Saturday, June 15, 2019

Structural Coupling Among Leadership-Center Based Networked Trading Groups in the "New Era"--The OMFIF Report, Global Public Investor 2019


(Source OMFIF interactive databank)



This post continues the Coalition for Peace and Ethics Working Group on Empire examination of the question of paths to empire performed through the choices being made by stakeholders as they adjust their operations to the emerging new era of global trade and production organized around leadership cores [领导核心] of states and undertaken by corresponding leadership cores of enterprises within demarcated market groups.

The focus this time is on the changing to projections of public power into private markets (on this theme generally in the context of sovereign investing, see, e.g., here, here, here, here, here, and here). In the face of the emerging decoupling of a singular global markets into "leadership center" networks (discussed here) sovereign investing appears to be acquiring a new character.  Where once it was focused on projections of public power into private markets and in that way to couple projections of  national interests (and in some cases regimes of public law and policy) through private, market regulatory mechanisms (e.g., here), sovereign investing appears to be moving toward a mediating role among decoupled "leadership center" networks of states. In this sense, it is useful to begin to consider the growing importance of sovereign investing as a form of structural coupling among competitive leadership network systems. 

To that end we consider the role of sovereign investing in the new global economic order. For that purpose the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) Report: Global Public Investor 2019

Thursday, June 13, 2019

CPE Working Group on Empire: Anticipating Empire and Reorganizing Multinational Enterprises--the View From the Economic Sector



(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2019 (Fringes of Hong Kong Harbor))


This post continues the Coalition for Peace and Ethics Working Group on Empire examination of the question of paths to empire performed through the choices being made by the U.S. and Chinese leadership cores [领导核心] within the theater of the U.S.-China bilateral trade negotiations.  

The Working Group on Empire (WGE) of the Coalition for Peace and Ethics looks to study and theorize the construction of systems of management and control of human activities, that is of empire in the 21st century. In a series of essays that will be made available form time to time (CPE EmpireSeries), WGE considers the re-construction of Empire that has shed its old glosses (which elites everywhere have been taught to conflate with the form and thus to amalgamate a normative judgment about technique with an evaluation of the form of empire) in the context of the now heated contest for the control of the structures of global economic trade within which these new forms of empire might be developed (first described in Economic Globalization Ascendant: Four Perspectives on the Emerging Ideology of the State in the New Global Order). What will emerge is something quite distinct--a form of organization and management of institutions and individuals within a "leadership center" network that will be quite distinct from what preceded it. WGE is composed of members of the Coalition for Peace and Ethics of whom Flora Sapio, Larry Catá Backer, and James Korman have taken a leading role; its work product is collaborative. 

Here we briefly consider what may be evidence of the way in which economic actors within critical production chains are reacting to (and hedging against) the disengagement of the United States and China  from their respective economies and they each approach distinctive paths to empire within multinational and multi-enterprise networks of production. The ramifications for corporate law--and especially the legal organization of economic production across national territories,  will pose significant challenges for lawyers and compliance managers. What is clear, though, is that the new era is arriving (Ruminations 86: An Elegy on the 75th Anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy).


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Ruminations 86: An Elegy on the 75th Anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy




 



How does one mark the passing of an age? To mark is to acknowledge; it affirms  a difference that might be incomprehensible but for the way in which the signs that mark the collective self reflection of a society are understood. To pass is to suggest a transition or movement from one state of things to another that can be recognized by reference to some set of collective judgements grounded in collective premises about the meaning of events and conditions.  An age suggests a period of time joined together by a collective consensus about the meaning of things and the ordering of relations; an age is the expression of the way on which a self reflexive community sees itself and the world around it, and how it sets itself apart from and in relation to tat world.

But to mark the passing of a age requires that those marking that passage stand outside that age. That "apartness" might itself be marked  by the passage of time, or a change to the place from which such judgment can be made. On this 75th Anniversary of the start of the Allied invasion of Europe to defeat the Axis Powers (and ultimately to bring about the birth of a new age, it is worth thinking, if only for a moment about the passing of time--and in this case about the passing of an age that is itself marked by the celebrations designed to affirm the birth of that age.  This post , then, is an elegy for the celebrations of the coming of the new age of globalization that itself now marks the passga eof the age the birth of which it is meant to celebrate.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

CPE Working Group on Empire--Part 3; The U.S. Trade Representative Response to the Chinese State Council White Paper and the Sino-Russian Statement [中华人民共和国和俄罗斯联邦关于发展 新时代全面战略协作伙伴关系的联合声明]


(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2019)



This post is the third of a series of three posts in which the CPE WGE examine the question of paths to empire performed through the choices being made by the U.S. and Chinese leadership cores [领导核心] within the theater of the U.S.-China bilateral trade negations.  

