• 29 novembre 2011

    Is Asia afraid of China?

    At the 6th East Asian Summit in Bali on 19th November the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, found himself the butt of almost universal criticism from the leaders of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) both for Chinese territorial claims and recent provocative actions in the South China Sea. Supported by the United States as well as India, Australia and Japan, the ASEAN countries insisted on multilateral negotiations over these questions, while the Chinese remained firm on the principle of bilateral solutions in which they would have a distinct asymmetrical advantage.

  • 26 novembre 2011

    Strategic Games around Free Trade Agreements in the Asia-Pacific

    Barely a week after the G20 in Cannes, ten of the 20 leaders reconvened half way across the world in Honolulu as part of the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), together with other Pacific Rim leaders. APEC summits are usually quiet and polite affair. This time, however, APEC became the scene of great diplomatic games and one more match in the growing strategic rivalry between China and US. Indeed, the US decided to use APEC as platform for strategic reengagement into Asia and balancing China’s growing dominance. This game may well be the one with the most significance for the future of the world economy.

  • 31 mars 2011

    The Libyan Intervention in the Rear View Mirror

    When we look back on the Libyan intervention, will we think of it as another Rwanda, another Somalia, or something else entirely? ‘Rwanda’ reminds us of the shame of inaction, ‘Somalia’ reminds of the costs of poorly executed action, and ‘something else’ stands for the promise of doing the right thing.

  • 22 septembre 2010

    ‘Roma crisis’ and EU’s neighborhood

    In a spectacular move, France, a founding member State, has been sharply criticized by European MPs over its Roma expulsion policy. Since the beginning of the crisis, President Sarkozy is standing firm on its tough immigration policy, in spite of a wave of criticisms both within France and abroad. Starting as a French issue, it has had an impact on the French-Romanian relations, two traditional allies. At a European level, it may be not without serious implications for a country like Ukraine, which seeks a prospect of integration within the EU. (in French)

  • 16 septembre 2010

    Iraq: US troops leave, violence remains

    Since August 31, there are no more U.S. combat forces in Iraq. However the complete drawdown of U.S. troops won't occur before December 2011. In Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he was confident in the ability of Iraq’s new security forces to take the lead, adding that he was delighted by Iraq’s recovery of « its independence and sovereignty. » But does this guarantee the return to stability and the end of violence? This is far from certain.

  • 16 septembre 2010

    Is G20 economic coordination already passé?

    Since the G20 leaders first met in Washington in November 2008, much hope has been placed in this new coordination group for the global economy. The G20 summit meeting in London in April 2009 will especially go down in history as the moment when leaders from the world successfully united forces to ward off depression. But times have changed and after a rather disappointing summit meeting in Toronto last June, there are grounds to ask whether international economic coordination among G20 countries is already passé.

  • 19 juillet 2010

    EU economic governance needs more democracy

    May 2010 will go down in history as the beginning of greater economic solidarity in the European Union as a result of the one-two punch of the Greek loan agreed on May 3 and the massive loan guarantee mechanism of May 9-10. But what shape that union will take remains unclear. German Chancellor Merkel wants more governance by rules, to enshrine restrictive budgetary discipline and draconian punishments for violators. French President Sarkozy wants more governance by leaders, with Eurozone countries to form a kind of economic government that determines Eurozone policy on an on-going basis. Neither will work, the first because it is too rigid as well as economically problematic, the second because it is too flexible as well as politically problematic. Neither, moreover, is very democratic.

  • 30 octobre 2008

    Not another Bretton Woods

    The Washington meeting of the Heads of State to take place shortly reflects recognition of the need for international cooperation in the regulation of financial institutions and markets. There has been international cooperation in recent months, mainly among the major central banks, notably the coordinated interest-rate cuts that took place recently, and the provision of dollar financing by the Federal Reserve to the European Central Bank, which needed dollars to relend to European banks that could not obtain them commercially.

  • 3 juin 2008

    Seismic Change in the Middle Kingdom - and why we should take note

    In the wake of the tragic Sichuan earthquake, something big is astir in China. It was not just the earth that shook on this peaceful afternoon of May 12, 2008. Society and political world moved as well. Future historians may well remember this month as a watershed moment. The time has come for us to take note and change course in our understanding of China. This is probably one of the most important tasks in front of us when we map out our future decades. The stakes could not be higher.

