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Painful Choices by David A. Welch

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Chapter 5

FREE TRADE WITH THE UNITED STATES:TWO FUNERALS AND A WEDDING

INTUITION TELLS US that significant foreign policy changes are more likely to catch us by surprise when they concern “high-politics” issues than when they concern “low-politics” issues. High politics—military security, alliance formation, sovereignty, territoriality, prestige—is a largely competitive realm in which advantages sometimes accrue to states that manage to avoid telegraphing their intentions. In contrast, low politics—trade, investment, the environment, law, culture, health, sports—is a realm in which states occasionally have harmonious interests, and very often have interests that they can realize only cooperatively. In such circumstances, surprise can be counterproductive. ...

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