Since the end of World War II, both sides of the Iron Curtain proclaimed to be internationalist. This tendency only consolidated after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We counselled our students to ‘think globally, and act locally.” The future would be one of increased global trade and cooperation under a framework of international law, with a peace guaranteed by the ‘hyper-powerful’ American military. Nuclear weapons would prevent the outbreak of overt hostilities between major powers.
This belief, while still pervasive, is fading away, but contemporary Western leftists — that is to say, the entire thinking-writing-and-speaking class, has turned its gaze inward, preferring to ‘act globally and think locally.’ This local thinking combined with rash global action has lead to the debacles in countries as far afield as Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and the Ukraine.
The way that ‘act global, think local’ works is that strategists, mostly in America, apply their local thinking about their own societies — usually a pastiche of egalitarian ideology, tinged with sentimentality, without the internal consistency of even a system like Marxism — and then apply it globally, while ignoring it in their immediate area.
So it is that a State Department bureaucrat who sends her child to a private school to protect her from bad influences coming from local Blacks at the public schools, can then support a pro-democracy policy abroad which she subverts at home through her own actions.
Similarly, at the same time as America faces increased economic and political competition from states dominated by a single ethnicity and inegalitarian political structure — like China — the former country doubles down on its ideological commitments to deny reality, pushing a multicultural ideal which no longer makes any decent geopolitical sense.
If you’re administering a global empire, it makes at least some sense to bring in some foreigners to your universities to be trained in global Americanism — so that they can administer the holdings. If there is no global empire anymore, it’s just importing a lot of incompatible people. Given that modern Americanism has come to resemble an ideological commitment to the destruction of the American empire, the political training that happens at American universities seems to do little other than strengthen a fifth column that has become so dominant that it’s hard to find educated people who aren’t, in some way or another, seeking to undermine the American national interest — whatever that means anymore.
The parochial left is losing influence abroad at the same time as it’s gaining in power domestically. While this is good news for foreigners, it’s bad news for the rest of us, as democracy-promotion goes local, having been frustrated everywhere else.