In This Review

Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism
Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism
By Ian Bremmer
208 pp, Portfolio, 2018
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This quick survey of today’s geopolitical trends and hot spots features a straightforward thesis: the world is in turmoil, and globalization is to blame. Nations are turning inward, people are becoming tribal, zero-sum thinking is on the rise, and the project of building an open international order is failing. Bremmer acknowledges that globalization has not been all bad. It has stimulated decades of economic growth and lifted much of humanity out of poverty. But he argues that its more profound impact has been to generate economic insecurity, undermine social solidarity, and usher in an era of backlash politics. The axis of political conflict is no longer between the left and the right or between the West and “the rest”; it is between elites and aggrieved, fearful people seeking protection from foreigners, economic competition, and technological change. Globalization has unsettled not just the United States and Europe but also the developing world, including countries such as Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey. Bremmer sees all countries facing a stark choice: either they “build walls” or they renew the bargains between citizens and their governments in ways that allow both sides to better navigate a world of growing interdependence.