Part 1 focused on the meaning embedded in the text itself on a paragraph by paragraph basis, suggesting macro and micro strategies, challenges and opportunities in the emerging Chinese positions on global trade and its role in such systems. To that end it critically examined China's State Council [国务院White Paper, entitled China's Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations ; <关于中美经贸磋商的中方立场>; 原中国语言版本. The White Paper was distributed by the State Council Information Office on Sunday 2 June.  Part 2 drew broader insights that suggest the contours and trajectories of China's geo-political strategies in general, and their application to its management of the relationship with the United States more specifically.

This Part 3 includes the official response of the U.S. Trade Representative was short and dismissive. It relied substantially on the United States issued a 200-page report in March 2018 (Findings of the Investigation into China's Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation Under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (22 March 2018) documenting how China had engaged in a pattern of repeated commitments that were then ignored. It was posted on the Trade Representative's web site and follows below, with brief comments interlineated in red after an introduction. In a sense, then, the U.S. took the position that the Chinese State Council White Paper was the response to its March 22, 2018  Findings of the Investigation into China's Acts, Policies, and Practices. The Chinese-Russian counter-thrust, in the form of the Development of the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation Joint Statement of the New Era Comprehensive Strategic Collaboration Partnership [中华人民共和国和俄罗斯联邦关于发展 新时代全面战略协作伙伴关系的联合声明]
is also reproduced below. 

UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights Newsletter No. 2-2019




The UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky has just distributed his Newsletter No. 2-2019. Some interesting materials and thoughts. Noteworthy is his  call for contributions for the Independent Expert's forthcoming thematic report to the Human Rights Council on private debt and human rights. The Call  is still open until 31 July 2019. Any submission from interested governments, civil society organizations, academic, experts, businesses, and other stakeholders would be most welcome. More details on the call for contributions are available at this link.

The Newsletter follows.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

CPE Working Group on Empire: Part 2--A Critical Reading of China's State Council [国务院] White Paper "China's Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations" [关于中美经贸磋商的中方立场]

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2019)


This post is the second and last of a two part series in which the CPE WGE examines the question of paths to empire performed through the choices being made by the U.S. and Chinese leadership cores [领导核心] within the theater of the U.S.-China bilateral trade negations.  To that end it critically examines China's State Council [国务院White Paper, entitled China's Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations ; <关于中美经贸磋商的中方立场>; 原中国语言版本. The White Paper was distributed by the State Council Information Office on Sunday 2 June.  

For this Part 2, The CPE Working Group on Empire take a broader view.  While Part 1 focused on the meaning embedded in the text itself on a paragraph by paragraph basis, Part 2 draws broader insights that suggest the contours and trajectories of China's geo-political strategies in general, and their application to its management of the relationship with the United States more specifically. In the process it suggests the dangers of the current hyper focus on the bilateral trade negotiations that tend to obscure the much greater objectives at stake.

Part 1 and the Introduction to this critical reading of the State Council White Paper may be accessed here.

The State Council White Paper may be accessed HERE (English) (中文版).

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

On the Front Lines of the U.S. Pivot Toward the Caribbean: The U.S. Announces Further Restrictions on Travel to Cuba as Part of its Comprehensive Caribbean Strategy


I had earlier suggested that over the course of the last year, and perhaps led by a team operating through the office of the U.S: Vice President Pence, the United States has substantially and quite coherently reshaped its Caribbean (and eventually will reshape its Latin American) policies and strategies (discussed in The Pivot Toward the Caribbean: Announcement of Permission to Sue Anyone Using American Property Confiscated by Cuba and the Larger Trump Administration Strategy Coordinating Policy Against Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela).  Despite the overall theme of bilateralism that is the Basic Foreign Policy Line of the current Administration, the U.S. has now begun to apply a coordinated and regional approach to the Caribbean and Latin America.   With origins in the National Security Strategy (discussed here: Ruminations 76: From Global to Fortress America; Thoughts on "National Security Strategy of the United States" (4 Dec 2017)), the United States has begun coordinating action against identified key competitors and enemies by targeting their flanks (referenced in the Statement of the Secretary of Commerce in his press release reproduced below).

One of the great consequences of this tilt, of this pivot toward the Caribbean, is that a policy initiative that appears directed against country A may actually be directed toward country B, or to the region as a whole or some of its parts (e.g., CARICOM).  This has become especially apparent in the way in which the United States has been coordinating policy initiatives respecting Cuba and Venezuela, both identified as enemies--whose interests are aggressively adverse to those of the United, and both targeted for efforts to permit mass movements to overthrow their political and economic models (as well as their current leadership core). 

Today, 4 June 2019, the Trump Administration announced a further policy initiative designed to advance its objectives in the Caribbean. It announced the imposition of "heavy new restrictions on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, including a ban on cruises, in a bid to further pressure the Communistisland over its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro." ( Trump administration bans cruises to Cuba in clampdown on U.S. travel). 

My brief reflections, some initial reporting, links to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations 31 C.F.R. part 515 (CACR)[FEDERAL REGISTER Vol. 84; No. 108 pp. 25992-25993], and relevant official statements from the Departments of State, Treasury and Commerce follow. 

CPE Working Group on Empire: Part I--A Critical Reading of China's State Council [国务院] White Paper "China's Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations" [关于中美经贸磋商的中方立场]


(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2019)

Every great state has several paths among which it can choose, each consist with its governing ideology and culture. One might imagine, for example, that over the last several centuries in Russia, those paths tilted it east toward the Stepppe cultures and Mongolia, or the south toward Central Asian Islam and the Ottoman Turks, or west toward (northern) Europe and the Prussians.  The results are quite distinct Rissia's now constantly in tension with each other and manifested in shifting strategies for identifying, valuing, and interacting with the non-Russian world (including the non-Russian world within Russia).

For the Americans the choice is quite different, between socio-racial hierarchies and isolation within a continent sized nation, or toward the embrace of the ideal of the United States as the embodiment of the world and all of its cultures, in both cases providing a basis for global leadership.  In the 20th and 21st centuries these tilts produced both the Washington Consensus and contemporary economic globalization and variations of America First, both under the leadership of the United States as the global vanguard nation. 

Ironically, China's paths appear along lines similar to those facing the United States, though of course with Chinese characteristics. On the one hand, Chinese paths point inward toward a self referencing and self contained unit that deals with the rest of the world through carefully controlled entry and exit points and from which it develops paths toward relations of use to it. The current manifestation (and variation) of this path is the Belt and Road Initiative, perhaps. The other cluster of paths point outward toward a more robust integration in the world in which though relations are hierarchical, they tend to be open and interactions are deeply integrated.  The "Go Out" Policy and the process of Reform and Opening Up (at least practiced for a generation) might point in this direction. 

For both China and the United States, then, their respective vanguard "leadership core" [领导核心] have sought to manage the choice of paths grounded in a calculation of the respective interests of each state (within a global system in which isolation is no longer an object) and constrained by their respective governing ideologies. The choice on both sides had been stable until the time of the current "leadership core" [领导核心].  Over the past several years both have sought to rethink the parameters of what had been a dynamic but relatively stable relationship as each embraced the idea that they both operated at the moment of the start of a great "new era" [新时代].  This New Era [新时代] was to be manifested in the most important sector of national engagement--its economic model within globalization. 

It ought to come as no surprise (at least in retrospect), that the flash point for choosing the new path in the "new era" [新时代] would find expression at the core of the framing relations that drives global economic activity--the China-US economic and trade negotiations. It is here that both states have been playing out the process (mostly internal and opaque except to the leadership and their servants) of choosing their respective paths consistent with their ideologies which in turn will define not just their bilateral relations, but also the way in which both states approach the world in the context of a globalization that cannot be avoided.  China, especially, appears to face a choice.  Having spent the greater part of the time it had embraced the "Reform and Opening Up" period deeply integrating its economy with that of the world--a choice accelerated with China's Accession to the WTO and its more robust engagement in the institutions of then dominant global economic principles--China appears now to be considering the value of a new path. That path would be grounded on the disentangling of its generalized connection with an unstructured environment of production and substituting in its stead a much more focused and directed set of streams of activity over which it will preside.  To that end, the principal task is to disentangle the Chinese and U.S. economies.  And the trade negotiations provide the perfect cover for the development, articulation and implementation of that choice (formally connected to the receding system but effectively substituting another). In that respect, of course, the Chinese are also providing substantial (and critically necessary) support to the leadership core of the United States who, within the structures of their own governing ideology have also faced this choice and appear as well willing  to follow suit.

The Working Group on Empire (WGE) of the Coalition for Peace and Ethics looks to study and theorize the construction of systems of management and control of human activities, that is of empire in the 21st century. In a series of essays that will be made available form time to time (CPE EmpireSeries) WGE considers the re-construction of Empire shorn of its old glosses (which elites everywhere have been taught to conflate with the form and thus to amalgamate a normative judgment about technique with an evaluation of the form of empire) in the context of the now heated contest for the control of the structures of global economic trade within which these new forms of empire might be developed. WGE is composed of members of the Coalition for Peace and Ethics of whom Flora Sapio, Larry Catá Backer, and James Korman have taken a leading role; its work product is collaborative.

