Friday, 10/24/08, 6:00 AM
Background: The opening for the US equity markets is a few hours away, and already both the S&P and Dow futures are locked limit down, that is, futures trading has been suspended for a half hour or until the markets open. The FTSE 100, DAX, and CAC 40 are sharply down, as were the Asian markets overnight. All this while OPEC announces a 1.5bn barrel cutback in oil production.
Diplomacy is indeed the art of the possible. It requires endless patience and readiness to pounce on any opportunity, and lo, the current financial crisis rears up. While I take anything coming out of the Russian press with a huge dose of salt, this story from the Rossiyskaya Gazeta, George W. Bush Called to Order points to an amusing plight the free-wheeling, open-market neocons (or neoliberals, whatever you want to call them) have placed themselves in.
That open global markets lead to a de jure loss of a little bit of American sovereignty. (Where it hurts, too—in the Amerikan business sector.)
Of course, this depends on what agreements come out of the ongoing negotiations, as well as what new financial sector regulations are adopted in the U.S., but the point is, because the mess caused by Amerika’s pro-business, anything-goes climate has spilled over our borders, Amerikan financial titans have little choice but to take seriously any impositions foreign finance ministers might wish to make. Not that I think they particularly care, but Amerikan exceptionalism lies at the core of everything their political bedfellows believe in. Still, I wonder to what extent the $700bn Paulson bailout plan is an ideologue attempt to maintain the notion of Amerikan economic hegemony.
What a change from Bretton Woods. Amerikan exceptionalists must be tearing their hair out.
UPDATE: In a similar vein, Philip Stephens writes in FT, Globalisation and the new nationalism collide. Well, I wait for an Obama administration, and whatever change he can manage amidst America’s current political climate. Strong job growth for America’s working class would loosen up American attitudes fairly quickly.