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'Global Market' May Not Serve Everyone

April 06, 2002

"Viet Lesson: Make Trade, Not War," by Pete Peterson (Commentary, March 31) opens with some rousing rhetoric about free nations requiring individual rights, democratic principles and a "robust free market economy." It doesn't take long to realize, however, that the third member of this holy trinity is the only one that Peterson cares to speak further on.

Nor was I surprised to find that the focus of the article soon degenerated from saving the people of Vietnam and Afghanistan to saving American business. But, of course, complete integration into the global market just happens to help out everyone in those countries too.

Peterson proves this logic beyond any doubt when he explains why Vietnam's economy is so safe and promising now: "Because Vietnam was not completely integrated into the global market, it did not greatly suffer the effects of the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s." Perhaps, just perhaps, this contradiction suggests that unflinching, unreflective free trade is not always the best policy for all concerned.

Bryan Collinsworth

Claremont

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