Thursday, 31 March 2016

Trump Is Obama Squared - WSJ

The other day Paul Rubin mused on the similarities between Trump and Sanders: both believers in zero-sum worlds. (WSJ Oped, March 22). In trade one country gains only at the expense of the other (Trump) and in the economy the rich gain only at the expense of the poor (Sanders).
Both propositions are substantially wrong as history proves. Mercantilist trade barriers and socialist redistribution have been signal failures from the 19th to the 21st centuries. It is the narcissism of Trump and Sanders that allows them to believe they can try the same prescriptions, serial failures, and come up with different outcomes. One of the definitions of madness is the belief you can try the same thing over and over and come up with a different outcome.
In yesterday's WSJ, Bret Stephens explores the issue of Narcissism a bit further, this time in Trump and Obama.
It's interesting and convincing.
It seems America is condemned to be more isolationist: as Hilary would be Obama redux and Trump has made clear his opposition to a forceful role abroad. And that's bad. Consider the extent to which global wealth has been promoted by US policies since WW2: the Marshall Plan in Europe; helping Japan back on its feet; establishing GATT, later the WTO; founding the UN. If not the US, none of these.
Three American narcissists who would clip America's overseas wings. A worrying thought.