Domingo, 16 de junio de 2019

High-level complex of physiologically active antibiotic substance extracted from blastema at the Arctic Innovation Center (AIC) of Ammosov, North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk. Photo: Yuri Smityuk/ITAR-TASS Photo/Corbis.

There is an urgent need to bring global governance to the effort to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. The issue of increasing antibiotic resistance, and the need to use antibiotics more wisely, has gained recognition at the highest political echelons, and there is evidence for antibiotic-conserving interventions that all countries could adopt to reverse the global threat.

This confluence of factors makes the possibility of negotiating a global treaty aiming to reduce misuse and overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals more viable than ever before. It is an opportunity that should be seized.

Antibiotics are a core tool of modern medicine, but are increasingly being rendered ineffective by the ability of bacteria to develop resistance.…  Seguir leyendo »

School children hold a placard reading "CHANGE" during the Youth Climate Strike May 24, 2019 outside United Nations headquarters in New York City. Photo by Johannes EISELE/AFP/Getty Images.

The most vexing, complicated and elusive question in international relations is how to achieve an order, based on rules, that enjoys legitimacy, rewards investments in cooperation, reconciles clashing interests and deters conflict. It is not a problem over which a magic wand can be waved. But in our own time, immense and patient efforts have been made towards that general goal, however imperfect the result.

The concept of the ‘rules-based international order’ refers today in its most general sense to arrangements put into place to allow for cooperative efforts in addressing geopolitical, economic and other global challenges, and to arbitrate disputes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Students holding Chinese national flags watch the live broadcast of the 40th anniversary celebration of China's reform and opening-up at Huaibei Normal University on 18 December. Photo: Getty Images.

China’s adherence to the rules-based international system is selective, prioritizing certain rules in favour of others. States supportive of that ‘system’ – or, as some argue, systems[1] – should identify areas of mutual strategic interest so that they can draw China further into the global rules-based order and leverage China as a constructive player that potentially also contributes to improvements in such areas. This is particularly apposite at a time when the US is in retreat from multilateralism and Russia seems bent on disrupting the rules-based international order.

Supportive player

There are many reasons for actively engaging with China on mutual areas of interest.…  Seguir leyendo »

The WTO headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Getty Images.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) faces arguably the most acute challenge in its 24-year history. Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, a US administration hostile to multilateralism and tempted by protectionism has worked to undermine the WTO by leaving the body on the brink of being unable to perform one of its central roles: adjudicating the rules of global trade.

If the immediate crisis weren’t enough, structural shifts in markets have raised questions about the long-term suitability of the WTO as a rules-based order for international commerce. What, given certain constraints inherent to the WTO system, are the options for reform?…  Seguir leyendo »

A Muqtada al-Sadr mobile phone cover for sale in a Baghdad market. Photo: Getty Images.

State weakness and protracted conflict continue to plague Iraq and Libya. A breakdown of the unitary state, competition for power and influence, and the absence of a social contract all continue to drive conflict, while allowing a proliferation of local armed groups to flourish.

Yet while such groups in both countries are often viewed solely as security actors, many of them are better considered as ‘hybrid’ networks that also span the political, economic and social spheres. Western policies to mitigate the threats presented by these groups must therefore extend beyond security-based interventions to necessarily inclusive and political approaches focusing on accountability as a route to peace.…  Seguir leyendo »

Casta puta

Mi liberada:

Aquí en Barcelona estamos que no cabemos en las costuras de gozo. Gerona continúa siendo la capital de la República Idiota y Barcelona reafirma su liderazgo entre las ciudades Top Manta. Una felicidad. Pero es la máxima felicidad a la que cualquier barcelonés racional podía aspirar en razón de la alta proporción de barceloneses irracionales, los concretos resultados electorales de las elecciones municipales del 26 de mayo y la posibilidad de que el independentismo añadiera a sus logros el gobierno de la capital. La sorpresa ha sido ver a tres concejales de Ciudadanos formando parte de la alta proporción irracional.…  Seguir leyendo »

US President Donald Trump and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker walk away after the conclusion of a joint statement in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on 25 July 2018. Photo credit: Getty Images

A decade of crises has generated plenty of pessimism about the European Union. It is certainly true that the EU faces structural challenges and political divisions over reforming the euro and migration policy, as well as disputes over the rule of law in some member states. But these problems should not obscure the union’s strengths.

The EU is a trade, regulation and standard-setting superpower, and even while international cooperation stalls in some areas, it can help to lead the world in regulating markets on crucial questions of privacy, competition, technology and the environment.

In 2012 Anu Bradford, a professor at Columbia Law School, christened the EU’s ability to export its regulations around the world as the ‘Brussels effect’, borrowing from a term used to describe the phenomenon in the US in which Californian regulations – often more stringent than in the rest of the country – are adopted in other US states due to California’s relative economic heft.…  Seguir leyendo »

The slogan '1.5 Degrees' is projected on the Eiffel Tower as part of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) on 11 December 2015 in Paris, France. Photo by Getty Images.

