary of State who is much more of an global interventionist – unless the Senate were to fail to approve.

Sick of winning so much yet?

#8 Comment By Youknowho On March 13, 2018 @ 11:38 am

On the subject of defending our country against unfettered inmigration, let us remind ourselves of this great triumph in the nineteenth century when we knew how to defend the U.S. against those whose beliefs were inimical to our society.


#9 Comment By John S On March 13, 2018 @ 1:34 pm

These aren’t nationalists. These are greedy crony capitalists who know nationalist slogans are the opioid of the people. Putin, the Charles Martel of the anti-globalists, keeps most of his assets in Europe.

#10 Comment By Jeremy 2 On March 13, 2018 @ 1:56 pm

I agree with Trump 100% on the steel tariffs, but seeing everyone as either a globalist or nationalist is a false dichotomy.

Also, the post-Brexit Tories have been banging the war drums against Russia the loudest, and the illiberal populist governments of eastern Europe are supporting Erdogan and the Saudis right along with France and Germany (all while claiming to be against Islamization). They’re no saviors, either.

#11 Comment By Positive Thinker On March 13, 2018 @ 2:21 pm

Men will fight for family, faith and country. But how many will lay down their lives for pluralism and diversity?

Very good point!

#12 Comment By Waters On March 13, 2018 @ 2:39 pm

Lumping together the independence movements in Scotland, Ukraine, and Catalonia as anti-globalist is very misleading.

Scotland’s independence movement is in part motivated by a desire to remain in the EU. (A sizable majority of Scots voted Remain.)

The separatism in eastern Ukraine is the backlash of a minority who resist popular efforts to integrate further with the EU.

The proponents of Catalan independence are actively fretting about how to stay in / get back into the EU if their movement succeeds.

#13 Comment By Jeremy 2 On March 13, 2018 @ 2:58 pm

@Positive Thinker
Men fight for family, faith and country these days? Could have fooled me. Certainly those “alt-right” dweebs don’t.

@John S
Putin is propping up the neo-Ottoman Erdogan just like the rest of the world leaders.

#14 Comment By Mark On March 13, 2018 @ 3:01 pm

I would think liberty means people trading with whom they want without government intervention to control who benefits. But Law also needs to prevent people from sending their work overseas to cheap labor and then to bring the goods back putting Americans out of work. There has to be a balance between this somewhere.

#15 Comment By Will Harrington On March 13, 2018 @ 3:26 pm

John S. Documentation? And please keep in mind that this is probably true because the majority of Russians do actually live in Europe. Moscow is an European city. Geography 101. So, Putin almost surely has most of his assets in Europe by default. Please develop this line a little further because you offered as evidence for your point a statement that is true but does not necessarily support your point.

#16 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On March 13, 2018 @ 3:47 pm

In the U.S., nationalism isn’t doing as well as it should be–not in the single most important metric. We need an immigration moratorium. Why not make that a midterm election issue?


#17 Comment By Dan Green On March 13, 2018 @ 3:47 pm

I am a confirmed Realist. I also studied and researched The Social Democratic Welfare State Model, western Democracies have pursued post WW 2. Makes for great reading, as it offers something for everyone. Problem has turned out, it doesn’t work.

#18 Comment By Les Govment On March 13, 2018 @ 7:46 pm

I’ve formerly posted at TAC as “A Libertarian Guy”

I’m basically a supporter of free-trade of the two-way street variety, but I’m not a fan of convoluted trade agreements like NAFTA.

Concerning globalism, history shows us that the bigger government gets and the more people a government controls, the more oppressive government becomes. The peoples of the world are better off having their own cultures and countries.

The notion that the nations of the world can be united “in the bonds of eternal peace” is, quite frankly, pie-in-the-sky nonsense.

Les Govment [3]

#19 Comment By john On March 14, 2018 @ 3:58 am

The fact is that these globalist elites are far removed form the average citizen. They can write their theories on chalkboards but they cannot see what is before their eyes. They can’t see the Rust Belt with crumbling structures, and parking lots being reclaimed by nature, the grass and brush growing though the cracks, and the white lines of thousands of parking spaces faded These spaces represented workers and their families. When the globalists mention free trade they lie. Trade is when one country produces a product more efficiently than another country, and trades for a product that the other country produces more efficiently. This is comparative advantage. When one country moves its manufacturing to another country to take advantage of slave labor, that is not trade; that is labor arbitrage. This destructive policy has hollowed out the American Middle class. Tariffs are the only answer. Let it be known to those manufacturers who took their jobs to other countries that if you want to sell your product here you must make it here or try to sell your product to those who are earning twenty-five cents a day. See how that works out. And this idea that your ability to purchase a tee shirt for one dollar from Walmarts makes up for the fact that you traded a twenty dollar an hour job with benefits and double time for overtime, for a minimum wage job makes up the difference is nonsense.

#20 Comment By DanJ On March 14, 2018 @ 5:08 am

Sovereign nations by ethnicity is hardly the norm in European history. Various multi-ethnic empires have ruled most of the continent. People lived in duchys, kingdoms, etc. while also being subject to an emperor (and to the Church). Of course there was friction, strife and war, but the general idea that you can have multiple loyalties was not contested.

Nationalism changed all that. The ideal that your people must be completely sovereign in all affairs raised the stakes in all disagreement and made everything a matter of life and death. Enter an era of bitter war, all fought to the death and utter destruction of the losing side. Tens of millions dead and a continent in ruins.

The EU is an honest attempt at balancing the sovereign rights of nations with the peace and prosperity made possible by joining under one flag. It is true that the EU doesn’t inspire young men to fight and die, but perhaps Europe can do with a respite from all that.

#21 Comment By M. On March 14, 2018 @ 7:17 am

Howlvis says:

March 12, 2018 at 10:26 pm

It is worth remembering that Karl Marx believed capitalism was a necessary step in the path to socialism and finally communism.


Private Capital-ism unfettered by a Catholic Christian worldview and understanding of what man is and what his limitations and responsibilities are will lead to Public Capital-ism (aka Communism, which never really works anyway because it is utterly contrary to human nature).

Marx wasn’t wrong. He was just evil in his assent to this trajectory and desiring it to come about.

That said, there’s nothing wrong, indeed there is everything RIGHT, with “ownership” (which is all capitalism really is when you get right down to it) per se as long as it does not become an end unto itself.

#22 Comment By Damian On March 14, 2018 @ 11:48 am

I love you Pat!

#23 Comment By hooly On March 14, 2018 @ 6:51 pm

Chinese nationalists own the future at this rate.

#24 Comment By Bogo On March 17, 2018 @ 9:51 am

The preservation and redevelopment of an American manufacturing base can be accomplished through Investment tax credits. A simple 15% ITC on American made capital goods would get the ball rolling. The capital equipment would have to contain 80% American factor inputs like steel and aluminum. Incent producers don’t penalize rationale consumers. With a capital goods ITC, we will see increases in productivity and productive capacity and as a result, growth without inflation and higher tax revenues. Tarrifs will only increase prices, slow growth and nothing with great certainty will get built.