17 January 2017   Leave a comment

British Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech today in which she confirmed that she will guide Great Britain to a “hard” Brexit.  Many had hoped that Britain would manage to keep some ties with the European Union, gaining some concessions to the uniform policies on worker mobility within the Union.  But May indicated that so such concessions would be requested and that the British departure from the Union will be complete.  She held out the hope of a more limited relationship along the lines of the recent agreement between the EU and Canada, but only gave the country two years to forge such an agreement (the arrangement with Canada took seven years to negotiate).

The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is typically an annual conference of economic leaders committed to the process of globalization.  This year, for the first time, the leader of China, President Xi Jinping, attended the conference and made a major speech extolling the virtues of globalization.  The Trump Administration, on the other hand, did not send any high level representatives.   The reversal of roles is striking since the US has traditionally been the most enthusiastic proponent of globalization in the world.  The critical question is whether China will begin to shoulder some of the global costs of globalization.  The US refused to do so after World War I with disastrous consequences.  Only after World War II did the US decide to commit its power to maintaining a world order in which globalization could thrive.

Ukraine is bringing a suit against Russia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for its annexation of Crimea, its funding of separatists in eastern Ukraine, and for the downing of a civilian airliner.  The ICJ is the UN’s highest court and the charges are all violations of the UN Charter, and the rulings of the ICJ are final and not subject to appeal.  It is doubtful, however, that Russia will even contest the charges or show up in court.  Most likely, it will simply ignore the court as the US did in Nicaragua’s case against the US for mining its ports in 1986.

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Posted January 17, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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