The existing rules of engagement within the international climate framework – the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – are proving inadequate for delivering the emissions reductions needed, and at the pace necessary, to meet recognized climate objectives.

The 2015 Paris Agreement established national adaptation and mitigation plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in which countries committed to decarbonize their economies over the coming decades. While procedural elements of this framework are legally binding, the crucial NDCs are voluntary.

Working within this essentially constrained rules-based order in climate policy, and given countries’ reluctance to date to translate targets into structural reforms, what can be done to uphold NDCs and raise future climate ambition?…  Seguir leyendo »

Tackle the ‘Splinternet’

The development of governance in a wide range of digital spheres – from cyberspace to internet infrastructure to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) – is failing to match rapid advances in technical capabilities or the rise in security threats. This is leaving serious regulatory gaps, which means that instruments and mechanisms essential for protecting privacy and data, tackling cybercrime or establishing common ethical standards for AI, among many other imperatives, remain largely inadequate.

A starting point for effective policy formation is to recognize the essential complexity of the digital landscape, and the consequent importance of creating a ‘common language’ for multiple stakeholders (including under-represented actors such as smaller and/or developing countries, civil society and non-for-profit organizations).…  Seguir leyendo »

Young woman at the March for Europe in May 2018. Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

The European Union is the ultimate ‘rules-based order’. Since the end of the Cold War, the world has become increasingly integrated, in a process that Dani Rodrik has called ‘hyper-globalization’ to distinguish this from the more moderate form of globalization that occurred during the Cold War period.

But Europe, which was already more integrated than the rest of the world, has gone even further in removing barriers to the internal movement of capital, goods and people. The consequence of this has been the need for a more developed system of rules to govern this deep integration.

For much of this period, many Europeans – and also many outside Europe who had a liberal view of international politics – believed that the EU was a kind of blueprint for global governance.…  Seguir leyendo »

A billboard in Beijing features US dollars. Photo: Getty Images.

Towards the end of the Second World War, the Allied powers came together in 1944 to plan a new economic order for the post-war world which would avoid a repeat of the disastrous policy mistakes of the 1920s and 1930s.

At the conference[1] in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, 44 Allied countries met under the intellectual leadership of Harry Dexter White (a senior US Treasury official) and John Maynard Keynes. The conference envisaged new rules of the game to prevent countries following the ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’ policies that had led to the Great Depression. It also established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank[2] as the key institutions to manage this new world order.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sánchez y el perro de Alcibíades

En el corral de comedias de la política, ya está demasiado visto el espectáculo de entretenimiento y distracción de la renombrada cola del perro de Alcibíades. Pese a su contumaz reiteración, aún suscita los mismos efectos prácticos de aquella jornada -año 415 antes de Cristo- en la que este general ateniense, sobrino de Pericles y discípulo de Sócrates, carente de escrúpulos y sobrado de ambición, capaz de defender una cosa y su contraria, hizo seccionar la hermosa cola, en consonancia con su porte, de aquel cánido que orgullosamente paseaba por Atenas y del que todos se deshacían en elogios. Preguntado por la razón de la atroz amputación, arguyó que así, mientras los atenienses perdían el tiempo dirimiendo sobre ello, no lo empleaban en criticar su mal gobierno.…  Seguir leyendo »

Durante las tres últimas décadas del milenio pasado y la primera del presente siglo, Javier Muguerza ha sido el mentor de varias generaciones filosóficas y acuñó la expresión pensar en español para tender puentes con Iberoamérica, particularmente con México, gracias a su amistad con Fernando Salmerón, prestando una especial atención al exilio republicano. Resulta significativo que su DNI consignara como fecha de nacimiento 1939 y no 1936, como si hubiera preferido nacer una vez terminada la contienda y no en sus inicios. La reconciliación fue una de sus prioridades, merced a los traumas personales de una Guerra Civil que su familia vivió trágicamente, como tantas otras de uno u otro bando.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nuevas inquisiciones (II)

Sincronizado con la inauguración de la tercera Bienal y el Premio de Novela que lleva mi nombre en Guadalajara (México), el 27 de mayo de 2019 circuló por España y América Latina un manifiesto firmado por más de un centenar de escritores acusándonos de “machistas” por el escaso número de escritoras invitadas a participar en el certamen.

El texto falseaba algunos números. Decía que en los “paneles” participarían trece hombres y sólo tres mujeres. En realidad, fueron siete las participantes, y su desempeño, excelente, a juzgar por los aplausos que merecieron de los novecientos estudiantes de casi todo México invitados a asistir a la Bienal por la Feria del Libro de Guadalajara (a quien aprovecho para agradecer lo bien que organizó el evento).…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers drill for the Victory Day parade in front of a portrait of Vladimir Putin. Photo: Getty Images.

