In the first months of 2009, the economic crisis dominated the world’s attention. Unemployment in the United States hit a high not seen since the early 1980s. Factory workers from Malaysia to France to China have faced increasing layoffs. In early April, the G20 summit in London produced promises to boost IMF lending to stave off the global downturn. World leaders agreed to better regulate financial institutions, but they did not agree with President Obama’s and Prime Minister Brown’s plans to prioritize extensive economic stimulus packages.
Economic hardship provokes strong reactions. Anger and fear resonate, from the protests at the G20 summit to Congress’s attempt to reclaim AIG executives’ bonuses. In the inevitable rush to compare this downturn to the Great Depression, much has been made of the possibility that the crisis will lead to increases in protectionist measures—that in our panic, we will ignore the lessons of history and seek short-term domestic stability over the long-term benefits of open borders to increase prosperity. Trade on Trial takes a closer look at the question of whether protectionism will increase, and if so, how it will impact the U.S. and other economies. Our contributors offer insightful perspectives on what protectionism looks like today, how contemporary international institutions affect the formation of trade policies, and what we can expect to see in the coming months as governments respond to the economic crisis.
Economic issues loom large in other articles in this issue, including Korok Ray’s analysis of the disastrous effects of Cuban socialism and Christopher Joyner’s discussion of the causes and legal challenges of piracy off the coast of Somalia. While the world obsesses over new internet tools like Twitter, Shahed Amanullah reflects on the significance for Muslims of a technology-saturated hajj. And as the Obama administration passes its first months in office and continues to redefine how government agencies will work together, Clinton-era NSC Advisor Anthony Lake reflects on the role of that agency and its place in the foreign policy process.
Amidst the uncertainty of these times, we hope that this issue of the Journal informs and enlightens.
– Carolyn Barnett & Eric Peter
Forum: Trade on Trial
- Introduction by Marc L. Busch | Read
This Forum explores the question of whether protectionism will increase as a result of the economic crisis. Will desire to protect domestic industries push governments to raise trade barriers? Or will the international institutions designed to forestall such a move prevail? Looking at both the mechanisms of trade and specific regional contexts, contributors address these questions from various perspectives.
- Imaginative Obstruction: Modern Protectionism in the Global Economy by Phillip I. Levy | Read
- Protectionist Pandemics? The Durability of Free Trade by Daniel J. Ikenson | (Continue reading...)
- The EU’s Protectionism Problem by Meredith Kolsky Lewis | (Continue reading...)
- The Rise of the “Pink Tide”: Trade, Integration, and Economic Crisis in Latin America by Jason Tockman | (Continue reading...)
Politics & Diplomacy
- The Unfulfilled Mandate: Gender Mainstreaming and UN Peace Operations by Jacqui True | (Continue reading...)
Implementing the mandates of UN Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on gender mainstreaming in UN peace operations will require a broader conception of international security encompassing socioeconomic equality and women’s human rights—a task for which the new U.S. administration may be ideally suited.
Conflict & Security
- State Failure: The Responsibility to Protect Civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo byAnthony W. Gambino | (Continue reading...)
When states are unable to protect their own populations, an internationally accepted principle known as the responsibility to protect is supposed to apply. In the case of the Congo, this principle necessitates strengthening the international community’s role, particularly that of MONUC.
- Keeping an Eye on al-Qaeda in Iraq by Jonathan Brookshire | Read
U.S. efforts to combat al-Qaeda in Iraq are important not only for countering the destabilizing terrorist attacks directly committed by the group based in Iraq but also as a key part of the wider U.S. effort against al-Qaeda.
- The Fearful Symmetry and the New Soldier: A New Global Balance of Power by Rumu Sarkar | (Continue reading...)
The threat of Islamist terrorism has created a new global balance of power. The political dimensions of asymmetric warfare posed by Islamist-based terrorism create a need for the adoption of new strategies. The author argues for a strategy that involves the creation of a “New Soldier,” a soldier-diplomat who is flexible, highly educated, and capable of demonstrating compassion.
Culture & Society
Because of modern technology, the pilgrimage to Mecca is available to many more Muslims than could ever have made the journey before, but technology has also added new layers of distraction for faithful Muslims during this sacred experience..
Law & Ethics
- Navigating Troubled Waters: Somalia, Piracy, and Maritime Terrorism by Christopher Joyner | (Continue reading...)
This article explains why piracy is occurring off of Somalia’s coast, contextualizes how this piracy is affecting international stability, and offers recommendations for multilateral action to suppress instances of maritime violence off the Horn of Africa.
- Private Military Contractors: Lessons Learned in Iraq and Increased Accountability in Afghanistan by Karli Johnston | (Continue reading...)
The use of private military contractors may be understood in terms of pragmatic policymaking, providing an effective and essential force-multiplier in the battle against terrorism, and ensuring security. Ru
Business & Economics
- Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: Cuba’s Fifty Years of Failed Socialism by Korok Ray | (Continue reading...)
Science & Technology
- The New Great Game: Water Allocation in Post-Soviet Central Asia by Kai Wegerich | (Continue reading...)
Meeting increasing water needs across the globe requires creative solutions on both sides of the supply and demand equation.
A review of Eurasia’s New Frontiers: Young States, Old Societies, Open Futures by Thomas W. Simons, Jr.
View from the Ground
- Benevolence and Blunder: NGOs and Development in the Dominican Republic by Sierra Hawthorne | Read
Development in the Dominican Republic, stalled by NGO dependence and government corruption, can be encouraged through a community participation-based model to improve social infrastructure.
A Look Back
- The Role of the National Security Council Interview with Anthony Lake | Read
Former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake comments on the evolution of the National Security Council as it rose to meet the challenges of foreign and domestic policymaking during the Clinton administration.