U.S. Marine escorting Afghan evacuees at Kabul Airport. Photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The images of American soldiers passing babies over a fence-moat at the Kabul airport in a desperate attempt to help citizens and some of their collaborators flee amidst a sudden collapse of the Afghan government in September 2021 were all too predictable.¹ The United States spent an estimated $2.313 trillion in Afghanistan and lost 2,324 soldiers along with more than 10 times as many local casualties, with little of lasting value to show.² Indeed, the complete and sudden collapse of the local government, suspect because of its utter reliance on foreign support for security and finances, should not have been a surprise to those who have noted the continual machinations of that government, including its preference for making deals with regional warlords rather than building democratic roots. Such was a symptom of a system that was rife with well-publicized corruption from the start.³ The trillions of dollars were siphoned off instead of being invested into projects that would have created popular support throughout the country.

The tragic outcome of two decades wasted on ineffective nation- building goes well beyond Afghanistan. It includes the unnecessary debacle of the invasion of Iraq and the continuing civil war in Libya. In each case, the rush to war reveals that the sources of conflict are often not the result of careful calculations, as most political scientists would posit. Rather, they are irrational, although falling into recognizable patterns.⁴ An even greater tragedy would be to draw a lesson of isolationism from such incredible miscalculations.

The dubious origins of Western intervention

Let’s consider the roots of the incursions. The first intervention was Afghanistan, which President George W. Bush announced on September 20, 2001.⁵ The mood in the United States was one of bloodthirsty revenge, understandable in the wake of the 9/11 downing of the World Trade Center and attack on the Pentagon. These incidents were unprecedented in American history and far beyond the magnitude of the attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor at the outset of World War II. Bush’s rhetoric created a Manichean perspective of good-and-evil, with-us-or-against-us, at one time evoking the Old West “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster in relation to Osama Bin Laden. The presentation contained a general ideology similar to colonialism, manifested in its references to “religious extremism” and backwardness, including repressing women’s rights. In other words, the mission became not just finding Bin Laden and holding him responsible, but bringing civilization to barbarians. Support from the country was overwhelming.

The next intervention was Iraq, in 2003. There was no reason to think Iraq had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden and most of the hijackers were Saudis. Al Qaeda had no known bases in Iraq. The grievances against Iraq were of a different nature, as evoked by President Bush in his March 18, 2003, speech justifying the war, but were cloaked in the ongoing need to avenge 9/11.⁶ Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s dictator, whose more secular approach made him an ally during the Cold War and the Iraq-Iran conflict of the 1980s, remained a thorn in U.S. policymaking elites’ side by surviving the disastrous defeat of his army after the 1990 Kuwait invasion. Saddam was accused of developing “weapons of mass destruction,” but the results of UN weapons inspections were unclear. His obfuscation is hard to understand, though perhaps it served a deterrent purpose in a moment of weakness following his defeat in 1991 and the imposition of sanctions. Regardless, the spectre of a “mushroom cloud” repeatedly evoked by the Bush administration was enough to justify another well-supported rush to war, in the afterburn of 9/11. Even in the wake of flimsy evidence, as famously presented by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations, there was no real media scrutiny and little questioning of the reasons for war at the time. The irrationality spread to the U.K., where Prime Minister Tony Blair declared his ill-fated tribal allegiance to the cause.

The third intervention is a bit more surprising, because it came under the administration of Barack Obama, a president who had campaigned on his moral separation from the Iraq war. Like Saddam, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi had been a fly in the West’s ointment for many decades, from complicity in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing to supporting revolutionary movements around Africa. The rebellion that started in eastern Libya came in the wake of the “Arab Spring” which, beginning in Tunisia and spreading to Egypt and eventually to Syria, sparked Western aspirations for the spontaneous creation of likeminded democracies in a region that supplied most of the world’s oil yet presented the greatest threat in terms of terrorism.

The push to “free Libya” gained momentum with European impetus. While Americans have gained all the attention, French intervention in the name of civilization has taken place more quietly, for example in Chad and Mali, with similarly limited results. In Libya, the price for liberation seemed relatively cheap, as no American soldiers would invade. The allies just needed to provide air cover and supplies to the rebels in Benghazi and the “good guys” would win and create democracy. The result in Libya, as in Syria, has been ongoing civil war. Egypt moved backwards from democracy to a reactionary dictatorship. Only Tunisia, where no major intervention took place, has shown progress towards democracy.

