From spyware wielded by autocrats to expanded surveillance by police states under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic, new technologies are helping authoritarian governments entrench their power and target their critics. They are also amplifying the spread of disinformation. Yet many democracies are also using these same technologies in troubling ways. This WPR report provides a comprehensive look at how these state-of-the-art tools are being harnessed by different governments around the world.
The special protection that investors based in the United States have long enjoyed when they do business abroad seems to be on its way out, and it’s about time. Unlike other private parties, including workers and consumers, foreign investors have access to special arbitration arrangements to protect their businesses in partner countries that sign bilateral investment treaties or preferential trade agreements with the U.S. This mechanism, known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, has attracted increased scrutiny since the U.S. insisted on including an expanded version of it in the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s. Now, both […]
When the United Nations commemorates its 75th anniversary next month, it will be in a somber mood. Well before COVID-19 hit, the Trump administration’s “America First” policies had deprived the world body of its traditional leader, the United States, while rising geopolitical frictions had paralyzed the U.N. Security Council. The coronavirus pandemic has reinforced these dynamics, accentuating U.S. unilateralism and exacerbating an increasingly heated rivalry between the U.S. and China. Much of the U.N.’s productive work has been brought to a standstill. The Security Council dithered for months on a noncontroversial resolution to freeze violent conflict during the pandemic, thanks […]
Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Richard Gowan is filling in for Stewart M. Patrick, who will return next week. What books should admirers of the United Nations and international cooperation dive into this summer? Tomes about international institutions rarely make great beach reads. But with pandemic staycations still keeping the beach out of reach for many of us, they are not as heavy a lift this year as they were in summers past. And with foreign policy pundits sounding the alarm over a “crisis of multilateralism,” it can even be refreshing to dig into books that explain how the organizations involved […]