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Chapter 8 summarises the main findings from the preceding chapters, and discusses the best way to deal with the China challenge. Contrary to those who prefer unilateral and plurilateral approaches, we argue that the potential of multilateralism has yet been fully explored. As we have documented, it was the desire to normalise its trade relations within the multilateral framework that prompted China’s initial decision to return to the multilateral trading system. While China did pursue unprecedented market-oriented reform, the potential of the multilateral rules in taming China’s state capitalism has not been fully unleashed since China’s accession. Of course, recognising the potential of multilateralism does not mean that multilateralism is perfect. Instead, we believe that multilateralism is the most promising compared with unilateral measures and bilateral and plurilateral negotiations outlined above. In addition to making fuller use of the existing rules under the WTO, this book has also put forward some approaches for the negotiation of new rules at the multilateral level where such rules are needed and suggested ways to engage China in a more constructive manner.
This chapter is concerned with Germany’s perspective on the foundations and functions of international law. It is structured in two parts: international law in general and sources of international law. The first part deals with the notion of ‘rules-based order’ as brought forward by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The term is understood to be broader than ‘international law’. It is argued that the same is putting at risk the principle of sovereign equality, while ultimately undermining the credibility of international law. Secondly, the first part focuses on Germany’s criticism of the United States’ approach to international law with respect to Israel’s occupation of certain Palestinian territories. The third topic addressed in the first part is Germany’s concept of an ‘Alliance for Multilateralism’, which is assessed as a rather loose and incoherent network of primarily European States. The second part discusses a ruling of the German Federal Constitutional Court concerning the state of necessity as a general principle of international law. The decision is grounded in the context of Argentina’s debt crisis. It is argued that the German Constitutional Court did not seize the opportunity to offer a substantive contribution to the question of State bankruptcy.
This chapter reviews the first six years of implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a major Chinese foreign policy initiative introduced in 2013. The authors explain how China’s transition from benefactor to banker, in con- junction with its push for expanded influence on the global stage, led to the adoption of the BRI. They then consider whether and why China might choose to ‘multilateralize’ the BRI. The authors conclude that if Beijing wants to multilateralize the BRI, it will need to either comply with—or help redesign— international development finance rules and standards. At the same time, the establishment of an inclusive and revitalized development finance regime does not rest solely on the shoulders of Beijing. If OECD-DAC and multilateral donors and creditors wish to avert a crisis of confidence and relevance, they will need to rewrite international development finance rules and norms in ways that accommodate Beijing’s interests and more effectively account for the preferences of low-income and middle-income countries.
Since its accession to the WTO twenty years ago, China's image has shifted from a good student aspiring to assimilate itself into the multilateral trading system to one that is increasingly alienated from key WTO principles. How has China's perspective on WTO been evolving? What are the reasons behind China's changing perspective? This paper answers these questions from the Chinese perspective with a comprehensive analysis of the key moments in China's first two decades in the WTO, followed by practical suggestions on how to engage China more constructively in the WTO and beyond.
This chapter introduces the UN’s principal approach to dealing with ‘threats without boundaries’, a category that includes terrorism, pandemic disease, WMD proliferation, and organized crime. The UN harnesses managerial governance as a way of countering these threats without resorting to unilateral, militarized responses like the War on Terror. The UN conceptualizes the threats as interdependence problems which call for a joined-up response. The chapter reveals the symmetry of threat and response, showing how each is articulated in three dimensions. First, the transboundary flow of threats calls for multilateral cooperation in response; second, the interconnection of the threats, which aggravate and incubate one another, calls for a comprehensive response; and third, the attribution of a life-span to threats without boundaries, which are serried into emergent, manifest, and residual stages, calls for a continuous response. Managerial governance, the chapter concludes, is produced through the imperative to organize attendant on the complexity that accumulates in a project that is cooperative, comprehensive and continuous.
