Isolationism or Anglospherism?

2005-11-17

According to a new research report from Pew Research, Americans are growing more isolationist, with 42% now saying that the U.S. should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own." In addition, American views about allied nations have changed. Strong pluralities think that Germany and especially France will become less important American allies in the future, while India, China, Britain, and Japan are perceived as probably becoming more important. Other than China, all of these allies are part of what Jim Bennett calls the "cricket and baseball alliance" -- which, for instance, was quite instrumental in providing assistance after the Asian tsunami last year (we must also include the Aussies in that honor roll). The poll results point in a somewhat imprecise fashion to the emergence of a stronger sense of Anglospheric identity, though one would need to ask a different set of questions to get at the heart of the matter. Furthermore, the poll results indicate that Americans are increasingly skeptical about the prospects for transplanting "democracy" to Iraq or other nations in the Middle East. To me, this seems a reasonable extension of the fact that Middle Eastern cultures have very little base of consensual government, civil society, volunteerism, markets, objective law, entrepreneurship, individualism, engineering, or science on which to build. As I've hinted before, I think it would be better to work more intimately with countries and cultures that are closer to these broadly Anglospheric habits, practices, and attitudes (most centrally Britain, Australia, and Canada, but also Ireland, India, South Africa, etc.) than to try transplanting market liberalism into less hospitable soil.

(Cross-posted at Albion's Seedlings.)


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