IMF chief Strauss-Kahn criticizes the EU's "case-by-case" response to the financial crisis.
On Sudan, Human Rights Watch pleads with the Security Council not to forget the ICC.
In the 1950s and 1960s, China talked about an alternative to the U.N.; now, it's promoting an alternative Nobel Peace Prize.
El Tigre: Meet the African Union's new peacekeeping chief.
"Issues are resolved": EU backs Russia's WTO entry.
With EU's Ashton in the lead, P5+1 may have agreed on a date for talks with Iran.
Full speed ahead on WTO, says Medvedev.
Nepalese U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti blamed for spreading cholera, attacked by crowd.
Argentina will negotiate oustanding debt with the Paris Club -- and without the despised International Monetary Fund at the table.
Barbara Crossette worries that the hybrid U.N.-Cambodia tribunal is faltering.
The World Bank struggles to save Asian tigers (real ones).
Bomb in the basement: WWII-era explosive found at construction site for new NATO HQ.
An argument that the G-20 has already failed on bank reform.
German foreign minister still wants NATO nukes out of Germany.
Does the U.N.'s nuclear agency need more cash?
APEC ministers vow to complete Doha by the end of next year.
The case that won't die: WTO hears appeal on Airbus-Boeing subsidies dispute.
The European Union is getting the cold shoulder from Asia.
The veto on his mind: Ban Ki-moon stays mum on political prisoners during Beijing trip.
Obama and Lee pledge to finalize U.S.-Korea free trade agreement in advance of G-20 summit.
IMF expected to vote Friday on governance reform package.
Speaking of emerging country investment in Africa, IMF chief warns of a "new form of colonialism."
NATO's secretary-general arrives in Moscow today for pre-Lisbon summit talks.
Brazilian president-elect Dilma Rousseff may accompany Lula to the G-20 summit.
The Telegraph is dissecting the budget of the EU External Action Service -- and doesn't like what it sees.
Hu greets Ban Ki-moon in Beijing: "China has always advocated, supported and practiced multilateralism."
Futility alert: African Union will train 800 new Somali cops to secure Mogadishu.
"I cried tears and Korea's national anthem echoed in my heart when South Korea was selected to host the G-20 summit," writes Korean fourth-grader.
Experts group tasked with reenergizing Doha round of WTO negotiations.
Report: Strauss-Kahn friends expect IMF head to run for French presidency, noting that he's on a diet.
Yesterday's Washington Post featured an optimistic take on Russia's integration into the world financial and economic system.
First comes membership in the World Trade Organization, which has been under negotiation for 17 years. Russia is expected to join the global economic club within a matter of months after resolving lingering economic issues with the United States, high among them clamping down on piracy and enforcing intellectual property rights.
All signs do point to progress on Russia's WTO bid, Putin's recent muttering about new auto tariffs aside. Last month, the United States announced that its major concerns about Russian accession had been allayed. "Russia belongs in the WTO," President Obama said in June.
There is one pint-sized obstacle to Moscow finally getting a seat at the table: Georgia. WTO rules make accession a consensus process, which means that, in theory, all members have a veto. Georgia is relishing its moment of leverage -- and the opportunity it affords to paint Russia as a mere aspirant to civilized clubs. "In principle, we are in favor of Russia joining the WTO -- anything which would bring Russia closer to a civilized community of the world," a Georgian official said recently.
Nobody expects that Georgia will be able to block Russia, but the question is: what concessions will it extract in return for acquiescing? Recently, Georgian politicians have linked Moscow's bid to progress on borders and customs. It seems more likely that Washington, Brussels and others eager to have Russia in the club will sweeten the pot somehow for Georgia.
Beijing's bullets? More on the saga of Chinese-made ammunition in Darfur -- and the U.N. response.
A dose of skepticism about the chances for a G-20 grand bargain.
Charles Kupchan elaborates on the recent Moscow-Paris-Berlin summit.
The OECD grades the United States' anti-bribery efforts.
The multinational effort to identify banks too-big-to-fail might just be failing.
China's ambassador to the WTO had some harsh words forthe United States' trade policy over the weekend. He called on the United States to "fulfill its international responsibilities, abide by global rules, and change its protectionist ways." A recent victory on a poultry dispute may have Chinese trade officials feeling confident about their free-trade credentials. And with Congress in a harsh mood over China's currency valuation, Beijing is no doubt eager to remind Washington that any retaliatory duties may well fall afoul of WTO rules.
One of the interesting puzzles of today's multilateral world is why regional and bilateral free trade agreements have proliferated even as the World Trade Organization's own process of liberalization has ground to a halt. At a global governance conference today, I had the chance to hear political scientist Mireya Solis articulate one very compelling possible explanation: states feel more in control during bilateral and regional negotiations than they do in vast and often overwhelmingly complex global negotiations. And so even though the economic benefits of regional or bilateral trade agreements might be minimal, she argues, they are sought after because states have the feeling -- probably exaggerated -- that they can influence the outcome of negotiations. In that sense, comfort level trumps a calculation of economic benefits. A few weeks ago, I recounted a conversation with a State Department official who argued, in part, that Europeans feel comfortable in vast multilateral negotiations in ways that most states, even major powers, do not. If Solis is correct, that desire for some sense of control and comfort in negotiations may be having an important effect on the global trade landscape. The psychology of multilateralism matters.
