New World BaseballnFor all the subtle grace that distinguishesnJapanese civilization, the esoteric gabblenof Western diplomacy seems tonelude its leaders. Every few months,nsome titan of Tokyo pronounces hisnlow opinion of America and Americans,nunveiling his view that our schools arendreadful, our racial minorities backward,nour politicians crooks, or our workersnlazy.nWhere they get such ideas I can’tnimagine, but unlike Americans themselves,nthe Japanese appear incapablenof being trained to shut up about them.nYankees have long since learned thatnto.utter such insights is to commit politicalnand professional suicide. No smallnamount of the resentment Americansnexpress at such attitudes may arise fromntheir realization that our society is by nonmeans as “open” as its high priests likento boast. Only madmen and barbariansnmay speak the truth and get outnalive.nLast winter Japanese Prime MinisternKiichi Miyazawa, who entered office professingnhis admiration for the UnitednStates, loosed his lips on the floor ofnthe Japanese Diet to the effect that hensuspected Americans “may lack a worknethic,” and from the wrath his remarksninspired, you would have thought he hadnordained a second attack on Pearl Harbor.nPresident Bush had some sharpnrejoinders to the crack in his State of thenUnion Address, and in Detroit the UnitednAuto Workers responded by settingnup a Japanese car in their offices andnencouraging visitors to pulverize it withnsledgehammers.nBut not all Americans were displeasednwith the Japanese. A few days after Mr.nMiyazawa’s musings, the city of Seattlenrevealed that its leaders were promotingnan agreement with the Japanese chairmannof Nintendo to buy the local baseballnteam. Seattle’s mayor, the governor ofnWashington, and Senator Slade Gortonnall joined to induce the baseball commissionernto let the deal go down.nThe people of Seattle themselvesnseemed to be enchanted with the ideanand openly resentful of the attempt bynthe rest of America to think harshly of ourn8/CHRONICLESnPrincipalities & Powersnby Samuel Francisnfriends across the sea. The New YorknTimes quoted Seattle longshoreman RonnThomberry that “I’m personally not thatnhappy with what they’ve been sayingnabout our workers in Japan, but I donknow that if America were to have somensort of protectionism against them, itnwould kill us.”nMr. Thornberry’s sentiments makensense from the point of view of his ownnand his region’s economic interests. Thenarea around Seattle is heavily dependentnon trade with Asia, Asians are thenfastest growing minority in the state,nand for the last decade state officialsnhave eagerly courted Japanese investment.nNevertheless, the longshoreman’snresponse illustrates what is wrong withnfree trade and, with all due respect to ournself-appointed critics in Tokyo, withnAmericans who become addicted to it.nFree trade is not so much an economicnpolicy as it is a political ideology. AsnWilliam Hawkins has argued in a numbernof articles over the last decade, thenfree trade ideology was an integral partnof 19th-century liberalism and its explicitnrejection of the idea of the nation, thenstate, society, and the group. In thenhappy, world of classical liberal ideology,nwrites Mr. Hawkins,nEconomics was to be separatednfrom politics, wealth from power.n. . . Liberals viewed people as equalnindividuals, not as mernbers of particularnnational states. Civil society’snonly valid activity was the protectionnof individual rights; thennation-state had no independentnstatus or mystical nature to whichnindividuals owed any allegiance ornduty that entailed any sacrifice ofnnarrow self-interest. There wouldnbe no national interests, indeed noninternational relations—only “citizensnof the world” going about theirnprivate affairs.nIt follows from the ideology of freentrade that there is no “national interest”nin economics; there are only the interestsnof individuals. Hence, there is no way fornthe government to identify an economicnpolicy that will reflect its national interestsnand no reason why it should do so,nand when, in the give and take of com­nnnmerce, another nation begins to devournparts of your own country to the pointnthat the residents of those parts come tonprefer the other country, there is nothingnanyone can or should do about it.nThe logical—and today, the actual—nresult of free trade carried out as an ideologynis the economic and eventuallynthe political dismemberment of thennation that practices it.n.Proponents of unlimited free tradenwith Japan try to counter this argumentnby claiming that Japanese investment innthe United States is really much lowernthan what its opponents claim. Theynpoint out that Great Britain is the singlenlargest foreign owner of American assetsn($98.9 billion as opposed to Japan’s $84.8nbillion) and that the total domestic netnworth of foreign ownership in this countrynis merely 5 percent of Gross DomesticnProduct.nUnhappily, they miss the point, whichnis that European states are not aggressivelynpursuing the acquisition of assetsnin the United States. Japan is. Asneconomist Douglas P. Woodward writes,n”Japanese companies have advancednmore rapidly than any other source, withnan annual growth rate (42 percent) farnexceeding all major investor nations duringnthe 1980s. In 1980, Japan held thenseventh largest position. By the decade’snclose it had vaulted to second place, withn$69.7 billion of U.S. holdings—17 percentnof the total. The gross product ofnJapanese-affiliated companies in the UnitednStates also grew faster than any othernnation from 1977-1987, but remainednbelow the United Kingdom and Canada.”nThe state of Washington is one partnof the United States where the Japanesenseem to have made real progress, and thendialectic of free trade swings low over thenwhole I^orthwest. As the New York Timesnreported, “Increasingly, the AmericannNorthwest, along with British Columbianand Alberta in Canada, is trying tonmarket itself to the world economy as ansingle economic unit, calling itself Cascadia.”Thenregion includes Alaska, Washington,nOregon, Montana, Idaho, and thentwo Canadian provinces, and it “‘standsnat the very geographical center of the newneconomic order,’ said Paul Schell, a Seattlenport commissioner. Internationalnboundaries, he said, mean very little.”n