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U.S. greatest geopolitical risk: Frum

David Frum Speaking at Ag Days
Thought Leader: David Frum
January 29, 2024

Canadian farmers have front-row seats to the world’s biggest geopolitical risk, according to David Frum.

“I think the thing that worries me the most is the threat that lies within the United States,” Frum, a journalist, former White House speechwriter, and conservative intellectual, told farmers at Manitoba Ag Days earlier this month.

“If Americans make the wrong decisions in the next months, the result could be ‘chaos’ within the world order,” he said.

Frum’s concerns spring from the failure of the U.S. political system to rise to its traditional responsibilities in guarding the relatively free and open world system that has prevailed since the Second World War. In the face of rampant Russian belligerence, Chinese attempts at regional intimidation and threats to the existence of Israel, the U.S. has become paralyzed, caught up in left-right partisan fighting.

Frum said this is dangerous in a time in which a 30-year, post-cold war period of great power peace appears to be ending.

The global trading system has been fraying for years, with the death of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership — torn up on day one of Donald Trump’s presidency — heralding an era in which protectionism has become acceptable once more.

While Trump railed against free trade and globalization, Frum noted that U.S. President Joe Biden has done nothing to advance world trade. There is no trade agenda in the Biden White House, said Frum, who worked for George W. Bush in the 2000s.

That compounds the problems with world peace, Frum said, because trade and peace are tied.

“As trade shrinks, conflict arises. As conflict arises, trade shrinks,” he said.

Frum’s insights have been shared over the years with farmers, with him speaking at Canola Council of Canada and CropConnect meetings. Frum is the son of revered Canadian broadcast journalist Barbara Frum.

He seems at ease at farm shows, and at Ag Days he walked amongst the giant machinery and cutting-edge technologies before his speech.

“I think that the people you feed do not understand that this is an information industry … that serves a planetary market,” said Frum.

“You are the most integrated, most globalized, most knowledge-based industry, probably, that there is anywhere in the world.”

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