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Monday, 23 February 2015

Has financial globalization changed the context for US international policy?

Alexandra Zeitz (Global Economic Governance Programme, University of Oxford)

That financial globalization presents constraints as well as opportunities has been frequently
demonstrated with regard to smaller states. Consider, for example, Greece’s current predicament. But what about consequences of financial integration for the most powerful state in the international system, the United States? On Thursday, February 12, Caroline Atkinson, Deputy Assistant to President Obama and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, presented the view from United States of the globalized financial system. The lecture was dedicated to the memory of former PEFM Director Max Watson, a long-time colleague of Atkinson’s during their time at the IMF, who sadly passed away in December 2014.

What does financial globalization mean for US foreign policy? It means, in large part, that US policy has itself become global. Or, in former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s words, that the US can no longer be ‘an oasis of prosperity’. Drawing on her lengthy previous experience at the IMF, Atkinson offered many historical examples to illustrate the effect of close international financial links on American policy.