Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Not So Foreign Policy

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Not So Foreign Policy

Article excerpt

Despite conventional wisdom that says we are a nation preoccupied with "minding the store" at home, we are in fact enthusiastic, albeit unwitting, internationalists.

For many Americans, the walls that came down with the cold war's end didn't include the walls in the mind that separate the "foreign" from the "domestic." But in today's complex world, there simply isn't any longer an easy division of the two. The globalized economy, the information and communications revolution, innovations in transportation, and other factors have blurred blocs and borders and driven more issues that hit close to home into the lexicon of foreign policy.

In a global economy, foreign policy creates jobs. The 200-plus international trade agreements reached by the Clinton administration have yielded nearly 2 million new US jobs. More than one-third of our economic growth today derives from exports. Our ability to sustain that growth depends, in part, on our willingness to use foreign policy to promote exports, protect our products, and ensure open trade. That willingness is now being tested in Congress, as it weighs President Clinton's bid for "fast track" trade negotiating authority. The president can and should use this opportunity to establish with the broader public the fact that foreign policy has made our nation richer and can continue to do so. A world with diminishing borders also creates challenges for Americans. Open borders and advances in transportation have facilitated the onset of mulitnational cartels that deal illegal drugs and weapons in our neighborhoods. Advanced technology now allows criminals to steal from, spy on, and sabtotage American citizens and companies from afar. American diplomacy is today at the front line in the battle against these threats to our interests and values - a special State Department bureau deals exclusively with such "transnational" issues. Many other "close to home" issues have international implications. …

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