National Security and Economic Globalization: Toward Collision or Reconciliation?

20 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2019

See all articles by J. Benton Heath

J. Benton Heath

Temple University Beasley School of Law

Date Written: March 8, 2019


In this contribution to a symposium on "International Trade: Isolationism, Trade Wars, and Trump," I argue that the present challenge to the economic order is both broader and more intractable than the symposium title suggests. Many observers are rightly concerned about the Trump administration's broad invocations of national security, and about rising economic and strategic tensions with China. Without diminishing either of these challenges, I argue that Trump’s actions on trade reflect the increasing entanglement between national security policy and “ordinary” economic regulation — an entanglement that both predates and will outlast his administration, and extends farther than just the United States. This entanglement stems from a dramatic series of shifts in national security policy since the 1990s, such that security measures overlap with trade and investment rules in an ever-widening range of circumstances. Moreover, not all of these new security policies bear the hallmarks of abuse and overreach that characterize the Trump administration. It is unclear whether our international economic institutions have the legal tools, the capacity, or the legitimacy to address this growing body of novel — but not necessarily abusive — national security aims. This short piece introduces these critical claims and potential responses, both of which are developed further in forthcoming work.

Keywords: National security, international economic law, trade, foreign investment, globalization, climate change, migration

Suggested Citation

Heath, J. Benton, National Security and Economic Globalization: Toward Collision or Reconciliation? (March 8, 2019). Fordham International Law Journal, 2019, Available at SSRN:

J. Benton Heath (Contact Author)

Temple University Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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