Waiting on the Dutch: once a government is formed, NATO will be knocking in search of police for Afghanistan.
Clinton: NATO and Russia should work together on missile defense.
Romania is going back to the IMF for another loan.
A report on the G-20's agenda for its November summit in Seoul.
The European Parliament ok's a plan for new finance watchdogs.
"We have been able to prevent a trade war:" An insider's assessment of the WTO's performance.
Preemptive outrage: China's angry about planned U.S.-ASEAN statement on the South China Sea.
The White House makes its case for success at the U.N.
No Lula, No Cameron, No Medvedev: is the U.N. losing out to the G-20?
Ready to do it all over again: EU President Van Rompuy steadfast on defending the Euro.
Britain only lukewarm on new EU derivatives law.
Is the WTO a victim of its own success? An argument that there's no sense of urgency on Doha because protectionism has been kept at bay.
IMF fights money-laundering in Nigeria.
Outgoing Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva let fly yesterday about Brazilian litigating prowess at the World Trade Organization:
'We had a fight with the United States in the WTO on cotton and we won. We had a fight with them on sugar and we won,' Lula said, referring to two cases in which the World Trade Organisation had ruled in favour of Brazil and against U.S. farm aid. 'In the olden days, they said don't fight with the United States, they are very big,' Lula said during a public works inauguration in the central Minas Gerais state. 'Look, an elephant has a certain size. The trunk is as big as 10 rats but put a mouse near the elephant and see how the beast trembles and wets itself,' he added.
The sight of a left-leaning, populist-inclined Latin American leader celebrating the WTO rather than railing against it will no doubt bring smiles to a few faces in Geneva.
European finance ministers scramble for a common position on IMF seats.
The United Nations launches an anti-corruption academy.
WTO's Lamy wants the G20 to remember the Doha round.
Serbia is wondering whether it's got the votes at the UN for a resolution on Kosovo.
Is a tussle brewing over Britain's EU dues?
It has been reported in a few outlets—and over at the Cable—that a summit between the United States and the ASEAN nations will take place September 24 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings. Assuming all the pieces fall into place, this will be the second U.S.-ASEAN summit. Some within and outside the administration had pushed for a higher-profile meeting in Washington, but it appears that scheduling constraints precluded that.
Ernie Bower at the Center for Strategic and International Studies argues that ASEAN states will be pressing two issues in particular with the United States: trade and the South China Sea. The ASEAN members, he says, will want signs of a more active American trade policy and a firm commitment from the president to remain engaged on South China Sea issues. Bowers describes recent conversations with ASEAN diplomats who were heartened by Hillary Clinton's recent challenge to Chinese claims in the region but who fear that they could be exposed to China's displeasure if the United States loses focus or energy.
The meeting may also be a chance to coordinate positions on Myanmar's elections, which are scheduled for November. ASEAN -- which includes Myanmar -- has welcomed the upcoming vote and has even mooted the idea of sending observers, although it now appears that they won't be welcomed by the junta. For their part, human rights groups have warned that the whole exercise may be a fraud. In July, Amnesty International reported that "the Myanmar government has not taken any steps to improve its poor human rights record as the polls approach."
The summit will be a brief star turn for ASEAN's secretary-general, Surin Pitsuwan, a former Thai foreign minister (and a Muslim) who was a serious contender for the UN's top job during the last election. As Ban Ki-moon's leadership has come under fire, there have even been rumblings in Asia that the ASEAN chief might yet get another shot at it.
Vladimir Putin has a flair for policy proclamations. Earlier this week, as he drove across Siberia in a yellow Russian-made Lada, he churned up significant confusion by declaring that Russia would jack up import duties on foreign-made cars. "We're not, after all, WTO members, so we can afford to do it," he reportedly said.
The announcement has left analysts a bit baffled. Prior to Putin's statement, there had been optimism in many quarters that Russia's long and confusing dance with the WTO might finally end in full membership. In June, President Obama said that Russia "belonged in the WTO" during a news conference with his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev. Medvedev himself appeared to invest considerable effort in securing American support for Russia's membership bid. A Medvedev aide put it this way: "it is awkward to keep knocking when the door should be open and we should be welcomed with open arms."
Putin's statement suggests that Russia itself now may bar the door; if the tariff increases are enacted, they could set back accession negotiations significantly. So what exactly are Russia's intentions toward the global trade organization? There's at least a possibility that there is daylight between Medvedev and Putin on trade, and that Putin is leaning in a more protectionist direction as he signals his intent to remain involved in Russian politics.
China sues the EU at the World Trade Organization, and wins. The particular issue in this case is not earth-shattering—the dispute was actually over nuts and bolts—but the broad trend is important: the emerging economies are increasingly using the WTO's processes to their advantage. China, in particular, has begun to play offense in Geneva.
In 2009... something changed: China began to hit back. In a slow year for disputes at the WTO, it was involved in exactly half—7 out of 14—of the disputes brought to the body. And the split between target and complainant became almost even: it was targeted 4 times, and initiated 3 cases itself.
And it's not just China. Brazil has successfully challenged long-standing EU and U.S. subsidies, and plenty more are vulnerable. An organization long-derided by anti-globalization activists as an instrument of the wealthiest countries is, in some cases, being turned against them.
David Bosco reports on the new world order for The Multilateralist.