The abysmal failure of human intelligence

The results of emotionally based strategies are foretold disasters, as Gabriel García Marquez might say. There was no clear strategic aim, definition or metric for success. Military victory turned into nation-building, which meant choosing sides in fragmented societies. Choosing sides led to backlash and resistance. There was and remains a stunning lack of regional understanding, what intelligence operators call human intelligence or “humint.” In Iraq, the clear backlash of the Sunnis against Shi’a rule, the interference of Iran, the development of extremism in response to democratic breakdowns, and the sabotage of basic infrastructure to undermine the economy could have been predicted by anyone with a basic understanding of the regional context. The abysmal failure of humint helps to explain the shock of the U.S. military at the rapid collapse of the Afghan client regime, when in fact the army was known to be filled with “ghost soldiers,” existing only in name, and the Taliban had expanded their positions from the countryside into urban areas over the previous decade.

The history of rebellion generally shows that military success is just the starting point. Only political settlement can restore peace and create the conditions for improved governance.⁷ Removing a dictator is like taking the cork out of a bottle of volatile gas: the pent-up frustration from decades of repression is bound to explode. Yet, when Biden pulled out, the military-industrial complex cried that they needed more – more time, more resources – to finish the job, ignoring two decades of abject failure to achieve either military or political victory.

They cite the ongoing military installations in South Korea and Japan and support for Taiwan, as well as the transformation of Germany after World War II, as models for what could be done. Here again, they miss obvious elements of context. U.S. hegemony in the wake of World War II and the defeat of the German and Japanese militaries was total. Though the occupying armies appeared to remake the two countries into well-functioning Western democracies, what really happened was that ethnically homogeneous nations remade themselves in an evolutionary timescale, perhaps with imitation of the victors having some effect as a catalyst.

The democracies that took hold in Germany and Japan are idiosyncratic, reflecting local conditions and historical experiences. After the war, the Christian Democrats held power for 20 years in Germany, while the Liberal Democratic Party has had a virtual stranglehold on power in Japan. In Taiwan and homogeneous South Korea, dictatorships, not democracy, ensued in the wake of the war. Their more recent moves toward democracy therefore have little to do with military occupation.

Equally important are the global and regional contexts of historical nation-building. The global context was one of a common enemy in terms of the fear of the spread of Communism. This was a common external threat, unlike Islamic extremism, which results in good part from internal repression, lack of economic opportunity and ethnic frustration, and is spread across wide swaths of the globe beyond the Middle East. West Germans only had to look at their divided country and the police state constructed in East Germany to know who their allies were. The Marshall Plan and the development of the European Union in return for military alliance worked hand-in-hand as an “alliance dividend” in Europe. In Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, the postwar boom stimulated by industrial policy and American acquiescence to their neomercantilist practices had a similar effect. In constructing a liberal international order and opening its markets, the United States offered its allies in the anti-Communist struggle a very good economic deal in exchange for their cooperation.

Understanding internal-external dynamics

The resulting discourse around lessons of nation-building is dichotomous. The populist explosion under the banner of Trump’s America First agenda⁸ speaks to the breakdown of the Cold War alliance, the erosion of the U.S.’s ability to lead on international economic collective goods as Western economies suffer body blows from China’s highly successful neomercantilist industrial policies, and a wringing of hands at its failed attempts to nation-build. These are countered by provocateurs who would have us return to a neocolonialist approach to ensuring order,9 and neocons who urge ever higher military budgets and continuing occupations to meet the Chinese and terrorist threats. A ratcheting cycle of revenge ensues from such arms races, diverting precious resources from addressing the root causes of the unhappiness. In Afghanistan and elsewhere, only the military effort was ever given adequate resources or attention.

In fact, there is no way the West can retreat from the world. Failing states across the globe, from Somalia to Central America, are not only creating havens for extremism but are also sources of humanitarian and environmental crises of global proportions, from piracy to massive migration. Haiti is the latest example showing that laissez-faire is a completely unattractive option, especially when the alternative to being involved is that the space is occupied by other external powers, such as Russia in Syria, or becomes a haven for terrorism like Somalia. Simply put, the regional context, such as Pakistan’s crucial role in Afghanistan or Iran’s role in Iraq, cannot be ignored; Western power is proportionately far less than it was during colonial times.