The editors and Frauke Ohler conclude the book by reflecting on what the insider accounts teach us about the negotiation of the Paris Agreement. The first part provides a comprehensive examination of the combination of factors that led to the adoption of the Paris Agreement. It discusses the relative contribution of the multitude of factors identified in the previous chapters, ranging from the structural context set by geopolitics and macroeconomics, to how non-state actors reshaped the normative landscape, to the importance of individual personality. The second part of the chapter distills practical lessons learned. It identifies seven key elements of effective negotiation management, including the importance of transparent communication, good handling of informal dialogues, and leveraging non-party stakeholders. Finally, the chapter concludes by contemplating some risks and opportunities that mark the discussion about global governance in the post-Paris era. Next to a discussion about the implications of regionalization and digitalization of negotiations, it argues that, while some may be tempted to view the Paris Agreement as an end-point, climate negotiations will continue.
The introduction sets out the general context, motivation, and contribution of the book. It describes its three-fold purpose: to collect insider accounts of high-level delegates, to analyse the factors that shaped the negotiations, and to identify practical lessons learned. It argues that the book makes signicant contributions to the academic literature, extending our understanding of multilateral negotiations, not only relating to the Paris Agreement, but to other climate negotiations and multilateral negotiations more generally. The chapter also discusses key practical lessons, describes the structure of the book, and provides short summaries of the individual chapters.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved challenging to states and regional organizations, exposing gaps in political leadership as well as in the preparedness of economic and public healthcare systems. As states and organizations contend with the pandemic, the African Union's response in this regard, thus far, indicates the imperative of enhanced multilateralism. Its response also provides a template for endowing the organization with assertive, binding powers over its member states and, as such, achieving its supranational aspirations. In this respect, this article argues that the African Union's display of progressive internationalism, swiftness of action, agency and legitimacy in combatting the coronavirus pandemic are elements that can be applied in sharpening its processual quest for supranationalism.
The article explores the current stagnation in multilateral law-making based on an analysis of recent treaty attempts across various subfields of international law. It further examines why the law of the sea has continued to evolve despite this trend. The article demonstrates that states still regularly seek multilateral treaties to address new challenges. While there is some evidence of general treaty saturation, it is the current inability of traditional great powers to negotiate new binding norms which is the most constraining factor on multilateral law-making. This in turn is related to deeper geopolitical shifts by which traditional great powers, notably the United States and its allies, have seen their relative influence decline. Until the current great power competition ends or settles into a new mode of international co-operation, new multilateral treaties with actual regulatory effect will rarely emerge. The law of the sea has avoided the current trend of stagnation for primarily three reasons (i) a global commitment to the basic tenets of the law of the sea; (ii) a legal framework that affords rights and obligations somewhat evenly disbursed, allowing less powerful states to use their collective leverage to advance multilateral negotiations, despite intermittent great power opposition; and (iii) the avoidance of entrenched multilateral forums where decisions are reached by consensus only.
The principle of the responsibility to protect (RtoP) conceives of a broad set of measures that can be employed in preventing and responding to atrocity crimes. Nevertheless, the UN Security Council remains an important part of the implementation architecture, given what the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty referred to as its authoritative position in international society as the “linchpin of order and stability.” As part of the roundtable “The Responsibility to Protect in a Changing World Order: Twenty Years since Its Inception,” this review of the Council's role in fulfilling its responsibility to protect advances two somewhat contrasting arguments about the original ICISS report. First, it suggests that the commissioners may have underestimated the Council's potential contribution, by concentrating on the authorization of coercive means to address crises of human protection. Over the past two decades, the Security Council has not only employed various diplomatic, political, and humanitarian measures to address atrocity crimes but also adjusted the purposes and practices of peace operations to advance protection goals and more subtly shaped discourses and expectations about state responsibilities for protection. However, I also argue that the willingness of the ICISS to identify potential alternatives to the Security Council when its members are paralyzed appears in retrospect to have been both bold and forward looking, in light of the Council's failures to act in a timely and decisive manner to protect amid crises and the contemporary realities of geopolitical rivalry. The article concludes by suggesting that future efforts to protect populations from atrocity crimes should focus not only on the herculean task of trying to change the behavior of P5 members of the Council but also on encouraging a new institutional balance between the Security Council and other intergovernmental bodies.
Chapter 4 unpacks and illustrates the idea of the sovereignty cartel. It looks at some of the individual-level practices through which the sovereignty cartel is reconstituted in the daily conduct of international politics. The chapter makes the connection between sovereignty as an abstract concept and the actual people who act on the international stage in the name of that concept. It complicates the idea of property rights by discussing the responsibilities that are often part and parcel of rights. These property rights include responsibilities to other sovereigns, but also include responsibilities to the citizenries in whose name states rule. In addition, the chapter provides examples of the sovereignty cartel in action, drawn from a variety of issues, including multilateral participation, human rights, and the governance of the global commons. These all show ways in which sovereign right involves specific and historically contingent claims by states, and requires of those states specific behaviors, rather than being a generic claim that can be understood and studied out of context.
Chapter 6 circles back to the question of what we understand property rights to mean, earlier chapters having made a general case for property rights as a lens through which to study sovereignty and having addressed the question of who is the sovereign who holds those rights. The chapter looks at the roots of different aspects of contemporary sovereign rights in both Roman law and English contract law. It looks at what these different traditions of property have to say about sovereignty with respect to both domestic politics and international relations, and how they interact with other ideas that legitimate the modern state such as popular sovereignty and nationalism. It connects the Roman tradition with a national interest in autonomy, and the English tradition with a national interest in multilateralism. It highlights the conceptual tensions between these traditions as practiced in contemporary international relations.
Chapter 9 addresses the “So what?” question: what do we learn from studying sovereignty through a property rights lens? One key upshot of the argument is that changes in international patterns of economic regulation and use of force are not necessarily indicative of either the strength of or the content of claims of sovereign right. Sovereignty maintains its centrality in the international system not only (arguably not even primarily) through the practice of governance, but also through collusion to reinforce a normative structure of sovereign right. The chapter concludes with some thoughts about the “So what?” question for international relations theorists. For theorists of foreign policy the sovereignty cartel helps to explain deference by bigger states to the sovereign rights claims of smaller states when national interest would argue against such deference. For globalization theorists the cartel shows that globalization and sovereignty do not vary inversely on a unidimensional spectrum. For theorists of the social structure of the international system it highlights the often-overlooked agentive processes needed to maintain existing social structures rather than just agentive mechanisms for changing structures.
Chapter 7 lays out our conclusions and further sets out our proposals, which may allow more easily the return of abducted children. This relates not only to abductions between Muslim-majority States, on the one hand, and, on the other, Hague Conference States, but also those abductions between Muslim-majority States. Indeed, one matter which has not been alluded to anywhere – that we are aware of – is the fact that it is inconceivable that international parental child abduction is not endemic between Muslim Family Law States. Notwithstanding the absence of any reliable statistics, it cannot be the case otherwise. The analysis in the above chapters, read in conjunction with the country case studies selected, lends itself to not only allowing us to map a route forward with regard to the abductions of children between Muslim Family Law States, on the one hand, and, on the other, Hague Conference States, but also parental child abductions between Muslim Family Law States.
Chapter 1 introduces the concept of the sovereignty cartel, the idea that states do not just compete with each other to maximize the national interest or cooperate with each other to provide global public goods, but also collude with each other to reinforce the centrality of the sovereign state as a category of actor in international relations. It reviews the existing international relations literature on state sovereignty and locates the idea of the sovereignty cartel within that literature. It develops the metaphor of the cartel and gives an overview of how this metaphor is developed throughout the book. It looks at different understandings of property rights underlying the idea of the sovereignty cartel and introduces the possibility that these understandings are not mutually compatible. Finally, the chapter provides a plan of the book and an overview of the chapter structure.
Sovereignty is the subject of many debates in international relations. Is it the source of state authority or a description of it? What is its history? Is it strengthening or weakening? Is it changing, and how? This book addresses these questions, but focuses on one less frequently addressed: what makes state sovereignty possible? The Sovereignty Cartel argues that sovereignty is built on state collusion – states work together to privilege sovereignty in global politics, because they benefit from sovereignty's exclusivity. This book explores this collusive behavior in international law, international political economy, international security, and migration and citizenship. In all these areas, states accord rights to other states, regardless of relative power, relative wealth, or relative position. Sovereignty, as a (changing) set of property rights for which states collude, accounts for this behavior not as anomaly (as other theories would) but instead as fundamental to the sovereign states system.
This chapter argues that in Bill Clinton's first term containment worked well enough to limit the Iraqi threat, compel more cooperation with inspectors, and generally maintain the international coalition as well as domestic political support. Clinton's main change to containment was stressing compliance with the UN inspections rather than Saddam's removal as the main condition for the lifting of sanctions. His Iraq policy, however, was sandwiched between an international coalition that wanted to move toward normalization with Iraq and a domestic political sphere that wanted to intensify efforts to topple Saddam. Finally, developments in Iraq, especially the extent of Iraqi cheating on disarmament and Saddam's crushing of the internal opposition in 1995–1996, added greater legitimacy to the main ideas of the regime change consensus, especially the beliefs that containment would soon collapse and that Iraq would never comply fully with inspections because of the nature of its regime.
We look at the effect of the WTO on stabilizing international trade using both a fixed-effects and an event study approach. Our results show that WTO members experience lower trade volatilties in a predictable and integrated system. In addition, we focus on the trade volatility comovement among countries in a multilateral framework. Previous research has mainly focused on WTO membership in a bilateral trade framework, which only allows interactions between two trade partners without considering any possible influence from other countries. A bilateral trade framework does not fully capture the effect of WTO membership, nor does it investigate why the multilateral platform of the WTO should exist. With a unique setup estimating interactions among multiple trading dyads, we find strong evidence supporting positive correlation or comovement of trade volatilities across trading pairs. Such a comovement appears much stronger among WTO members than between WTO and non-WTO members. Due to the feedback mechanism among dyads in a multilateral framework, such as the WTO, bilateral trade stability may further stabilize the global trade. Our results remain robust to a battery of sensitivity checks.
As International Organization commemorates its seventy-fifth anniversary, the Liberal International Order (LIO) that authors in this journal have long analyzed is under challenge, perhaps as never before. The articles in this issue explore the nature of these challenges by examining how the Westphalian order and the LIO have co-constituted one another over time; how both political and economic dynamics internal to the LIO threaten its core aspects; and how external threats combine with these internal dynamics to render the LIO more fragile than ever before. This introduction begins by defining and clarifying what is “liberal,” “international,” and “orderly” about the LIO. It then discusses some central challenges to the LIO, illustrated by the contributors to this issue as well as other sources. Finally, we reflect on the analytical lessons we have learned—or should learn—as the study of the LIO, represented by scholarship in International Organization, has sometimes overlooked or marginalized dynamics that now appear central to the functioning, and dysfunction, of the order itself.
Differentiation is a foundational premise in the study of middle powers, as evident in the way that the relevant literature distinguishes these states from the great powers and smaller states. Despite the underlying assumption of differentiation, the middle power literature has rarely engaged theoretically with the concept. This paper seeks to make more explicit this basis of differentiation in the study of middle powers, by advancing a new framework for middle power behavior that draws on differentiation theory. The framework makes the case that it is the differentiated structure in international politics – a departure from the dominant neorealist understanding of structure – that enables the behavior of middle powers. The effects of this differentiated structure are activated by the relative, relational, and social power politics that middle powers engage in, in a particular time and place. Through this process, middle powers are able to leverage their ‘middlepowerness’ in international politics by weakening stratification particularly where the great powers are concerned, and strengthening functional differentiation through taking on key and distinctive roles. By putting differentiation at the core of a framework for middle power behavior, the paper strives to make a constructive contribution to the theorizing of middle powers.