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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Decrying globalism doesn't rule out foreign money or intrigues

Nobody is immune to ism's.

Given the Trump power circle's exaltation of what it calls nationalism, and rejection of what it calls globalism, it seems striking that investment banker Gary Cohn lasted more than a year as the president's top economic adviser.

"Look. I am a globalist," Cohn told CNBC in May 2018 after resigning. "I believe that we are very good at doing certain things in the United States. Other countries are very good at doing different things. We should buy from them what they are good at, we should sell to them what we are good at."

Calling someone a globalist can serve up a potent slur, however. The term evokes images of a remote international elite deciding policy regardless of the interests of democratically-run nations. That's the nub of Brexit's appeal against the European Union.

For the U.S., tariffs have become the globalist-nationalist battleground. So it makes logical sense that Republican strategists recently told Axios' Jonathan Swan they'd go after Democratic candidate Joseph Biden by painting him as a "globalist."

“Expect them to begin asking questions like: What specifically will Biden do with China? Will he lift President Trump’s tariffs?" Swan said. "How does Biden defend his past advocacy for NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership?”

Labor unionists and populists left and right would like to hear those answers too.

Fortunately for President Donald Trump, his associates, and members of his immediate family, decrying globalism does not preclude accepting or grasping for overseas money.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn got Turkish money to influence his country's foreign policy back when he was between gigs. Trump's organization tried to reach a Moscow hotel deal while he ran for president. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has disclosed interests in Russian and Chinese trade. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao's kin run an American shipping company with links to China's ruling elite.

Whether it conflicts with economic nationalism or not, Trump's pricey hotel in Washington hosts foreign visitors with explicit interests in White House policies. A wealthy Iraqi sheikh pushing a more militant U.S. policy on Iran spent 26 days there last year, The Washington Post reports.

There also is now a de facto open-borders policy for elections.

The U.K.'s pro-Brexit politician Nigel Farage campaigned for Trump in 2016, and the president suggested he be tapped for negotiations with the E.U. Oddly, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani announced but then canceled a trip to Ukraine to convince its president-elect in Kiev to push investigations of Biden and his international businessman son. 

Russian officials leaked hacked Democratic Party documents in 2016 to Australian "transparency" activist Julian Assange, who was then held in an Ecuadoran embassy. And former Suffolk company Cambridge Analytica helped mine and distribute data for African and British campaigns as well as those of Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz.

These multinational exchanges in business and politics are all the rage — and not just for those who call themselves globalists.

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