John Gray has reviewed George Monbiot’s latest tome and mortified me somewhat by making many observations I agree with:

"Democracy is not a universal panacea. When democracy replaces dictatorship in ethnically and religiously divided countries, the result may be fragmentation of the state. In the Balkans, that meant ethnic cleansing. Far from resolving conflicts, democracy sometimes magnifies them… transnational institutions are not world government in embryo. They are devices through which sovereign states act to protect their interests."

Gray is entirely correct in pointing to many of the weaknesses of anti-globalist arguments; for example, the idea that capitalism is a principal cause of environmental destruction runs counter to the fact that pollution was nowhere worse than in the Soviet Union. Fortunately, there are many other observations that I am inclined to violently disagree with. For example, Gray (rather gleefully) heralds the end of the neo-liberal era and the inauguration of a neo-conservative age of blood and iron. There is much to this; US foreign policy has undeniably moved towards a interventionist model and away from the multilateral model it constructed at the end of the Second World War, while its economic policy of high defecits, tariffs and a weak dollar reject many of the free market policies the US had previously promulgated. However, Gray ignores the obvious question of how the US is to finance this age of blood and iron; would not said defecits represent something of a difficulty in that regard? Equally, I am more inclined to agree with Niall Ferguson that the US is culturally unwilling to accept any imperialist policy than I am with Gray. Above all, his argument that the anti-globalist movement is a symptom of the changes he identifies ignores the fact that the anti-globalist began as a reaction to the Clinton administration.

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