WASHINGTON — A book which Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland shared with her U.S. and Mexican colleagues during the last round of NAFTA negotiations, offers a dark message about globalization’s collapse, the rise of nationalism and humanity tumbling into an abyss of death and destruction.
She brought three books to an informal book club with peers Robert Lighthizer and Ildefonso Guajardo. Two tell a positive tale of human advancement. The third serves up a bleak historical lesson about the big anti-globalization backlash of the last century.
It’s no accident she chose to share “The War That Ended Peace,” Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan’s look at the factors that led to the first of two world wars. Freeland, the book and, in an interview, the book’s author, all cite similarities to today.
Freeland’s third book delved into anti-globalization backlash
Freeland and other Canadian officials have been struck by the book’s haunting tale: how a period of fast-paced globalization, prosperity, disruptive technology and increased trade was brutally upended by nationalism, zero-sum logic, a global terrorism panic and glorified militarism, ushering in the most blood-soaked era in history.
“(It) documents the speed and ferocity with which reaction can set in, even at times when the world feels safely rooted in a progressive and peaceful era,” Freeland said in response to a question about the book.
Foreign Affairs Minister speaking about NAFTA talks:
“As with today, the beginning of the 20th century was marked by unprecedented globalization and growth. The events between the turn of the century and the outbreak of war in 1914 are a useful reminder (of) the fragility of the world order and the pitfalls of protectionism and retreat.”
The book starts with the 1900 Paris world’s fair and the Belle Epoque.
That world was unprecedentedly interconnected by railways and the telegraph. Trade skyrocketed. Germany and England even traded weapons. People lived longer, healthier lives. New international mechanisms were created to settle disputes. Countries signed arbitration agreements, refined international rules of war and even talked about creating global governance bodies.
The book describes a growing belief that war itself was becoming obsolete, quoting one author: “People no (more) believed in the possibility of barbaric relapses … (than) in ghosts and witches’.”
Macmillan’s book on 1900s echoes current turbulent times
But these were also disruptive times.
Economies underwent radical transformations and workers left farms for new manufacturing jobs in the cities.
Terrorism was rampant. Anarchists had killed, bombed, stabbed and shot a French president, two Spanish prime …
Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel