Daniel W. Drezner

Could the “Buy American” idiocy be good for global trade?

Could the “Buy American” idiocy be good for global trade?

Your humble blogger will be posting on an odd and infrequent schedule over the next few days, as my day job calls me to a conference on the WTO

On the way here, I read two days worth of Financial Times stories and op-eds excoriating the "Buy American" provisions contained in the House and Senate stimulus packages. [But John B. Judis says that those provisions are harmless to world trade, and they will create jobs!!–ed. No. Wrong on both counts.]

I worried that something like this was going to happen back in December, but now that it’s actually happening, I’m cautiously optimistic. The extent of the global blowback, combined with the recognition that an economic recovery will require some serious policy coordination, might just be the slap of cold water to Barack Obama’s belief that trade was going to be a tertiary issue during his administration. And, encouragingly, Obama has started to signal that he’ll take care of it.

Maybe this is me still being an optimist, but I have to hope that this is precisely the scare that both the administration and Congress needed to realize that they can’t just stuff protectionist pork into the stimulus sausage without consequence.

Readers — am I being too optimistic?