Something about the events of the past few days suggests there’s a word we’ll be hearing a whole lot more in coming months, if not years: nationalism.

Jeremi Suri, a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, says the period between World War II and September 11 was a period of globalism.

“We saw an effort by the major powers in the world to integrate smaller countries and integrate their own countries,” he says. “The argument on the liberal capitalist side was that a world of free trade, a world of capitalism and a world of democracy would be a world that would be more peaceful and more prosperous.”

Suri says people would see their lives improve. “Even if they didn’t always get their way, there was the recognition that a more global world would mean less local control… but the argument went, people would feel their lives were getting better and if their lives were getting better, they would live together peacefully.”

Communists made the same argument, Suri says, but with a different kind of system.

“So we had two globalizing systems and the Cold War was a rivalry between these two systems,” he says. “One collapsed and one succeeded.”

The “extraordinary” successes of global, liberal capitalism have been an increase in living standards and five decades without wars between the great powers, Suri says. After September 11, Suri says Colombia’s vote against a peace deal, the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump all point to a change in direction, away from globalism.

“You can see the outgrowth of about a decade now of building anger, building resentment, building desire to get out of this global system,” Suri says. “A desire expressed not by a majority necessarily but by a very active group in multiple societies that believes this globalizing system is not serving their interests.”

Post by Hannah McBride.

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