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Spare Us the Nationalist Defense of American Sovereignty
It is past time to challenge conservative nationalists on their fearmongering about alleged threats to American sovereignty. A case in point is Wednesday’s Washington Post column by Marc A. Thiessen (“The French President and the Alt-Right Both Get Nationalism Wrong”). The column is robustly argued and deeply misleading. Thiessen depicts U.S. liberals, cartoonishly, as indifferent to national sovereignty. He ignores the actual costs to the nation of Donald J. Trump’s “America First” policies. And he sidesteps the president’s embrace of the very blood-and-soil nationalism that Thiessen himself criticizes. The objects of Thiessen’s scorn are “globalists” like French President Emmanuel Macron and his “liberal” fellow travelers in the United States. He castigates progressive Americans, whom he says are all too willing to subordinate popular democracy to the whims of “unelected bureaucrats presiding over unaccountable institutions.” By contrast, Thiessen lauds conservative nationalists, “who refuse to cede American sovereignty to supranational institutions.” The implication is clear: Without conservatives manning the parapet, liberals would be tearing down the walls of U.S. national sovereignty.
STEWART M. PATRICK
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