Debate Over Benefits Of Globalization Continues As US Public Sours On Nation’s Role In Global Affairs

American public remains divided over the role of the US in the world, according to a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and the Council on Foreign Relations.

For the first time in its 40-year history, the poll found majority believe the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago. The percentage who hold that view has grown from 20 percent in 2004 to 53 percent today.

And how people see the US viewed nationally is even bleaker ass second term (71 percent in May 2008).

Writing on CNN‘s website, Bruce Stokes of Pew says America is divided along partisan lines where foreign policy is concerned.

“And this partisan view of an America in decline reflects an even harsher partisan assessment of President Obama’s handling of U.S. foreign policy. Roughly eight-in-ten of Republicans and 93 percent of Tea Party adherents disapprove of Obama’s handling of the nation’s foreign policy. Only 24 percent of Democrats disapprove.

Such ideological differences inhibit bipartisanship on a range of international challenges. In the Pew Research survey, the difference in GOP and Democratic approval of Obama’s handling of these issues averages 41 percentage points,” he writes.

Obama Approval Slipping
The poll also surveyed questions specific to members of the Council and found an increasing level of dissatisfaction with President Obama’s handling of foreign affairs.

“The CFR members, who were enthusiastic about Barack Obama’s presidency four years ago, offer some significant criticism today. More than four-in-ten (44%) say Obama’s handling of foreign policy is worse than they expected, while just 16% say it is better than expected; 40% say it met their expectations. A particular area of disappointment stands out among the CFR members: that Obama’s handling of the situation with Syria weakened America’s reputation around the world.”

Obama Administration Gearing Up To Promote International Trade
Ignored for much of his first term, President Obama is expected to ramp up efforts to generate support for pending trade agreements in the new year. However, his greatest challenge may be in convincing members of his own party of trade’s benefit.

“It is likely to be a controversial battle, forcing Obama to stump for policies that some of his strongest political allies — particularly organized labor and environmental groups — are likely to oppose. It is a debate set against the backdrop of 7 percent unemployment and concern about the loss of U.S. jobs that coincided with the rise of manufacturing power in countries such as China,” notes the Washington Post.

Does Globalization Isolate Struggling Cities?
There are a number of cities in the US, such as Detroit, that have struggled to regain its footing as the economy moves from one reliant less on manufacturing and more on technology. Their situation has been exacerbated to some extent by globalization and the ability of neighboring states and cities to form alliances with cities across the globe, rather than with poorer US municipalities, an article in Governing magazine contends.

“In the age of globalization, cities and states would rather build bridges to the world than to the town next door. Some of this is simply the way the economy works. As Richard Longworth, senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, wrote in his book Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism, “Chicago probably deals more, daily, with Frankfurt or Tokyo than it does with Indianapolis.”

However, globalization also offers potential opportunities for growth.

“One obvious challenge for smaller areas is that they are cut off from global flows and economic opportunities. Building stronger links to their neighbors that are connected is critical. That’s their potential on-ramp to globalization.”

[It is notable, however, that Detroit’s problems were partly created by its failure to form close ties with its Canadian neighbors.]

Globalization Has Increased Access To Food In Many Nations
While globalization has been blamed for worsening the economic situation of some cities, it also is credited with strengthening the hands of those battling hunger, according to a new study.

Research analysts at Finland’s Aalto University found that food availability in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, China, and Southeast Asia increased substantially in the last few decades as science has developed new ways to produce sustainable food and “globalization has caused food production deficits to be increasingly balanced through food imports,” reports Science 2.0.

“The proportion of people living in countries that are significant net importers of food has more than tripled during the period under examination. The countries of North Africa and the Middle East, for instance, have become increasingly dependent on imported food. In these countries, food availability has increased from low to a very high level, even though domestic food production has remained inadequate.”


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