  • 15 février 2008

    Normative Empire

    On October 25th 2007 the Wall Street Journal published a blistering attack on Europe entitled “Regulatory Imperialism”. The editorial took issue with Europe’s intent to force its norms on the rest of the world by taking advantage of the dynamism of its internal market both affluent and attractive and in addition highly organized. Examples cited included the Microsoft Affair, the ban on the importation of chlorine-rinsed poultry, the Reach legislation on chemical products, as well as the plan to tax airline companies as part of the battle against climate change.

  • 11 janvier 2007

    Europe Needs Policies on Russia and Energy

    A year ago, the European Union was at a loss when Russia cut gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine and thus to Europe. Exactly one year later, Russia cuts oil supplies to Europe through Belarus, and the EU is equally lost. Seldom haws Russia so clearly displayed its principles. It is time for the EU to adopt policies on both Russia and energy. Otherwise, the cost of Europe's disorientation may grow exponentially. -->Russia is a market economy, and even its state sector is highly commercialized. In the last few years, the Kremlin has successfully focused on boosting the price of Gazprom stocks, rendering it the third most valuable publicly traded company in the world. Part of this endeavor has been to abolish political subsidies to friendly former Soviet republics and let gas and oil prices approach market prices. Belarus was the last country to enjoy oil subsidies from Russia, and now they are gone.

  • 24 septembre 2006

    Japan: Reformism without Liberalism

    Koizumi 's five and half years in office were marked by significant reforms. Japanese banks were purged of most of their bad loans, the post office savings bank will be privatised as will some other public entities. The reforms follow the liberalization of foreign investment and financial markets which had taken place in the years following Koizumi's election to the premiership. -->There were two components of Koizumi's reform drive. One, symbolized by Takenaka Heizo, who served in several cabinet positions under Koizumi, was inspired by economic liberalism. The other one was more a function of the internal rivalries of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) than of the Prime Minister's attachment to a particular ideology. For example the postal savings corporation was part of the funding mechanisms of anti-Koizumi factions. By privatizing it, and by cutting funding for corrupt public works projects, Koizumi hoped to undermine his enemies within the LDP.

  • 15 septembre 2006

    Democracy and Globalization

    Democratization and globalization are the two most profoundly important developments of our age. Since 1975 there has a quadrupling in the number of democratic countries worldwide. Meanwhile, global trade as a share of global GDP has more than doubled from 8 to 20 per cent, while the share of countries fully open to international capital flows, as measured by the International Monetary Fund, has risen by half, from 25 to 38 per cent. There are exceptions; North Korea remains a hermit kingdom, resisting both democracy and globalization. But such exceptions are increasing few. It is hard to think of a part of the globe that is untouched by these powerful trends. And it is hard to think of an aspect of our lives that is unaffected.

  • 4 mai 2006

    Is the IMF still useful?

    IMF reform has been on the policy agenda for as long as most of us can remember. Since the breakdown in the early 1970s of the Bretton Woods System that the IMF had been created to oversee, observers have questioned whether the Fund still has a mission and tools appropriate to the task. For the older among us, recalling these earlier discussions, it seems like the IMF is always in search of a new job description. -->IMF reform has been on the policy agenda for as long as most of us can remember. Since the breakdown in the early 1970s of the Bretton Woods System that the IMF had been created to oversee, observers have questioned whether the Fund still has a mission and tools appropriate to the task. For the older among us, recalling these earlier discussions, it seems like the IMF is always in search of a new job description.

  • 6 janvier 2006

    The Gas War: A Monumental Russian Mistake

    Early on January 4, Gazprom and Ukrainian gas officials reached an agreement on gas deliveries to Ukraine in Moscow. This was in many ways an excellent agreement, but most of all so for Ukraine. -->First, it is a five-year agreement lasting till the end of 2009, which means that stable conditions for gas deliveries should have been accomplished. Amazingly, Russia is offering Ukraine five years of stable natural gas prices at a time of rising gas prices and increased gas scarcity, while most countries face annual price revisions.

  • 12 décembre 2005

    Chile, Mexico & Brazil: the triumph of pragmatism

    In December, the Chileans celebrated a new round of elections. However, beyond this event, there is yet another point worth celebrating: the profound and subtle transformation which is taking place in Chile and in Latin America stemming from the surge of economic pragmatism outside the predetermined paths of any rigid ideological model. -->The example of Chile The Chilean example is, from this point of view, exemplary (and perhaps unique), where the privatization of pension funds remained within the framework of a jewel of regulation of top quality institutional craftsmanship. Year after year, the system was modified and adjusted in order to improve. Today, the Chilean regulation body, the Superintendencia, is one of the most credible, technically prestigious and highly esteemed institutions in the country, making it a strong institutional mast.