In Praise of Globalists

“As a right-wing conservative and founding member of the Freedom Caucus, I never expected that the co-worker I would work closest, and best, with at the White House would be a ‘globalist,’ ” Mulvaney said in a tweet. “Gary Cohn is one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with.

.. Globalist belongs in a class of words (“cuck” is another one, as is “othering”) that tends to say a great deal more about the person who uses it than it does about the person he says it about.

.. To be an anti-globalist, on the other hand, does specify something. It means someone who is convinced that serious business is transacted at conferences like Davos or Bilderberg or Munich, and that 500 or so people run the world at the expense of everyone else.

.. anti-globalism is economic illiteracy married to a conspiracy mind-set.

.. Who in the White House is left to tell the president he’s nuts when he tries to pull out of Nafta?

.. expats are our real globalists, representing the things that make America great:

  • adventure,
  • engagement,
  • commerce,
  • openness to new ideas, and
  • a love of America honed by a combination of critical distance and a new depth of appreciation.

Trump Likes Controversy, Conflict Less So

The distinction is important, and it is woven through Trump’s operating style during his first year in office

 He likes controversy, but he isn’t all that fond of conflict.

.. He relishes stirring up controversy, and, in fact, believes stirring the pot advances his reputation as an outside agitator and improves his position by keeping adversaries off balance. But he usually keeps controversy at arm’s length, using his Twitter feed or offhand comments to attack and posture.

By contrast, when he finally comes face-to-face with both friends and foes, his actual positions are often less contentious and rigid than his public posturing suggests. His Twitter bark is worse than his personal bite.

.. He ordered the U.S. out of the Paris accord on climate change, but told British interviewer Piers Morgan over the weekend that, thanks in part to the personal intervention of French President Emmanuel Macron, who, “as you know, I like,” he might rejoin the accord.
.. When he is standing apart from negotiations over a new immigration system, he denigrates his Democratic counterparts, saying they have no interest in securing the border and are “only interested” in obstruction. But in a room with congressional leaders he sounded ready to do a deal with them, and even provide political cover for those who agreed
.. He also complains openly about other aides, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the White House chief of staff, John Kelly. But he then promptly backs away and praises them, as if he had never whacked the hornet’s nest in the first place. When he wants someone to leave, he is more likely to drop hints he wants them to depart on their own, or have someone else send them overboard, than to fire them himself.

.. “Donald Trump enjoys controversy and to a degree thrives on it,” says Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a presidential friend. “Controversy helps ratings, taking a page from his very successful showbiz career.”

But, he adds: “He often stakes out very extreme positions. He does this partly for rhetorical effort or to stake out a negotiating position. It’s worked for him in business so he’s applying it to politics.”

.. The problem is that the president’s allies and enemies alike, at home and abroad, have a hard time figuring out where bluster ends and reality begins.

.. Jason Miller, who was communications director for the Trump presidential campaign and remains in touch with the White House, suggests viewing the president’s approach as a “one-two negotiating tactic…Tweets are a one-way written message delivery vehicle to lay down markers, while in-person meetings are an opportunity to show progress and cooperation that get us one step closer to the desired outcome.”

Mr. Miller advises members of Congress that “the president is only going to bring up issues he genuinely wants to find consensus on…There’s always room for compromise after policy markers are laid out.”

 

 

 

The World Bank Is Remaking Itself as a Creature of Wall Street

Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank’s president, is
trying to revitalize a hidebound institution.
But his embrace of Wall Street is controversial.

.. provides cash to companies in exchange for equity stakes, the World Bank currently drums up more than $7 billion a year from the private sector to invest in ventures in the developing world. Mr. Kim wants that figure to increase eventually to $30 billion.
.. The World Bank promised to protect investors against some losses.
.. those benefiting from the World Bank’s lending practices were “the people who fly in on a first-class ticket to give advice to governments.”
.. The argument was that growing investment flows into developing countries rendered World Bank lending mostly superfluous.

.. Last year, the World Bank dispensed $61 billion in loans and investments. By contrast, investors now inject more than $1 trillion a year into emerging markets

.. In effect, he was pitching the bank’s services as a middleman, ready to back projects with guarantees and other incentives. No longer could the World Bank be the sole provider of loans, which, he said, are “crowding out” the private sector.

.. the World Bank economists whose pay is tied to how many loans they churn out

.. “One of the most difficult things to do in a large bureaucracy is to change incentives,

.. “And if you have a large bureaucracy full of economists it is especially hard, because it turns out that economists really hate it when you change the incentives.”

.. On Wednesday, the bank’s top economist, Paul Romer, abruptly resigned.

.. His end came after he claimed, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, that the World Bank’s closely-watched report on business conditions in different countries had been altered for political reasons.

.. the bank tends to see private sector solutions — those involving the profit motive — as morally questionable.

.. World Bank staffers are used to talking to governments, and now they have to leverage the private sector? It is a different skill set, and flexibility is not the hallmark of development institutions.”

.. “He had to work against his own incentives,” Mr. Kim said, referring to the bank’s practice of rewarding staff for loans. “And that is part of the institutional problem here.”

.. “He has pursued a strategy of making himself popular in Davos by attacking the organization and its staff,” said Lant Pritchett, a retired World Bank executive. “It is this idea that his hand has been hampered by bureaucratic machinations. That may be accepted in Davos — but it’s completely false.”

.. His biggest coup was working with Ivanka Trump

.. They eventually settled in Muscatine, Iowa, where Mr. Kim was a high school quarterback before going on to Brown and securing advanced medical and anthropology degrees from Harvard.

Trump Arrived in Davos as a Party Wrecker. He Leaves Praised as a Pragmatist.

But a rough consensus emerged over Mr. Trump’s two-day visit that his administration had shown itself to be more pragmatic than advertised. Many were inclined to view the president’s most extreme positions as just aggressive bargaining postures.

.. “There’s a very constructive mind-set in the Trump administration to find the best path forward,” said Vas Narasimhan, global chief of drug development for Novartis

.. He left the impression that he was above all eager to woo foreign investment, as if he were leading some amped-up American Chamber of Commerce.

.. Economists note that the American economy is into its ninth year of expansion, a trend that speaks to how the aftermath from the 2008 financial crisis has finally run its course.

.. And he gained the unbridled endorsement from the man who heads the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, whose eagerness to flatter his interlocutors is legendary.

.. Whatever the optics of the head of an institution dedicated to reducing economic inequality offering his unqualified support for Mr. Trump’s tax cuts, Mr. Schwab was indeed speaking for business.