It’s about time that someone spoke up for “globalism,” a term that is only insulting if you don’t ponder the alternatives. Sure, globalism has its downsides. But what, one wonders, is the opposite of globalism? Provincialism? Tribalism? Nationalism? None is appealing.
Provincialism, the dictionary tells us, is “the way of life or mode of thought characteristic of the regions outside the capital city of a country, especially when regarded as unsophisticated or narrow-minded.” That’s a pretty good description of Trump and his followers but presumably not one that they would embrace — no doubt they see this definition as emblematic of the disdain in which they are held by cosmopolitan elites.
Tribalism? That’s what gave us the genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and what is today responsible for the slaughter in Syria and Yemen and the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar. It is even leading to violence in Spain, where the national police cracked heads to stop a Catalan independence referendum. And, as Andrew Sullivan notes in a brilliant essay for New York magazine, tribalism is poisoning the political climate in America.
Nationalism? That’s the ideology championed in the past by German and Japanese militarists and today by dictators in, among other places, Moscow, Beijing, Caracas, Harare, Ankara, and Pyongyang. A diluted form of nationalism can be benign, but the 200-proof variety has been responsible for at least as many atrocities as tribalism, an ideology from which it is often indistinguishable.
What horrors, by contrast, has globalism given us?
Max Boot, In Foreign Policy, October 6, 2017