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The United States appears at times to have a totally schizophrenic attitude toward protectionism. The United States was the country that proposed the establishment of the World Trade Organization as early as the late 1940s, and was also the only industrialized country that refused to ratify this at that time. The United States has consistently argued on the side of multinational free trade in GATT Rounds, and yet maintains many protectionist laws such as those which reserve oil shipments from Alaska to U.S. flag carriers. How can you explain this apparent lack of national consistency on this issue?

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