| AN UNCERTAIN AND PROFOUNDLY CHANGING WORLD
Its potential effects on the development of world trade
The diversity of options for international insertion
is accompanied by a growing uncertainty about the potential effects -even
long term- of events and situations originating in other countries.
This is all the more evident when, due to either geographic
location or relative power, the impact can be felt by other countries
and the international system as a whole.
Three recent books are useful to help us understand
these contemporary processes. Likewise, a recent article by Juan Gabriel
Tokatlián helps identify the options open to Argentina and the
countries of the region if the competition for global economic leadership
between the United States and China were to intensify.
The changes observed today at multiple levels of international
relations, both global and regional, increase the need to seek an intelligent
understanding of the effects that they would have on the outlook of any
country and its geographic region.
Such effects can be profound for Argentina and the
South American geographic space. This is one more reason to join efforts
with our neighbors to develop a shared understanding of the international
reality that is not only intelligent but also action-oriented.
Today's world is more densely populated and increasingly connected.
It also shows a growing diversity in the cultural, political and economic
preferences of its citizens.
The options available to the people of a country to link up with the
rest of the world have also multiplied. This can be seen, among other
things, in the foreign trade of goods and services, in productive investments,
in access to technical knowledge, culture, tourism, vocational training
The diversity of options for international insertion is accompanied by
a growing uncertainty about the potential effects -even in the long term-
of events and situations originating in other countries.
This is still more obvious when, due to the geographic location and relative
power, the impact can be felt on other countries and on the international
system in general. Two current examples illustrate this view.
The first is the case of the war between Russia and Ukraine. Two months
after the Russian invasion, it is still difficult to predict the future
evolution of the conflict and its duration. What is clear is that it has
implications that transcend the military aspect and penetrate deeply into
the politics, economy and social development of the respective countries.
It also has notorious impacts on both the European and Eurasian regions,
which are projected to the global level, as is the case, for example,
of the world trade in foodstuffs and the environment.
Another example is what was observed in the recent elections in France.
The victory of President Emmanuel Macron, on April 24, should be assessed
in view of the results of the upcoming legislative elections next June,
as well as of the impact that these and the elections in other European
countries may have on the development of the European Union. In both cases,
what we are seeing has deep roots that go beyond the current international
Three recent books are useful in order to understand these contemporary
processes, even in the perspective of a country's foreign trade development.
The first of these books helps understand the deeper roots of the current
crisis in Ukraine, especially within the context of the European region.
The work, entitled "Blood and Ruins. The Last Imperial War (1931-1945)",
was written by Richard Overy (for more details, see the recommended reading
section of our March 2022 newsletter). A central tenet of this book on
the last imperial war is the need to acknowledge that what linked the
different areas and forms of conflict evident in World War II and earlier
was the existence of a global imperial order, dominated mainly by Britain
and France. This gave rise to and stimulated ambitions in Japan, Italy
and Germany to ensure their survival and to express their national identity
through the conquest of land for their own imperial domain.
The second book (in French) helps understand the changes that have taken
place in France in recent years, partly as a consequence of migration
but, above all, of the fragmentation resulting from the multiple ruptures
that have taken place on the educational, geographic, social, generational,
ideological and ethno-cultural levels, generating more or less extended
islands and islets. We are referring to "L'Archipel Francais. Naissance
d'une nation multiple et divisée", by Jérome Fourquet
(for more information on this work refer to the recommended reading of
our March 2022 newsletter).
The third book, "The United States vs. China. The Quest for Global
Economic Leadership", by Fred Bergsten, has just been published (see
the details under recommended reading at the end of this newsletter).
Its main topic is the competition for global economic leadership between
the United States and China. The book analyzes the ability and willingness
of the two countries to exercise that leadership and examines possible
systemic alternatives. These are: a G-0 world with no effective leadership
and which could be stable or unstable; a new G-1 with Chinese characteristics;
and a G-2 based on co-leadership between the two global superpowers. The
book ends with conclusions and recommendations for a policy of conditional
competitive cooperation, starting with steps towards a stable G-0 in the
short term and an informal, but effective, G-2 in the long term.
A very recent article by Juan Gabriel Tokatlián (listed as recommended
reading of this newsletter) helps understand the options open to Argentina
and the countries of the region if the competition for global economic
leadership between the United States and China continues to intensify.
In the conclusion Tokatlián states: "a diplomacy that seeks
an equidistant position between Washington and Beijing is not an option:
it is a necessity".
The changes that can be witnessed today at the multiple levels of international
relations, both global and regional, heighten the need to seek an intelligent
understanding of the effects they would have on the development of foreign
trade, both from the perspective of a country and of its geographical
These changes can be profound for Argentina and the South American geographic
space. It is one more reason to join efforts with our neighbors in order
to develop a shared understanding of the international reality that is
both intelligent and action-oriented (in this regard, refer to the initiative
described in our April 2022 newsletter).
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a post-invasion world", East Asia Forum, April 21, 2022, www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Overy, Richard, "Blood and Ruins. The Last Imperial War, 1931-1945",
Viking, Penguin Random House, New York 2022.
- Patil, Sameer, "Ukraine sanctions stress test US-India relations",
East Asia Forum, April 21, 2022, www.eastasiaforum.org.
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Asia's decarbonization efforts", East Asia Forum, April 26, 2022,
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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