Will Hutton

Will Hutton, one of Britain's leading commentators on British, European and international politics, writes each week in The Observer.

Recent Articles

America’s Interest in a Global Rule of Law

Will Trump destroy the global order that the U.S. has led?

Pete Souza/White House Photostream
This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . The United States may no longer be the hegemonic world power that it was in 1945, but it remains unambiguously the world’s leader. America’s willingness to lead in multiple forums—the United Nations, climate change conventions, NATO, trade agreements—sets the tone for global rule of law. Yes, America has its blemishes and so does the global system, among them tensions over the unequal gains from globalization and double standards on human rights. But U.S. leadership of the international treaty system, with multilateral rules and shared processes of mutual respect, is still the first and last line of defense against worldwide forces that insist on brute assertion of self-interest justified by appeals to each nation’s special culture. The threat to the globe, and to the United States, is that Donald Trump personifies those self-same menacing forces. His...

Bush's Poodle?

Tony Blair's face says it all. It is etched with ruts and gullies where once there were laughter lines and humane creases. His cheeks have fallen in. The mental, political and emotional traumas of the last six months have left their indelible mark. He is the dedicated multilateral internationalist who has hitched his star to the least multilateral U.S. administration in modern times. He is the pro-European who has triggered the profoundest split in the European Union. He is the third-way progressive whose closest foreign ally despises third-way progressives. He has divided his party and the British liberal left over the lack of legitimacy of war in Iraq, and he shares with George W. Bush all the problems of reconstruction in Iraq but holds negligible leverage. What does Tony Blair know that the rest of us do not? British interests have been damaged. The United Kingdom shares with the United States all the ambiguities of whether we are liberator or invader in Iraq but none of the...

Back by Popular Demand

With mass unemployment again afflicting the world, it's time to rediscover Keynes -- the real Keynes.

I s Keynes staging a comeback? The recent experiment in free market economics whose falsities Keynes exposed has not proved notably successful. As our economies have become more marketized, growth has slowed and unemployment has risen. The search is on for a theory and policy that might produce better results. But if Keynes is being rediscovered, please God let it be the real Keynes--not the bastardized version that betrayed his revolution and allowed the barbarians back. Many self-described Keynesians, as well as his critics, understand only the distorted version of Keynes: the doctrine that governments can spend and borrow their way to full employment. Critics typically concede that this approach worked passably well for a short time in the 1950s, but like a drug, they say, its efficacy diminished until finally it collapsed in inflation and excessive union power. Defenders--"neo-Keynesians"--insist the old verities stand, and some recommend government pump priming almost...

America's Global Hand

The global economy is being recast in America’s image. Do American economic planners really know what’s best for the rest of the world?

Works Discussed In This Essay Global Finance at Risk: The Case for International Regulation , by John Eatwell and Lance Taylor. New Press, 192 pages, $22.95. The Lexus and the Olive Tree , by Thomas Friedman. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 394 pages, $27.50. The Information Age: Economic Society and Culture , by Manual Castells. Blackwell, 1,246 pages, $64.95. For a century, the United States has been a global power, but it is still deeply ambivalent about its relationship with the rest of the world. Its assertive side was most vivid in the rebuilding years after World War II. If the world has benefited from its leadership and engagement, the United States itself has not done badly either. Even so, echoes of Thomas Jefferson's warning against "entangling alliances" still resonate two centuries later. At different times in its history, the United States has declared semi- independence from the rest of the globe, imposing protective tariffs or refusing membership to international...