The authoritarian/nationalist pushback as a bottom-up challenge to regional integration organizations: an analysis of the EU and Mercosur

Nationalist and authoritarian contestation of global governance is both a recent trend and an old challenge to international institutions. Relying on case studies of the EU and Mercosur (Brexit, Poland, Venezuela), this research will focus on the reversal to authoritarianism and nationalism in member States of regional integration organizations.
This research rests on the hypothesis that these organizations, as decentralized agents of International Public Authority, are a litmus test for the analysis of international institutions’ resilience to nationalist and authoritarian tendencies. It will also contribute to the analysis of identity, security and democracy, as these values are claimed by both the member States and the regional organizations.
The nationalist or authoritarian pushback in Member States of regional organizations is a fundamental challenge to international institutions; as such, this research will give an essential perspective on current challenges to Public Law.

Transforming an Informal Political Grouping into a Legalized Intergovernmental Organization: Overcoming Legal, Capacity, and Cognitive Dissonances in Building a Rules-based ASEAN

While there are contemporary signs of ‘authoritarian pushback’ eroding global governance in the ‘liberal’ world, the converse seems to be happening in ‘soft authoritarian’ Southeast Asia. Since the ASEAN Charter (2007), ASEAN members have strived to reform their intergovernmental grouping into a formal rules- and institutions-based regional organization that stands credibly in the international legal order. Informed by rationalist-institutionalist principles, this paper examines ASEAN’s motives in becoming a rules-based Community; the correlation between general concepts of legalization and institutionalization and ASEAN’s ambition; and the critical challenges (e.g. the staunch state-centric, authoritarian outlook) that impede transformation. While it is unlikely ASEAN members would ever become ‘liberal’ states, there are key changes that would help realize their collective ambition for the organization whilst retaining an indisputably intergovernmental ASEAN in form and function.

The One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative: Reconceptualisation of State Capitalism vis-à-vis Remapping of Global Governance

Globalisation has led to asymmetric engagement and opportunities. While the new power is seeking to integrate institution building into the global policy architecture, the resulting inequity under the existing institutions trigger increased nationalist pushback. With its ample surplus financial capacity, China has been building up its soft power through the “One Belt and One Road” Initiative, which differs from existing treaty-based integration concepts. It is worth examining whether it signifies a “global public good” concept and further achieves win-win objectives. At a macro-level, this paper addresses whether the OBOR Initiative strikes a balance between achieving China’s national ambitious goals and its international obligations. Given the UN Sustainable Development Goals encapsulate, in principle, an integrated vision for sustainable development, at a micro-level, the paper explores rigorously how China deals with cross-border disputes in accordance with international law.

The Resilience of Transnational Regulatory Networks in the Age of Authoritarian Pushback

At the end of the 90s, Anne Marie Slaughter claimed transnational regulatory networks (TRNs) were an extremely promising form of global governance because of their flexibility, speed, and informality. This optimistic attitude changed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. At the beginning of this decade, David Zaring argued that the crisis showed the failure of TRNs and that political bodies such as the G20 would instead take the lead in global governance.
Ten years after the crisis, however, the developments in financial reforms show a striking resilience of transnational networks. Their role in the development of a number of global financial standards is crucial and it is not substituted by political actors such as the G20, as the Basel Committee’s process of revision of Basel III shows. The paper will seek to explain the reasons behind the success of transnational networks, both purely regulatory and hybrid ones, in an age characterized by nationalist pushback.

The Contribution of the International Economic Constitution to Authoritarian Liberalism

This paper explores the responsibility of the current international economic constitution for the authoritarian liberalist backlash against free markets and the emergence of nationalist, protectionist policies. While the authoritarian liberalist claim of unfair trade practices collapses at closer scrutiny, the structure of the international economic constitution makes societies vulnerable to such claims. Drawing on Polanyi’s insights about the preconditions of a stable, “embedded” version of capitalism, the paper shows that crucial elements of the international legal regimes governing trade, investment, taxes, money, and sovereign debt entrench a disembedded version of capitalism, which detaches the economy from its social function. Confronting authoritarian liberalism requires not only reshaping the international economic constitution, but also revealing the social conflicts behind the surface of the nationalist, protectionist discourses sustaining authoritarian liberalism.