Ukraine Joins the World Economy

Another news item that sort of slipped our collective attention is that Ukraine quietly joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the newest member after 14 years of negotiations.  Ukraine will become the 152nd country to join the WTO.  According to the Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yushchenko it will boost the economy by nearly two percent per annum and give much-needed boost to metals industry, which accounts for nearly one-third of the economy.  It interesting to note that Soviet Russia is the only country with a major economy that is yet to join the WTO.  


Elections, America, and the World

We have been actively involved in following riveting race for the White House as a consequence it seems America’s attention on International Politics has gradually declined.  The war in Iraq does not seem to evoke as much passion or tension as it did few months back, but the killings and suicide bombings continue unabated in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The intensity has been particularly high in Iraq; a recent car bombing killed 23 people in Baghdad. Few days back a pair of female suicide bombers wrecked untold misery on innocent weekend shoppers.  The United States has called upon NATO to play a larger role in Afghanistan and warned of potential disaster if greater effort is not devoted towards maintaining peace and stability.  Meanwhile, a major election is due up on Feb 18 in Pakistan.  This particular election is pivotal because it will determine the future of Pakistani politics at a time of growing militancy in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWPF), growing unpopularity of President Musharaff both within and outside Pakistan, and the reverberating impact of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination during the last week of December 2007.  We won’t even mention the consequences of economic blockade on Gaza enforced by Israel and the massive chaos that erupted on the borders with Egypt.  As Americans look internally and closely inspect their presidential candidates, it is also important to look outward see what is happening in rest of the world and specifically ask ourselves the question what is America’s role in world politics.  Importantly, we should ask our presidential candidates in what way or manner can they bring about a change in the world of international politics.

LOST-Battle Over State Sovereignty

Interestingly, the administration of George W. Bush is urging the United States to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, popularly referred by the acronym LOST. The objective of this treaty is to provide universal legal standards for shipping, fishing, mining, and managing the environment of the high seas.  In addition, the Law of the Sea Treaty also harmonizes navigation and transit principles in the high seas that are already part of the customary international legal practices among states, and some legal experts argue that it will also enhance United States National Security.  However, significant opposition is growing among conservative organizations and some US Senators have expressed serious reservations against ratification of this treaty because of the fear that it will erode American sovereignty and prevent dominance of the high seas.  This ratification battle underscores the constant struggle between international organizations and states, where each attempt to structure the rules of international games to their advantage.  Interest groups within hegemonic states such as the United States are strongly pushing back as what is termed the growing global legal jurisdiction over sovereign states.


Take a look at this illuminating video primer for starters: