Protectionism Watch

The NY Times takes a look around and doesn’t like what it sees. The reflexive reaction of protectionism is so obvious, and the globalized arguments against it so counterintuitive, that it’s hard to see where the kill switch is on this one. Part of this has to do with a failure to educate domestic opinion regarding globalization’s advantages during the boom times. But part of it has to do with a tendency among elites to minimize globalization’s very real downsides for a broad cross section of consitutencies. That had a lot to do with what I increasingly think of as […]

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — The first leftist president-elect in El Salvador since the end of the 1980-1992 civil war says he will not nationalize major industries, as leftist leaders have done in Venezuela and Bolivia, but instead will guarantee property rights and seek support of business leaders. Mauricio Funes, a former CNN en Español correspondent, beat former police chief Rodrigo Avila by 2.6 percent in the March 15 election. He immediately sent signals that he’ll seek to maintain tight relations with Washington and Brazil. Critics fear Funes’ FMLN party, which was founded by Marxist guerrillas on the heels of […]

Public Diplomacy: Airport Edition

This is anecdotal, but over the weekend, two friends with years’ worth of experience traveling to the United States mentioned that after the notable unpleasantness that characterized arriving in American airports during the Bush administration, the atmosphere had mellowed considerably on their most recent — i.e., post-Jan. 20 — trips. Both described not only a relaxation of the aggressive posture that for the past eight years bordered on hostility to those visiting the States, but also a welcoming attitude that they’d remembered from previous years. I don’t know if this is the result of my friends’ luck of the draw, […]

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has responded to critics of his decision to return France fully to NATO by downplaying the significance of the plan. But there is probably far more to the move than he is letting on. Sarkozy has argued that France’s full “reintegration” into the military command structure of the 26-member alliance, after an absence of more than 40 years, is little more than a formality, especially considering that France already works closely with NATO on many levels. If in practical terms full French membership in NATO will have only a slight impact on the alliance in the […]

CONGOLESE COURT’S MAI MAI CONVICTION DRAWS APPLAUSE — A Congolese military court found Mai Mai commander Gedeon Kyunga Mutanga and 20 of his men guilty of charges that included crimes against humanity on March 5. The landmark conviction has drawn applause from the rights community as a significant step towards bringing accountability to the war-ravaged country. The court also found the Congolese government liable for failing to disarm the Mai Mai and awarded financial compensation to dozens of victims, setting an important precedent for the scope of responsibility in human rights cases. “This trial has shown the important role that […]

WPR on France 24

World PoliticsReview managing editor, Judah Grunstein, appeared on France 24’s French-language paneldiscussion program, Le Débat, to discuss France’s reintegration of the NATO integrated military command, alongside Paul Quilès (former minister of defense under François Mitterand), Guillaume de Rougé and Jean-Louis Dufour. Part one can be seen here. Part two can be seen here.

Afghanistan as NATO-Europe Faultline

Spencer Ackerman introduces us to the new SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe, otherwise known as NATO’s military commander), Adm. James Stavridis. It’s the first time a Naval officer has held the post. Note that the alliance, along with the rest of the world, is currently engaged in anti-piracy patrols off of Somalia. That also corresponds to a shift in strategic focus among Western general staffs towards the Indian Ocean and Asia as the most likely threat horizon, with an emphasis on naval rivalries. This is admittedly tea-leaf reading, but I wonder if this doesn’t represent Washington’s desire to reassert the […]

Where’s West, Part II

Here’s what Mark Thoma has to say about where West is (via Andrew Sullivan): The key, then, is to have good jobs waiting for workers when they aredisplaced due to inevitable (and desirable) technological change or tojobs moving overseas, jobs that are every bit as good or better thanthe jobs they left. That is where we are falling short. The new jobs weare creating are not as good as the jobs we are losing, when workersare forced to find new jobs they don’t tend to do as well as they didin their previous job, and that is the source some […]

EU & NATO: The Great Unwind

Nikolas Gvosdev echoes a lot of what I’ve been writing and thinking about NATO and the EU in recent weeks: NATO expanded at a time when Russia seemed prostrate and Article 5commitments could be extended without much thought — then came theRussia-Georgia war. Plus NATO’s continued unraveling over Afghanistandoesn’t inspire much confidence. Twenty years ago, NATO as asmaller group was much more formidable — and the EU was born atMaastricht with a smaller number of states whose economies were muchmore aligned. Are either stronger today as a result of expansion? I’m not sure if “stronger” is the right word. I’d […]

The Limits of Globalized Solutions?

