In a new Op-Ed for Project Syndicate, billionaire activist George Soros laments that 30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall “nationalism has turned out to be much more powerful and disruptive than internationalism.”
Soros openly hopes that “that the nadir was reached in 2016, with the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum and the election of US President Donald Trump” but acknowledges that “the jury is out.”
Soros says he is “committed to the goals pursued by open societies, win or lose.”
A recent report from FreeBeacon shows a vehicle of billionaire activist George Soros has spent roughly $72 million lobbying since Trump was elected in 2016.
“I’m very proud of the enemies I have,” Soros recently said in an interview in his apartment on New York’s Upper East Side.
While steering clear from a formal endorsement, Soros recently also said he finds Elizabeth Warren “the most qualified to be president.”
From “The Rise of Nationalism After the Fall of the Berlin Wall” By George Soros
In the 1980s, I supported dissidents throughout the Soviet empire, and in 1984 I was able to set up a foundation in my native Hungary. It provided financial support to any activity that was not initiated by the one-party state. The idea was that by encouraging non-party activities, people would become aware of the falsehood of the official dogma – and it worked like a charm. With an annual budget of $3 million, the foundation became stronger than the Ministry of Culture.
I became hooked on political philanthropy, and, as the Soviet empire collapsed, I established foundations in one country after another. My annual budget jumped from $3 million to $300 million in just a few years. Those were heady days. Open societies were in the ascendant and international cooperation was the dominant creed.
Thirty years later, the situation is very different. International cooperation has hit serious roadblocks, and nationalism became the dominant creed. So far, nationalism has turned out to be much more powerful and disruptive than internationalism.
This was not an inevitable outcome. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States emerged as the sole surviving superpower, but it failed to live up to the responsibilities that its position conferred. The US was more interested in enjoying the fruits of its Cold War victory. It failed to extend a helping hand to former Soviet bloc countries, which were in dire straits. Thereby, it adhered to the prescriptions of the neoliberal Washington Consensus.
That is when China embarked on its amazing journey of economic growth, enabled by its accession – with US support – to the World Trade Organization and the international financial institutions. Eventually, China replaced the Soviet Union as a potential rival to the US.
The Washington Consensus assumed that financial markets are capable of correcting their own excesses, and if they did not, central banks would take care of failing institutions by merging them into bigger ones. That was a false belief, as the global financial crisis of 2007-08 demonstrated.
The crash of 2008 ended the unquestioned global dominance of the US and greatly boosted the rise of nationalism. It also turned the tide against open societies. The protection they received from the US was always indirect and sometimes insufficient, but its absence left them vulnerable to the threat of nationalism. It took me some time to realize this, but the evidence was incontrovertible. Open societies were forced onto the defensive worldwide.
I should like to think that the nadir was reached in 2016, with the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum and the election of US President Donald Trump, but the jury is out. The outlook for open societies is aggravated by the exceptionally rapid development of artificial intelligence. It can produce instruments of social control that can help repressive regimes but pose a mortal danger for open societies.
This article first appeared on TheConservativeOpinion.com