The question therefore is: how can we play a more constructive role, build institutions around the world that are stable and accountable, and bring along the necessary prosperity that will dissipate global crises? The starting point is to return to a deeper appreciation and study of local history and dynamics, to build from what exists and deeply set patterns instead of attempting to impose new patterns from scratch. Once political settlement leads to peace, the next step is to nudge local institutions toward locally idiosyncratic democratic and economic evolution on the basis of rule of law, transparency, constitutional rights and orderly democratic transition. Incipient – if somewhat naive – efforts such as the UN’s anticorruption commissions in Central America are a good prototype. The West can offer major financial and trade incentives for such change, but only if it’s patient and empathetic toward local realities. Most importantly, an appreciation for the evolutionary, long-term nature of values change is necessary. Shifting group identities toward a new form of nationalism or democratic values requires generations of work. After all, Western institutions were built over centuries, not decades, and the most recent wave of populist polarization should give us pause to appreciate the ongoing effort required to maintain democracy.

For more from our Inroads 50 Afghanistan feature, click to read Endgame in Afghanistan, by Bob Chodos, and Can Afghanistan’s Neighbours Tame the Taliban, by Sergei Plekhanov.

Continue reading “To Intervene or Not to Intervene: That is Not the Question”

Eric Kaufmann, Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities. New York: Abrams Press, 2019. 624 pages.

In Whiteshift, Eric Kaufmann recognizes the long-term, unavoidable decline in White majorities in the West and begins to pick apart the implications. This is an old-fashioned book, with 600+ pages dissecting topics from a wide variety of angles. While lacking in causal clarity, it is a fascinating compendium that sheds much light on the sources and strains of racial evolution in the West. Kaufmann’s underlying motivation is mentioned but not analyzed in detail: declining birth rates in the West mean that non-European-origin populations will become majorities by midcentury. Many themes are treated, but the principal ones are the links between White decline and the rise of populism in the United States and Europe, immigration and the potential for managing the “shift.”

Sections of the book rely on polls and surveys, others on historical background and simple observations. Kaufmann must have spent many years compiling these strands of evidence, and his assiduousness must be commended. However, multiple strands and methods lead to some incoherence, making it difficult to tie the evidence to his policy and social recommendations which, while plausible, are not well argued.

Populism as a racial backlash

The debate around populism over the last decade has centred around two theories: race and economic decline. In parts of this book, Kaufmann dismisses the economic decline argument. He contends that the populist wave represented by Trump and Brexit, his two main case studies, is linked to White backlash, rather than any economic factors. He provides survey data reflecting consistent anti-immigration attitudes across economic classes, and he declares in the introduction,

No one who has honestly analysed survey data on individuals – the gold standard for public opinion research – can deny that white majority concern over immigration is the main cause of the populist right in the West. This is primarily explained by concern over identity, not economic threat.

Kaufmann admirably traces the discourse around race relations and immigration policies in the West from imperial superiority to a generally bifurcated response of nativism and cosmopolitanism. He includes historically dense national studies of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. He traces the nativist response in the United States back to anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant movements in the second half of the 19th century. Cosmopolitanism in the United States gained ground and legitimacy during the civil rights conflicts of the 1960s and the introduction of academic Critical Race Theory, which pushes cosmopolitanism from tolerance to a proactive embrace of diversity and has roots going back to anti-bourgeois writers at the turn of the 20th century.

Kaufmann describes the deeper roots of contemporary “culture wars” reflected in the evocation of “cancel culture” at the 2020 Republican National Convention as well as the more inflammatory threat stories, such as the “war on Christmas” and radical right conspiracy theories on Fox News and its internet-based soulmates such as Breitbart. It’s impossible to deny the role of Steve Bannon and race-baiting in Trump’s approach, including his infamous tolerance of the White supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. However, the cultural war is not simply partisan, as Kaufmann points out. It is part of a wider debate in society that has been building for many decades, as seen in debates around whether controversial speakers should be given a platform at universities, and how to deal with cultures whose practices, such the wearing of a burqa, go against Western concepts of basic rights.

The racial content of the Brexit vote is less clear. Kaufmann points out that the pro-Brexit UK Independence Party, under the diection of Nigel Farage, determinedly avoided racial depictions of the immigration issue. However, racial themes are more manifest elsewhere in the European Union, from the Front National in France and the rise of the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany to the more overtly discriminatory policies of eastern European leaders, most prominently Viktor Orbán in Hungary, who shut the border to Syrian migrants and offers bonuses for native Hungarians willing to give birth to more children. These events show that racial tensions in the West go well beyond the delusional fantasies of Anders Breivik (who shot 75 young supporters of the social democratic party in Norway in 2011) or those who subscribe to the dystopian Islamophobia of Jean Raspail’s famous 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints.

Undoubtedly the Syrian refugee crisis, which peaked in 2015, the terror attacks across the EU from 2004 (the year of the Madrid train bombing) and illegal immigration from the Middle East and North Africa have affected European sensibilities. The same is true, to a lesser extent, going back decades in the United States. Trump’s 2015 campaign initiation speech depicted illegal Mexican immigrants as “drug dealers, criminals and rapists.” Kaufmann (questionably) asserts that the Brexit vote was not based on wage competition arising from immigrating eastern Europeans but on increased non-European immigration.

Historical perspective is important. As Kaufmann points out, the United States, Canada and Australia are all immigrant nations, and thus immigration has very positive connotations in all three countries – as reflected in the Statue of Liberty, a welcoming beacon for “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Kaufmann corrects the current cosmopolitan discourse reflected in Democratic platforms. He notes the west European White majority resistance to waves of mid-19th-century Irish immigration and, later, south and east European immigration at the turn of the 20th century. Kaufmann compares current Australian and U.S. anti-immigration politics to previous history, noting that the challenges of assimilating non-Whites will be much greater than those of assimilating European immigrants. Moreover, present anti-immigration platforms reflect post-1960s surges in migration to the West from non-European countries. The differences in birth rates, generally declining in the West and rising in the South, figure in the nativist discourse.

Furthermore, more fundamentalist groups, from Orthodox Jews to Mormons to those tied to Islamic fundamentalism, tend to have higher birth rates, according to Kaufmann, and are less likely to intermarry. Canada and Australia, privileged by geography, do not have the steady stream of illegal immigration in the U.S. and EU. Canada has formally embraced immigration, despite (or perhaps because of) the struggles between anglophone and francophone Canada. Kaufmann, who grew up in Vancouver, sees Canada as a potential proto-model for the future, though he is less sanguine about Quebec. He does not really unpack the reasons why there is an underlying civic discourse in Canada that makes racist and xenophobic statements unacceptable. One plausible suggestion is that the language split forced Canada into embrace of multiculturalism, in an attempt to transcend this bipolarity.

Melting pot or salad bowl?

Those of us who witnessed the birth of the Canadian Nationalist Party as well as the treatment of Haitian immigrants put in a Montreal stadium for shelter in 2017, know that the cosmopolitan multicultural discourse in Canada is far from being fully embraced. For example, assimilation of immigrant professionals is an ongoing concern. As Kaufmann notes, the rapid rise of real estate prices in Toronto and Vancouver over the last decade led to British Columbia’s imposing a nonnative home purchase tax in Vancouver. Ethnic enclaves, such as Richmond and Surrey in greater Vancouver, reflect more of a mosaic of cultures than a melting pot.

Multiculturalism as promoted by political theorist Will Kymlicka has not been well defined in practice. Does it mean equity of opportunity or, for example, more affirmative action outcomes ensuring proportional representation by ethnicity, gender and sexuality? Does it mean that we should strive for a cultural mélange (“postethnic society”) or see a long-term continuation of ethnic differences as long as everyone plays by the same rules? And who would set the rules? At present, Canadian multiculturalism is a formal “live and let live” approach, tolerating and approving ongoing ethnic differences, while in practice there are subsurface conflicts, such as Quebec’s pushing of a pro-francophone assimilation policy and burqa ban. While Kaufmann focuses on the issues posed by Quebec policies, there is a wider hand-wringing discussion about First Nations culture as well. As Kaufmann notes, such an approach is hard to transfer to any other country, including Australia, where the sense of national identity through shared history and cultural symbolism (“a convict nation”) is much stronger than Canadian equivalents.

