For two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, globalization functioned as a unifying force in the West. In the absence of a common security threat, the United States and Europe found common ground in a neoliberal agenda calling for the freer movements of capital, goods, services, and peoples across national boundaries. Today, support for that neoliberal agenda has been rapidly weakening across the West. Drawing on a variety of quantitative measures, we show that Western support for globalization has declined, both at the level of national policy and at the level of party politics. We argue that this erosion of domestic support for globalization is closely linked to the rise of populist parties in Europe and the USA. We consider the implications of this shift in the West’s domestic politics for the future of transatlantic cooperation and leadership.
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In the limited space of this article, these arguments can only be modestly and incompletely developed, and the supporting empirical evidence only illustratively specified. However, together the arguments and illustrations provide a basis for reinterpreting how and why transatlantic cooperation has weakened in recent years.
Some have argued that the growth and integration of the world economy during the Cold War helps explain the collapse of the Soviet empire (Books and Wohlforth 2000).
A good example was the British Government’s Strategic Defence Review (1998).
The Manifesto database for the period 1970–2015 includes 455 parties. It includes all OECD polities, including all major US and EU-15 parties (242 in all). MPD codes party platforms by policy issue for individual political parties by election-year. We draw on the coded variables that entail a pro- and an anti-position taken on issues relevant to globalization. This allows us to measure the broad salience of globalisation in a party’s platform and also the level of support for and against globalisation in the party’s platform. For more details on MPD, see Vokens et al. (2012).
The EU-15 refers to the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, (West) Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
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Burgoon, B., Oliver, T. & Trubowitz, P. Globalization, domestic politics, and transatlantic relations. Int Polit 54, 420–433 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41311-017-0040-1
- Transatlantic relations