| CRISES, WARS AND FRACTURES IN THE INTERNATIONAL
Lessons from history on their recurrence and their impact on world trade
por Félix Peña
As we pointed out in our March newsletter, it is important
to bear in mind that in any country there are at least three perspectives
when defining an international trade insertion strategy. These are the
national perspective, the perspective of the country's geographical region
and the global perspective.
We can identify several issues that could be part
of an agenda of common competitive advantages for the countries of the
South American region. These are: environmental protection and policies
related to the effects of climate change; the variety of natural resources,
particularly those related to the production of food and other smart goods;
the cultural convergence resulting from the miscegenation that characterizes
the region; and belonging to the South Atlantic, which is shared to a
large extent with the South African region.
Perhaps the time has come to develop more systematically
a network of international action-oriented think tanks in the South American
countries. Such a network, if it also had the support and active participation
of developmental financing agencies operating in the region, would help
harness the full potential that could result from LAIA conceived as a
useful instrument for international trade, integration and the development
of South American countries.
The current crisis in Ukraine reinforces the need to analyze integration
processes, such as those currently underway in South America and Latin
America, especially in the context of Mercosur, with a broad approach
that includes all the factors that affect trade and economic development,
but which extend to the strengthening of the conditions for the prevalence
of peace and political stability in the region as a whole.
The war in Ukraine has unleashed tensions and uncertainties which could
even be intensifying at the time of writing this newsletter. Their future
implications are difficult to forecast, but they can be imagined as soon
as we take into account historical experiences such as those of the last
two world wars of the last century.
This is another sign of the times. Both the current tensions and the
events that generate them would indicate that we are entering a new cycle
in the international order that will affect world trade. It could even
mean entering an anarchic world, a world of crises, wars and fragmentation
with effects on global trade that are difficult to foresee.
This leads us to reflect on how to facilitate the design of an effective
international trade insertion strategy in our country and in the South
American region. As we pointed out in our previous Newsletter, it is necessary
to bear in mind that in any country there are at least three perspectives
when defining such a strategy. These are the national perspective, the
perspective of the geographical region to which a country belongs, and
the global perspective.
The first is the national perspective itself. It is the one that enables
a country to integrate into world markets in consonance with what it understands
to be its interests, priorities and possibilities. This means having an
updated diagnosis of what it needs and can obtain from other markets,
in terms of goods, services, technologies and financing. It also implies
having an adequate organization, both at a business and governmental level,
to influence the effectiveness of the actions aimed at achieving the objectives
that are favored for the country's international insertion.
At the level of the diagnosis of a country's international context, the
quality of the action-oriented competitive intelligence of the areas of
analysis and research available in the country itself acquires great importance.
This also includes networks of connections with similar institutions in
The second perspective is the regional one. It refers to the degree of
practical knowledge available in a country with respect to the other countries
of the geographical region to which it belongs. It is a knowledge that
implies quality and precision in the diagnosis of a country's own geographical
region, including the many actors influencing foreign trade; their needs,
preferences and possibilities.
The third is the global perspective, that is, knowledge of the factors
and protagonists that affect the country's ability to compete in other
countries and regions of the global scenario. Today it is necessary to
have a strong connection and sound competitive intelligence about many
countries. And they outweigh what South American countries, especially
the smaller ones, can achieve on their own. This reinforces even more
the convenience of combining efforts, especially with other countries
in the region.
By way of example, we can mention some issues that could be part of an
agenda of common competitive advantages of the countries in the South
American region. These are: environmental protection and policies related
to the effects of climate change; the variety of natural resources, particularly
those linked to the production of food and other smart goods; cultural
convergence as a result of the miscegenation that characterizes the region;
and belonging to the South Atlantic, shared to a large extent with the
region of South Africa.
In light of the recent experience of the war in Ukraine, one of the clear
advantages of the South American countries is the fact that they have
not developed nuclear weapons. This advantage of the South American region,
which is also common to the whole of Latin America, has a very special
significance, both politically and economically. The experience resulting
from the relationship between Argentina and Brazil since the eighties
should be valued from such a perspective. In this regard, it is worth
remembering one of the meetings held in 1980, which may be considered
as one of the starting points of the agreements later reached by the governments
of Presidents Alfonsín and Sarney. (See the special issue on Brazil-Argentina
published by the Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional (IBRI),
Perhaps the time has come for the South American region to develop a
network of international action-oriented think tanks that includes the
above-mentioned issues in its agenda. Its main objective would be to foster
the creation of possible joint work programs to be undertaken in the spheres
of government, business, culture, and R&D.
In recent years, South American countries, even jointly with other Latin
American countries, have made efforts to strengthen their capacity for
commercial action in the international arena. Their results, however,
have been inferior in terms of effectiveness and sustainability to those
obtained by other regions.
A network such as the one suggested, which would also have the support
and active participation of the developmental financing agencies operating
in the South American region, would even make it possible to harness the
full potential that could result from LAIA, conceived as an instrument
for international trade, integration and development of the South American
countries. Also important would be the simultaneous joint effort together
with other countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region. In addition,
the RIAL (Latin American Council on International Relations) could also
play an effective role in this regard.