Kaufmann largely ignores the power variable in much of his discussion, specifically the fact that racial differences represent stark differences in opportunities, particularly among indigenous and African-origin citizens. He observes that whiteness is a universal historical marker for power across societies, including those in the South, where whitening creams are popular and shades of whiteness continue to matter. He concludes that the White majority in most nations is not prepared at this point to give up their national culture and identity for an ambiguous polyglot definition of nationality. He illustrates this, noting opposition to the removal of statues of Columbus, particularly among Italian Americans. The same debate has arisen in Canada around removal of Macdonald statues. Should his racist notions about “Indians” bear more weight than his contributions to nation-building?

Kaufmann suggests that assimilation of some sort is a more acceptable course to most Whites than legitimizing long-term racial enclaves. The melting pot, he implies, should be based on principles, such as democratic norms and tolerance for free speech. Resistance to religious fundamentalism should be separated from prejudice. This is the rationale for the French interpretation of assimilation. Laïcité républicaine entails immigrant embrace of Western liberalism. For example, religious freedom does not extend to preventing women from having access to education. Kaufmann has an important contribution to make here, though it is underdeveloped. More controversial is his suggestion that immigration policies be based on the likelihood of prospective entrants assimilating to national norms. How could this be implemented? Many refugees are Muslims with conservative moral attitudes, fleeing Muslim-majority countries in crisis. How do we weigh the humanitarian needs of refugees against their potential embrace of Western liberal values?

Overall, Kaufmann suggests four possible responses by Whites to demographic change:

  • fight ethnic change, which he suggests is a losing battle;
  • repress anxieties through antiracism campaigns, which he concludes will not remove prejudice, just bury it;
  • flee to separate neighbourhoods, clubs etc. defined by ethnicity or race;
  • mix with newcomers whatever their attitudes toward liberalism.

In the end, he surmises that both the third and fourth processes will take place. Some Whites will continue to flee to their homogeneous White neighbourhoods (which he demonstrates using geographic data on rural and exurban ethnic composition) while others will mix (which he shows is happening through intermarriage in cosmopolitan neighbourhoods, principally in urban centres). Kaufmann adopts a more conservative approach than many multicultural advocates. He is favourable to immigration, so long as immigrants don’t harm others, which he terms “negative liberty.” He rejects the assertions of Critical Race Theory. This rejection is problematic considering the differences in basic services (such as quality of education) by race, which in turn limits immigrant economic mobility and income. Kaufmann acknowledges that “Whites get used to a minority presence” over time; thus, the rate of change, and not change itself, is more likely to be the issue.

One trend Kaufmann underplays is differences in attitudes by age of cohort. Younger people are far more cosmopolitan and intolerant of racism than older cohorts, as seen in voting trends in the United States and in the Brexit vote. As Kaufmann states, “cultural tradition, not genes, tells us which markers matter and which don’t.” Perhaps with the dying off of the old, a more tolerant society can be built. A mixed-race candidate with an Islamic-sounding name, Barack Hussein Obama, won the presidency with widespread cross-ethnic support, particularly strong among younger cohorts. Kaufmann acknowledges as much in his allusion to declines in religiosity in the West (in contrast to the rapid growth of Christianity and Islam in the South), and increases in intermarriage across ethnic groups. One can add increasing acceptance of racial, gender and sexual equality.

The Democratic Party in the United States represents the cosmopolitan direction, oriented toward the country’s developing majority-minority status. While this orientation is bound to become more pronounced over time, the major stumbling block is geography and the U.S. constitution, especially the composition of the Senate and Electoral College. Hillary Clinton resoundingly won the popular vote while losing the 2016 presidential election, in good part because minorities’ turnout in swing states was down relative to 2012.

To sum up, we are at a transition point. We have yet to construct a new definition, ethos and set of myths that define a Western nation. Nor have we dealt with the fact that rapidly increasing migration from non-Western states is bound to make assimilation challenging. The existence of ethnic ghettos in the United States and Europe is not just a replay of previous waves of immigration. Significant areas of concentration by ethnicity raise questions about exacerbation of both cultural/ethnic and socioeconomic differences and the accompanying backlash against them, rather than the rosy picture painted by multiculturalism. The persistence of widespread illegal labour in the American food sector and the ghetto origins of some recent Islamic European terrorists are examples.1

It’s the economy, stupid

The major weakness of Kaufmann’s treatment is his complete dismissal of economic factors. It is easy to show that economic issues routinely register as the most important in Western voters’ minds absent an immediate crisis; usually, immigration ranks considerably lower. In my 2019 book The Great Disruption: Understanding the Populist Forces Behind Trump, Brexit, and LePen I make the economic argument for populism, putting it in the perspective of larger disruptive forces.

