The 3rd post on the Journal of American Greatness originally published in February, 2016.
For the country’s first 200 years, U.S. policymakers regularly employed economic means to achieve strategic interests. But somewhere along the way, the United States began to tell itself a different story about geoeconomics. Around the time of the Vietnam War, and on through the later stages of the Cold War, policymakers began to see economics as a realm with an authority and logic all its own, no longer subjugated to state power….International economic policymaking emerged as the near-exclusive province of economists and like-minded policymakers….
At the very time that economic statecraft has become a lost art in the United States, U.S. adversaries are embracing it. China, Russia, and other countries now routinely look to geoeconomics as a means of first resort, often to undermine U.S. power and influence….
In a rare point of agreement between them, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson shared a basic enthusiasm for economic tools of foreign policy. Hamilton, the father of American capitalism, stressed the value of commerce as a weapon, a proposition that few trade policy-makers would agree with today….