Courtesy Reuters

Domesticating Global Management

Only yesterday, globalism was dismissed as an overreaching foreign policy style, a dangerous magnification of national interests and ambitions. How surprising that now, in slightly different form, it should come to be regarded as the best means for nation-states to coexist and prosper in an intimately interconnected world.

What seems to have changed is the agenda of foreign affairs. Once dominated by security concerns, that agenda has now expanded to include welfare issues-food, energy, population, ecology, resource depletion and income disparity-issues which apparently do not admit to efficient management at the nation-state level. To handle this more challenging agenda, foreign policy leaders schooled in the old arithmetic of national security will have to learn the formulae of economic interdependence, the advanced calculus of planetary bargains and global welfare.

The corollary to this popular argument is a redefinition of what used to be called "domestic policy." The new global pursuit of welfare seems to imply a constraint upon the traditional authority of domestic policy leaders. New sensitivities across borders ensure that policy activities at home will produce much larger and more immediate consequences abroad. If global welfare is to be managed under these circumstances, large slices of internal policy must be considered to be within the enlarged domain of foreign policy. The jurisdiction of domestic policy must contract, and that of an enlightened foreign policy must expand. Internal policy leaders have done well enough in the past, but they are simply not equipped to manage global welfare functions. Foreign policy leadership must take the lead, meeting global problems with global solutions, pushing the imperfect nation-state system of today toward a more rational world order system of tomorrow.

As its title would indicate, this essay puts forward an opposing argument. Improved domestic policy leadership is the true precondition for effective welfare management abroad. The old distinction between internal and external policy is indeed breaking down, but in this situation it is precisely the domestic arena, with its comparative advantage in the effective command

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