How To Engage the Middle Kingdom in the New Multilateralism

Very recently Minxin Pei, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace reminded us in his “sober” and sobering analysis of China what a difficult issue China poses. In his Financial Times article of February 24, 2006 called “China is Stagnating in Its ‘Trapped Transition’ ” and also in the “Dark Side of China’s Rise,” in the current March/April 2006 issue of Foreign Policy reminds us about, ‘the anomolies of the Chinese economic transition’ and the failed efforts at democratization. Pei suggests “the ruling elites have little interest in real reforms. They may pledge reforms, but most such pledges are lip service or tactical adjustments aimed at maintaining the status quo.” And in the economic sphere Pei points to the bottom line: not withstanding the economic structural reforms the Chinese state still, “owns 60 per centof fixed assets and dominates vital industrial sectors, from financial services to energy. Today, Beijing’s guiding principle Continue reading

Multilateralism and the Provision of Legitimacy

In the war in Iraq, known in official US documents as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), the US has carried the bulk of the military effort. More than 130,000 US soldiers have been in Iraq throughout the period since the early days of the war. The United Kingdom has contributed fewer than 10,000 soldiers. No other country contributed more than 5,000 soldiers, and only South Korea, Italy, Poland, Netherlands, Spain, and Ukraine provided more than 1000. Romania, Japan, Denmark, Bulgaria contributed between 500 and 1000; Georgia, Australia, El Salvador, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Albania, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Norway, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Hungary, Portugal, and Singapore provided between 100 and 500; and Czech Republic, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Philippines, New Zealand, Moldova, and Tonga contributed fewer than 100. Moreover, the contributions of a number of these countries were specifically limited to non-combat roles. Among others, Japan contributed only medics Continue reading

Petrocapital – A Threat to Capital Markets and Globalization

Jim de Wilde, a GIR Community Member, is delivering a very interesting speech in the next few days at the Haskayne Business School at the University of Calgary (note the location). Jim, today a venture capitalist (very important) and a long-time Liberal (less important) has a very important take on the impact of petrocapital on capital markets. He suggests that the source of capital is important. He raises it by identifying capital that is, “…just non-productive capital resulting from resource rents and geological roulette? How does the concentration of newly-formed capital in the hands of a few Continue reading

What’s Wrong with this Picture – The Dubai Ports Deal and Global Markets

Well it’s good to be reminded that populist pandering is not dead and definitely not in the United States. A severe case of it was identified in the US Congress and spread rapidly to Republicans and Democrats alike in Washington and in the country over the question of DP World’s acquistion of port’s management for US terminals including some of the biggest – New York, Newark, Baltimore and Miami . The issue may well have been defanged for now by the decision of the Emir of Dubai to sell or transfer control to an American-owned entity.

The real question is – what is the critical question over the terminal lease acquisitions. There certainly is a security issue for US ports. But the fact that DP World was acquiring the leases was a red herring. The fragile security protection is Continue reading

American World Order by Martin Walker on Michael Mandelbaum

Martin Walker is very good at describing in summary form what Michael Mandelbaum advocates in his book: “He explains cooly and clearly the various ways in which the United States now functions asa global government, offering the planet the services of physical security, commercial regulation, financial stability and legal recourse that are normally provided by national governments to their citzens.”

While Mandelbaum identfies the growing weaknesses in America’s leading management role and points with alarm to the growing doemstic bill that America is generating now and for the future in the out-of-control social spending, Mandelbaum argues that there is no credible alternative to the American role as, “linchpin and guarantor of the global system.”

Is it that simple? To the degree America asserts leadership international stability is assured and to the degree it does not – growing chaos can be expected?

Opening the Dialogue on New Multilateralism

The Global Institutional Reform Workshop (GIR) or at least the label that we settled on (it’s royal “we” I’m afraid – I thought it up, I admit) began as an idea when I realized the release of a number of reports and analyses in close proximity, e.g. Sutherland, High Level Panel, 2020.   These reports looked at the future of global security and economic relations.   It will not come as a big surprise that most of these Reports struck me as inadequate.   That being said, I thought it was vital that a conscientious group of experts – you examine the reports and bring an assessment and evaluations that seemed to be missing from the immediate efforts.  

With the assistance of a number of our CIGI colleagues, Daniel Schwanen in particular, we launched an initial session in September 2006 at CIGI in Waterloo Canada.   CIGI is the place for us to undertake such a Project.   With a mandate Continue reading