In a piece over at Foreign Affairs’ revamped Website, Rawi Abdelal and Adam Segal echo what I’ve been saying about the impact of the global financial crisis on this round of globalization. Namely, that as big as the economic challenges of the crisis are, the political challenge it presents might be bigger: The current crisis has caused the destruction of value, the contractionof capital, a decline in consumption, and an increase in unemployment.But its ultimate impact may be even more pervasive, because the crisishas further undermined the political legitimacy of the free movement ofcapital, goods, and services. The legitimacy problem […]

France and NATO Reintegration

The folks over at Foreign Policy were kind enough to invite WPR managing editor Judah Grunstein to contribute a piece on France’s reintegration of NATO. Here’s a taste: Sarkozy’s decision is part of a broader shift towardreaffirming France’s place in what he calls the “family of the West” — aproject he began upon taking office in May 2007. In concrete terms, that hasmeant a more vocal opposition to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a recommitment tothe NATO war effort in Afghanistan, and demonstrations of French solidaritywith U.S. objectives in Iraq. All of those initiatives have generated charges of apro-American alignment. But with […]

BOGOTÁ, Colombia —The drug wars in Mexico “will intensify,” says the head of Colombia’s anti-narcotics police, Gen. Álvaro Caro. “It’s going to get worse,” Caro said during an exclusive interview about the wave of drug violence in Mexico. “The Mexican cartels are very structured, well armed and organized, and have the power to corrupt.” Last year alone, 5,400 people were murdered in the surge in drug violence in Mexico. Caro calls it “narco-terrorism,” and says it is “the price you pay for taking on the cartels.” It also results from changes made by Colombian drug kingpins to their transporting routes. […]

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Salvadorans go to the polls on Sunday, March 15, in a presidential election dominated by the country’s economy, already beginning to slow amid the economic crisis. The leading candidate in the race according to most polls is former TV-talk-show host Mauricio Funes. The party he now heads, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), evolved out of an umbrella group of leftist guerrilla factions active during El Salvador’s 12-year civil war. His opponent, Rodrigo Avila of the ruling right-wing party ARENA, has made Funes’ economic program a central focus of the campaign, calling the election […]

When finance ministers of the Group of Twenty nations come together on Friday to prepare for the upcoming G-20 summit, observers, journalists and analysts will no doubt focus on disagreements among the members over how to tackle the ongoing world economic crisis. After all, differing views on the best course of action have already stolen the headlines. To be sure, points of contention do exist and they could make for a tense meeting at West Sussex this weekend, as finance ministers struggle to come up with a productive and forceful agenda at the April summit in London. And yet, the […]

Hu Jintao Can Not Save the Global Economy

This was my intuitive reaction after reading this Matthew Yglesias post: So without a recovery in the U.S. and global economy, there cannot be asustainable recovery of Chinese growth. And with the U.S, recoveryrequiring lower consumption, higher private savings and lower tradedeficits, a U.S. recovery requires China’s and other surplus countries'(Japan, Germany, etc.) growth to depend more on domestic demand andless on net exports. But domestic-demand growth is anemic in surpluscountries for cyclical and structural reasons. So a recovery of theglobal economy cannot occur without a rapid and orderly adjustment ofglobal current account imbalances. But I’m not Nouriel Roubini,so I […]

The Myth of the Transparent Executive?

I was about to second this Secrecy News item by expressing my disappointment with the overhauled White House Website. Say what you will about what went on behind the scenes under the Bush administration, but its Website archived the president’s official statements and executive orders. Then I clicked through to link to the new WH site and saw that since the last time I’d checked it out, they added a Presidential Actions option under the “Briefing Room” menu tab that includes Executive Orders, memoranda and proclamations. There’s also an appointments and nominations option under the same menu tab. So, good […]

Will China Nationalize the U.S.?

The Times reports that panicky American investors are repatriating their capital, and the Chinese haven’t hit the brakes on buying up American debt, either. That’s exacerbating the impact of the financial crisis globally by soaking up liquidity that could finance debt elsewhere. In other words, money is still flowing uphill, largely because high ground is safer when the water’s rising in the valley. But capital from emerging markets is increasingly flowing towards developed economies as well, where it is busy buying up assets. 2point6billion reports: A recent KPMG survey entitled – ‘Emerging Markets International Acquisition Tracker’points out that emerging-to-developed deals […]

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