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As European and American leaders plan a meeting on the economic crisis, President Bush is already backing the US away from any kind of international oversight.

Just hours before the joint statement, Mr. Bush, in an appearance with Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Barroso at Camp David, warned that any effort to overhaul the international financial system must “preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism — a commitment to free markets, free enterprise and free trade.”

Meetings will not take place until after the US election. Better yet if they wait until the new president has taken office. Surely the US–in the global economy it encouraged–must accept some oversight from international concerns. The current crisis originated in the US, but has affected investment everywhere.

The fear and distrust of foreign oversight implies a retreat into a closed economy,  meaning less foreign investment, deficit spending becomes more difficult, and imported goods become more expensive. Will we see increased trade tariffs?

As Bushman says, retreat from free trade and globalization is a frightening idea, but to my mind that is where his paranoia will leave us.


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