This post is the first of a series of two posts in which the CPE WGE examine the question of paths to empire performed through the choices being made by the U.S. and Chinese leadership cores [领导核心] within the theater of the U.S.-China bilateral trade negations.  To that end it critically examines China's State Council [国务院White Paper, entitled China's Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations ; <关于中美经贸磋商的中方立场>; 原中国语言版本. The White Paper was distributed by the State Council Information Office on Sunday 2 June.  

For this Part I the critical analysis is embedded in the English text of the White Paper Annotation in RED (original in black).  The original Chinese version <关于中美经贸磋商的中方立场> then follows--原中国语言版本如下印刷. Part 2 may be accessed HERE.


Sunday, June 02, 2019

Joel Slawotsky: On "China's Long March"





Joel Slawotsky, of the Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel, and the Law and Business Schools of the College of Management, Rishon LeZion, Israel has guest blogged for "Law at the End of the Day" on issues relating to globalization, international law and relations, and corporate liability under international law. He has served as Guest Editor of the Sovereign Wealth Fund special issue of Qatar University International Review of Law (IRL) (2015).

He has very kindly produced a marvelously insightful essay: China's Long March. The title is meant to allude both to the famous "long March" of the Chinese Communists in the 1930s, as much as recent reporting on the way in which some have written about a "Long March" strategy that appears to the core of Chinese strategic choices in its engagement with the United States (e.g., The new Long March -- Xi's 15-year battle plan with the US), a connection that Xi Jinping has himself deployed in his for-public-consumption-globally statements (China Faces New ‘Long March’ as Trade War Intensifies, Xi Jinping Says). Professor Slawotsky concludes that "developments described above point to an ascendant China and corroborate China’s status as a potent and effective hegemonic rival. Furthermore, U.S. allies perhaps sensing a transformation underway seem to be hedging their bets or at least unwilling to openly embrace the U.S. open confrontation with China. Therefore, the risks over the longer-term of U.S. allies aligning with China cannot be discounted. U.S. allies’ self-interested embrace of China, should it gain critical mass, would constitute a transformative geo-strategic shift imperiling the hegemonic status of the United States."

To read more essays, see e.g., "Rethinking Financial Crimes and Violations of International Law", Jan. 9, 2013; "Corporate Liability Under The Alien Tort Statute: The Latest Twist" April 26, 2014) and on issues of multilateral trade and finance (Joel Slawotsky Reports From Chinese University of Hong Kong: Asia FDI Forum II--China's Three-Prong Investment Strategy: Bilateral, Regional, and Global Tracks; Joel Slawotsky--Essay "On the potential shift from the present-day architects to new architects on the definition of international law" (March 16, 2017); Joel Slawotsky: "Principled Realism: Thoughts on the New National Security Strategy" (Jan- 11. 2018); Joel Slawotsky: "The Longer-Term Ramifications of China’s BRI Jurisprudence".

The Essay follows below.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

From Markets as Governance to Governance Through Markets--Considering President Trump's "Statement Regarding Emergency Measures to Address the Border Crisis" and the Mexican Response, All With Chinese Characteristics



By now it is well known that President Donal Trump has announced an intention to impose a series of increasing tariffs on Mexican goods if Mexico does not demonstrate to his satisfaction immediate progress in efforts to stem the flow of migrants through Mexico. Less well known among American audiences but equally important has been the response of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has both objected to the policy and its punitive intent and also sought to find common ground for advancing both nation's interests. This appeared in Mexican social media and then widely reported. For news coverage see, here, here, here, and here. At the same time, the Chinese state announced the roll out of a new blacklist policy against economic actors and individuals deemed unfriendly or unhelpful to China and its business interests. This was undertaken, in part, in response to the actions of the United States which had recently announced a blacklist of Huawei, and China ceased purchasing American soybeans (and threatened the supply of rare earths) as part of its ongoing dispute with China about the terms of their bilateral trade.

Both President Trump's Statement explaining the imposition of tariffs, and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's response letter (Spanish original with my English translation) follows, along with brief reflections. Those reflections suggest the way that profound changes are already occurring in the normative structures of economic globalization.  Principally it suggests the way in which global economic stakeholders are increasingly retreating from private market driven governance to state to state mechanisms.  But these are not a reactionary move toward pre-1945 models.  It is too late for that. Instead there is a Chinese model that suggests the contours of the new intertwining of economics and politics in the role of states within and through production chains.  These new models of  state action arise within environments of free movement of goods and capital in which markets and production across borders define the extent of effective state projections of power.  These will define  the new forms of synergies between private sector driven governance (in which the state itself may be an actor) at the micro-level delegated to markets and compliance responsibilities of entities, while at the same time strengthening the role of the state (the the largest governmentalized non-state enterprises) in driving macro-economic decision making through their economic instrumentalities (whether public or private in organization).