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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign town hall, Daytona Beach, Fla., Aug. 3, 2016 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The New Isolationism: Rethinking U.S. Power for a Deglobalized World

Friday, Aug. 5, 2016

T.X. Hammes, of the National Defense University in Washington, is one of America’s most visionary strategic thinkers. Anything he writes deserves a careful reading, but a recent essay of his for War on the Rocks is particularly noteworthy. In it Hammes argues that globalization, which has profoundly shaped world events for the past few decades and laid the foundation for America’s grand strategy, seems to be reversing. If so, he argues, “the increasing regionalization of economies and differences in rates of growth will create instability and challenge international security arrangements.”

Hammes believes that just as technology fueled the rise of globalization over the past half-century, emerging technology will reverse it. Robotics, artificial intelligence and 3-D printing will undercut the manufacturing advantage enjoyed by regions with low labor costs, while advances in indoor agricultural technologies will reduce the need for imported produce. The resulting ability of developed economies to move industrial and agricultural production closer to their domestic markets will reduce global trade and, combined with greater energy independence and efficiency, lessen the global movement of coal and oil. The net effect will be a delinkage of national prosperity and global stability. The United States will be able to distance itself from turmoil and conflict. ...

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