The global economy is in its first depression since the Great Depression and WWII.
The deepening recession and spreading financial crisis is the beginning of the unwinding of about three decades of financial leverage and spending excesses. The process will probably take many years to complete as U.S. consumers mount a decade-long saving spree, the world's financial institutions delever, commodity prices remain weak, government regulation intensifies and protectionism threatens, if not dominates. Sluggish economic growth and deflation are the likely results. (A. Gary Shilling's INSIGHT - March 2009)
Not if they heat up a larger war
Also, one person's protectionism can be another's fairness and sanity. Think environmentalism, health, worker safety, and the like. Regardless, coercion is never the answer.
Most Americans (53%) now think the United States is at least somewhat likely to
enter a 1930's-like depression within the next few years. - Rasmussen Reports (March 11, 2009)