Security Policy is Economic Policy

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Media Outlet: Democracy Journal

On March 13, Democracy Journal published a symposium edited by Heather Hurlburt and featuring articles by Hurlburt, Bruce Jentleson, Jennifer Harris, and Todd Tucker. This issue explores the link between national security policy and economic policy—and asks how we can make international economic institutions more friendly to public policy goals.

Hurlburt's piece opens the symposium: 

Post-Cold War U.S. security thinking has rested on two truisms about trade liberalization: first, that countries more able to trade with us would become more politically like us; and second, that the overall consequences at home of deals abroad would be to strengthen our own society. Confident of those two theses, security planners felt free to ignore both the specific content of trade deals and any worries about their domestic impacts.
But as it turns out, the arrow of cause and effect points both ways. By ushering in a surge of globalization, international economic policies have helped reshape our society domestically over the last two decades. Perceiving international economic policy as the cause of economic and cultural changes they dislike, nationalist forces in our society have pushed back to reshape international economic policy.


Heather Hurlburt is director of the New Models of Policy Change initiative at New America's Political Reform program.