Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Via Samizdata: Some astonishing news has just come to light. According to a news report the Bush administration has called upon US companies to relocate jobs from Britain to the US, saying that those that do so will receive compensation.

If this is true, then I'm absolutely speechless. It is a specific repudiation of 50 years of increasing trade and spreading globalisation, not to mention a considerable slap in the face for the US's closest ally (and this on the eve of Bush's arrival in Britain). I've been quite sympathetic to the Bush administration over the past few years, but if this is true then I may have to start re-thinking that position. Say what you will of the war in Iraq, at least the Bushies believe that they are acting in the long term interests of the world by spreading democracy, free markets etc, even if others disagree. But if this latest news is true then it shows, incontrovertibly, that the Bush administration has only ever had it's own interests at heart. A move like this would be without parallel in recent history. Actually, that's not quite true, it would be a step down the road to Smoot-Hawley like tariffs and a full blown collapse of world trade. And we know what that did for world peace and stability. So not only would it be an incredibly selfish move, it would also be a pretty stupid one. Which is why I'm inclined to believe that this story is not what it seems. I simply can't believe that Bush would be that stupid.

I remember when Bush implemented his steel tariffs two years ago, The Economist said that no good would come of them. Perhaps, we are beginning to find out how prescient those words were.

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