The Kremlin famously demands ‘respect’ from the world’s leading powers and international organizations.[1] But it shows little respect itself for the rules-based international order. Indeed, it rejects the very notion that such an order exists.

Where most Western governments see an imperfect liberal capitalist system – even one in retreat – Moscow’s ruling elites see the slow passing of a hegemonic, US-led world order in which the ‘rules’ are slanted in the West’s favour and Russia’s ‘natural rights’ have been ignored.

In this context, the Russian leadership does not consider its interests to lie in following others’ rules. This presents a number of practical challenges for those in the West who nonetheless need to deter or respond to Russian aggression.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Syrian Arab Red Crescent member prepares a vaccine in the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern edges of the Syrian capital Damascus, 3 March 2016. Photo: Abd Doumany/AFP/Getty Images.

The year 2019 marks both the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions and the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1265, the first to address the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Upon these foundations, and in response to the mass atrocities witnessed at the close of the 20th century, in 2005 the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P)[1] was codified by all UN member states to prevent such horrors from occurring in the future.

R2P is defined by three pillars which emphasize, first, the primary responsibility of the state to ensure the safety and security of its civilians. The second pillar stresses the responsibility of the international community to support states in this aim.…  Seguir leyendo »

Saudi men relax on a fishing pier in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Getty Images.

Although the position of Saudi women within society quite rightly draws media attention, young Saudi men for the most part remain a silent mass, their thoughts and views rarely heard outside of the kingdom. But new research conducted in Saudi Arabia by Mark C Thompson, including 50 focus group discussions and interviews and surveys of over 5,000 young men from diverse backgrounds, reveals intriguing new insight into their views on subjects including gender segregation, identity, education, employment and marriage, as well as political participation and exclusion.

As 78% of the workforce, the views of Saudi men are crucial to the Saudi government’s Vision 2030 plan, which aims to help break the kingdom’s dependency on oil and, at the same time, diversify the economy towards important growth sectors, such as retail, health, IT, communications, tourism and education.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese protesters open their smartphones lights as they gather for a million-strong march outside the army headquarters in Khartoum on April 25, 2019. Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images.

The idea behind the post-war international order established since 1945 has been to preserve peace between the major states. The UN and its Security Council set rules under which conflict is permitted or forbidden. An infrastructure of supporting institutions and accompanying rules seeks to buttress this central objective.

In the security realm, these include the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Geneva Conventions. Rules for trade and financial crisis management are embodied principally in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which seek to ensure that economic interaction does not return to the reductive competition of the interwar years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Estudiantes protestando en contra de los recortes al gasto federal en educación superior, en Curitiba, Brasil. Credit Rodolfo Buhrer/Reuters

De acuerdo con el presidente Jair Bolsonaro, la educación brasileña deja mucho que desear. “Todo va cada vez más cuesta abajo”, dijo el mes pasado a periodistas durante un viaje a Dallas. “Queremos salvar la educación”.

Este parecería un argumento razonable si Bolsonaro anunciara, por ejemplo, un nuevo plan de educación o un aumento sustancial en el gasto dirigido a las escuelas públicas. Sin embargo, por el contrario, el mandatario estaba aludiendo a un “congelamiento” de 1500 millones de dólares al presupuesto para la educación en Brasil —el gobierno insiste en llamarlo así, en vez del recorte que es; esto se debe, en teoría, a que los fondos quedarán disponibles cuando mejore la situación económica—.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las amenazas a la democracia no provienen solo de populismos y modelos dictatoriales y autoritarios: también provienen de las grandes empresas tecnológicas. Lo vienen advirtiendo centenares y centenares de pensadores, académicos, expertos en el área y estudiosos de las tendencias del presente: los desarrollos tecnológicos, concentrados bajo la propiedad y control de unas pocas empresas, constituye un desafío mucho más complejo, mucho más profundo y mucho más estructural para las libertades individuales, políticas y para la realidad funcional de las democracias.

Aunque en Estados Unidos, Canadá y Europa son constantes las apariciones de voces altamente calificadas que advierten sobre los peligros en curso; aunque se cuentan por decenas los libros publicados en los últimos tres o cuatro años que pormenorizan en sus análisis; aunque ya son numerosas las universidades donde hay grupos realizando distintas investigaciones, en términos generales, mi sensación es que la mayoría de los ciudadanos, especialmente en América Latina, están lejos de incorporar a su agenda de los asuntos públicos el riesgo real que empresas como Google, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon y otras representan en el ámbito personal, en el ejercicio ciudadano y en el espacio de lo público.…  Seguir leyendo »