Tags: Snowden | Lack | International | Cooperation

Snowden Affair Reveals Fragility of International Cooperation

By    |   Sunday, 04 Aug 2013 02:23 PM

World leaders are confident they can avoid another global economic meltdown with international cooperation. The Edward Snowden affair shows how removed from reality that belief is, writes a professor of history and international affairs in an article for Project Syndicate.

"The Snowden affair has blown up any illusion about trust between leaders — and also about leaders' competence," writes Harold James, a professor at Princeton University. "By granting Snowden asylum for one year, Russian President Vladimir Putin will have the bomber in his midst when he hosts this year's summit in Saint Petersburg."

Snowden's revelations that the British spied on top government officials attending the G-20 London summit in 2009 discredited the summit process, James says. Leaders may be unable to recreate genuine intimacy of previous summits.

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"And, with the espionage apparently directed mostly at representatives of emerging economies, the gulf between the advanced countries and those on the rise has widened further."

Credibility of the IMF and the G-20, which were most effective in handling the 2008-09 financial crises, has already been eroding.

No one seems to care much, James laments. "They should. There are likely to be many more financial fires in various locations, and the world needs a fire brigade to put them out."

The IMF has made little progress toward reform needed to give emerging markets a greater voice, and the recent Great Recession further discredited it, James states.

The crisis initially seemed like an American phenomenon, and the IMF’s heavy involvement in the prolonged euro crisis looked like preferential treatment for Europe.

A European, and another French national, replaced the IMF's managing director, which was "incomprehensible" to large emerging-market countries. The G-7 group of countries was no longer viewed as legitimate. Dominated by the U.S., it included countries that had caused the problems and too many mid-size European countries.

The G-20, by contrast, obtained more legitimacy by including emergingmarket countries, according to James.

The G-20 London summit in 2009 reached agreements on giving the World Bank and the IMF needed resources and legitimacy. However, its success was short lived, James writes, calling following summits "lame."

Turkey, South Africa and Russia were furious about the revelations that their top officials were spied on and bugged during the 2009 summit, according to the Guardian.

"If these allegations are true, this is going to be scandalous for the U.K.," said a spokesman for Turkey, according to the Guardian. "At a time when international cooperation depends on mutual trust, respect and transparency, such behavior by an allied country is unacceptable."

Declassified: ‘Financial War’ Could Wipe Out 50% of Your Wealth

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World leaders are confident they can avoid another global economic meltdown with international cooperation. The Edward Snowden affair shows how removed from reality that belief is, writes a Princeton University professor.
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2013-23-04
Sunday, 04 Aug 2013 02:23 PM
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