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Sun Mar 6, 2016, 12:17 PM

Guardian OpEd: From Trump to Merkel: how the world is divided between fear and openness

The Republican candidate and German chancellor are polar opposites in the key struggle of our age

Two major concepts define the political struggle in the west today. One can be termed “globalism”, which is currently most prominently represented by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. The other is “territorialism”, a view that the very likely Republican candidate for the US elections in November, Donald Trump, represents. At the core of the debate is the meaning of borders: should they be porous or tightly controlled? Are they mainly an obstacle to the free and productive flow of ideas, people, goods and information and should therefore be largely dismantled? Or are massive borders welcome and indispensable as a protection against all kinds of real or perceived threats such as competition and terrorism?

For globalists such as Merkel, interconnectedness is a good thing because it is what drives progress towards more prosperity and freedom everywhere. For territorialists such as Trump, interconnectedness is mainly a threat. What is good and healthy is attributed to the natives and what is dangerous comes from outside: unfair Chinese competition, dangerous Mexican immigrants and Middle Eastern terrorists.

Globalists want to manage the cross-border streams and minimise the disruptive character of borders to maximise the gains from connected markets and societies. Of course those streams have to be managed and this is why governance cannot any more be limited to the national territory. Governments need to co-operate and set up regional and global institutions; they need to set rules and make sure that these rules are upheld. Globalists argue among themselves about how to police the wider spaces but not about the principle.

Territorialists, by contrast, don’t believe in international and transnational institutions –
they believe in national strength and power. Donald Trump wants to invest in the US military so that it’s “so big and strong and so great” that “nobody’s going to mess with us”. The world outside the borders is anarchical and dangerous and the way to deal with threats is to fight them by using force. “Bomb the shit out of Isis,” Trump said. Europe has its own share of territorialists, who share many of Trump’s views. Marine Le Pen in France, leader of the Front National, stands a good chance of winning the first round of next year’s French presidential elections. Then there’s Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, who rose to international prominence by making the case for “illiberal democracy” ... they attribute everything positive to the natives and everything negative to those beyond the borders.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/06/donald-trump-angela-merkel-territorial-global-ulrich-speck

While the OpEd posits the 'globalism' vs 'territorialism' as a left (Merkel) vs right (Trump) issue. There is certainly some of that in the attitudes of Trump's base (and those of Le Pen, Orban and others) but there is antipathy to "international and transnational institutions" on the left as well as the right.

And there is a middle ground between the 'openness' of Merkel and the 'fear-mongering' of Trump.

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