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Trump’s neo-isolationism won’t work

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WASHINGTON – America has taken a turn for the worst. The great delusion of Donald Trump’s presidency is that we can thrive by embracing nationalism even though major economic and political events are increasingly driven by international forces. Trump is an isolationist in an era of globalism. It won’t work.

Let us assume — for the sake of argument — that Trump is everything that he isn’t: thoughtful, considerate, open-minded, kind, generous, civil, truthful and respectful of his adversaries. Let us further assume that this imaginary Trump is such a nice guy that his character is widely admired.

Still, a big problem would remain: his policies. It’s inaccurate to say that Trump doesn’t have an agenda. In many ways, his agenda resonates with his campaign promises. “Make America Great Again” is a brilliant slogan that captures a nostalgic urge to resurrect an allegedly more glorious past.

The trouble is the actual past doesn’t resemble Trump’s rhetorical past, which is widely taken to be America in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The country was much poorer then. Since 1960, the average income (gross domestic product per person) has roughly tripled after adjusting for inflation. In 2017, that was $59,484.

Many staples of modern life didn’t exist........

© The Japan Times