Killing Free Trade Will Rob the World of a Highly Effective Deterrent to War

“History shows that trade agreements are rarely about economics alone. They are a tool of diplomacy—a way to shore up old alliances and forge new ones. And now, perhaps, a way to avoid World War III,” Dan Kopf writes for Quartz.

“Like GATT, the EU, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the now-derailed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) were all efforts at economic diplomacy. At the heart of the EU project was the idea that Europe would become a ‘common market‘ that was so economically dependent it would be immune to war between members. NAFTA’s allure for the US was that it might stabilize Mexico as a friendly, capitalist democracy. The TPP was supported by then-president Barack Obama largely as a way to check the rising power of China.”

“There is strong evidence that free trade keeps the peace. Stanford economists Matthew O. Jackson and Stephen Nei examined why international conflict fell precipitously from the period 1820-1949 to 1950-2000, and concluded that international trade was likely a major contributor.”

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