February 3, 2013

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: National Greatness Democrats In Silicon Valley.

Google’s Eric Schmidt has a new book coming out (co-authored by former State Department whiz-kid Jared Cohen), and it looks like it will be quite provocative. . . .

Others have pointed out how over time, Silicon Valley has rediscovered the state. Companies that once tried to fly below the radar are now much more aware of the importance of government policy for their industry. This runs very much counter to the popular idea that in the modern world, multinational corporations will lose a sense of connection to their ‘home country’. Google, for one, seems to be getting more patriotic lately.

This has implications for the politics of American defense policy, and foreign policy generally. Silicon Valley is a major donor to Democrats, and it seems to be moving toward an understanding of the importance of a strong and outward looking America. Historically, cutting edge corporations have supported the rise of American power partly as a way of assuring that U.S. foreign policy and power would support their corporate agendas and help them get fair treatment in a world where foreign corporations enjoyed clear backing from their governments. It’s beginning to look as if Silicon Valley is heading down this well-trodden trail. This suggests a revival of a strong national defense and national greatness lobby in the Democratic Party, especially if we reflect on the degree to which defense spending in the future is likely to intersect with the kinds of products Silicon Valley makes.

Interesting times ahead.

Indeed.