Moreover, it is also possible that, depending on how the current crisis
in Ukraine evolves, the positive view of regional integration processes
will increase, for both economic and political reasons. The impact on
the European Union, for example, could be severe. The Ukrainian government
has already expressed its interest in accelerating its incorporation into
the EU, precisely because of the experience gained in the aftermath of
World War II. Let us remember that the ideas that originated in 1950,
among others with Jean Monnet, Robert Schumann and Konrad Adenauer, were
based on the need to avoid the recurrence of the factors that had led
to the two World Wars of the last century.
The current crisis in Ukraine has, therefore, strengthened the need
to analyze integration processes such as those currently underway in South
America and Latin America, especially within Mercosur, with a broad approach
that certainly considers all the factors that affect trade and economic
development, but which transcend to the level of strengthening the conditions
for the predominance of peace and political stability in the region as
- Ackerman, Elliot; Stavridis, Admiral James, "2034. A Novel of
the Next World War", Penguin Books, New York 2022.
- Acharya, Amitav, "Europe just became the world's more dangerous
place", East Asia Forum, 21 March 2022, en https://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Amstrong, Shiro, "The Economic consequences of Russia's invasion
of Ukraine", East Asia Forum, 20 March 2022, en https://www.eastaasiaforum.org.
- Amstrong Shiro; Wetsland, Tom, "The lessons of the economic war
on Russia", East Asia Forum, 20 March 2022, en https://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Amstrong, Shiro, "Avoiding a Ukraine-induced ,global food crisis
will take global leadership", 13 March 2022, en https://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Bhatnagar, Stuti, "The Indian piece of the Russia-Ukraine puzzle",
East Asia Forum, 24 Marche 2022, en https://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- BID-INTAL, "Comercio e Integración en el Mundo post.COVID-19.
Oportunidades y desafíos para América Latina y el Caribe",
Prólogo de Ana Basco, Directora del BID-INTAL, Buenos Aires 2021.
- Cohen, Stephen F., "War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine
to Trump & Russigate", Hot Books, New York 2019.
- Fraser, Nicholas; Navarro, Marysa, "The Real Lives of Eva Perón",
Andre Deutsch, London 2003.
- Granés, Carlos, "Delirio Americano. Una historia cultural
y política de América Latina", Taurus, Barcelona
- Hass, Ryan, "Ukraine an opportunity to test China's strategic
outlook", East Asia Forum, 9 March 2022, en https://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Hathaway, Oona A., "International Law Goes to War in Ukraine.
The Legal Pushback to Russia's Invasion", Foreign Affairs, March
- Herron, Francis, "Letters from the Argentine", G.P.Putnam's
Sons, New York 1943.
- Mulder, Nicholas, "The Economic Weapon. The Rise of Sanctions
as a Tool of Modern War", Yale University Press, New Haven and
- Mulder, Nicholas, "The Toll of Economic War. How Sanctions on
Russia Will Upend the Global Order", Foreign Affairs, March 22,
- Myers, Steven Lee, "El Nuevo zar. Ascenso y reinado de Vladimir
Putin", Península - Huellas, Barcelona 2018.
- Norrlöf, Carla, "The New Economic Containment. Russian Sanctions
Signal Commitment to International Order", Foreign Affairs, March
- Pempel, T.J., "A Region of Regimes. Prosperity & Plunder
in the Asia-Pacific", Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London,
- Peña, Félix. "Por qué es importante que
los países sudamericanos trabajen en red", diario La Nación,
suplemento comercio exterior, 10 de marzo 2022, página 3.
- Petro Urrego, Gustavo, "Una Vida, Muchas Vidas", Planeta
- Posen, Adam S., "The End of Globalization? What Russia's War
in Ukraine Means for the World Economy?", Foreign Affairs, March
- Quinqquo, Jia, "China-US cooperation is the key to peace",
East Asia Forum 14 March 2022, en https://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Sarotte, Mary Elise, "Dealing with the Devil. East Germany, Dëtente,
and Ostpolitik, 1969-1973", The University of North Carolina Press,
Chapel Hill and London 2001
- Sarotte, Mary Elise, "1989. The Struggle to Create Post-Cold
War Europe", Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford 2009.
- Stares, Paul B., "Preventive Engagement. How America can Avoid
War, Stay Strong, and Keep the Peace", A Council on Foreign Relations
Book, Columbia University Press, New York 2018.
- Stares, Paul B., "Preparing for the Next Foreign Policy Crisis.
What the United States Should Do", Discussion Paper, Council on
Foreign Relations, Center for Preventive Action, New York 2019.
- Stares, Paul B., Jia Quingguo, Tocci, Nathalie, Jaishankar, Dhruva,
Kortunov, Andrey, "Perspectives on a Changing World Order",
Discussion Paper Series on Managing Global Disorder n° 1,New York
- Timmer, Peter, "Ukraine crisis feeds fears of another food crisis",
East Asia Forum, 13 March 2022, en https://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Warleigh-Lack, Alex. "European Union - The Basics", Routledge-
Second Edition, London and New York 2009.
- Yofre, Juan B., "La Trampa. Por qué y cómo el proceso
tomó la decisión de ocupar las Malvinas. Cronología
documentada de un fracaso", Sudamericana, Buenos Aires 2022.
Félix Peña es Director
del Instituto de Comercio Internacional de la Fundación ICBC; Director
de la Maestría en Relaciones Comerciales Internacionales de la
Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF); Miembro del Comité
Ejecutivo del Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (CARI).
Miembro del Brains Trust del Evian Group. Ampliar