Populism is a global phenomenon, including many actors from Duterte in the Philippines to Bolsonaro in Brazil to Modi in India. It cannot be based solely on race. In addition, I point to the survey shifts Kaufmann acknowledges: in general, Western attitudes have become steadily more cosmopolitan, accelerating in the post–World War II period. The voting blocs for Trump, Brexit and LePen very clearly reflect a map of economic winners and losers. Kaufmann dismisses the increase in White rural suicides in the United States2; I link them to a loss of well-paying jobs in labour-intensive industries from coal mining to manufacturing.

Moreover, he ascribes Brexit solely to White resentment at changing neighbourhoods because of increased non-European immigration. Undoubtedly the challenge to White identity played a role, but he ignores the geographic nature of the Brexit vote. London, the region whose ethnic composition has changed more than anywhere else in the U.K., is prosperous and voted Remain. Northern and rural areas of the U.K. suffer from postindustrial decline, similar to the U.S. midwest and northern France. Here the majority voted Leave.

Kaufmann concludes that education, not income level, predicted the Brexit vote, which allows him to dismiss economic factors in favour of racial identity. To quote him, Leave voters were “willing to sacrifice economic benefits to cut immigration”; yet the Leave campaign was premised in good part on the idea that the U.K. was not getting a fair economic deal from the EU, and post-exit negotiations are stalled on economic terms. Education levels closely correlate with income levels as well as race. It seems strange to completely dismiss the ubiquitous stories of British working-class (with less than high school) resentment against eastern European immigrants. The same voter profile supports Trump and LePen. On this subject, identity vs. economic interests, Kaufmann is inconsistent. Later in the book, he concludes that Brexit marginalized UKIP: “As long as Britain’s economy remains healthy … immigration will be difficult to reduce to 1990s levels.” Given this conclusion, how could he claim that the Brexit vote was based only on non-European immigration?

If we accept some measure of economic causality, then how do we explain the anti-immigrant rhetoric of Trump and Europe’s far right? As previously mentioned, the surges of migration and Islamic terror, mentioned in passing by Kaufmann, help to explain the timing, but the real challenge is the diffuse causal reasons for economic disruption. A politician cannot readily point a finger at automation, whereas pointing a finger at immigrants as a convenient scapegoat is easy. Politicians blame immigrants even though their crime rates are no higher than those of the U.S.-born, and that they tend to assimilate over a few generations, as seen in the case of Hispanic-origin leaders such as Ted Cruz, who is now seen as a White politician. Given demographic decline, what choice does the West have but to accept a managed increase in immigration? The alternative is a declining population and size of economy, as in Japan.

Another factor ignored by Kaufmann is globalization, and in particular the shift in manufacturing to Asia. This has led to increasing inequality of incomes in high-income countries, including the financialization of the economy, as reflected in urban/coastal vs. rural incomes. This inequality, rather than a sudden retrograde increase in racism, underlies the growing backlash against urban elites.

Like racial mixing, globalization seems impossible to reverse in the long run. We are all now global consumers, used to purchasing items at the lowest price, largely ignoring labour and environmental conditions of those who do the manufacturing, as well as their country. Despite Trump’s trade war against China, there has been no effective return of manufacturing to the continental United States, and despite his war against Huawei, China continues to improve its technological competitiveness and potential leadership. Brexit has yielded no plan to restore the U.K. to its previous economic state; if anything, we see movement of companies to the continent. As Kaufmann notes, support for the EU is strong in continental Europe, and growing among younger demographics.

A real break from globalization would be impossible given the complex integration of supply chains and the free flow of global finance, including vast Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and company shares. Thus, populism is properly seen as a retrograde resistance in the face of overwhelming change on several fronts; it cannot be reduced to racial resentment. Moreover, in Kaufmann’s focus on nations, he misses action on the global level. In the end, it’s hard to see how a sensible immigration policy could ignore the “push” factors in the South, yet that’s what the West has done to its own detriment.

Continue reading “White Majorities at a Transition Point”