Exercises in Futility: Can Military Exercises Constitute Provocation for an Attack in Anticipatory Self-Defense?

Cody Marden, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

In November 1983 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conducted a ten day military exercise known as Able Archer 83. This exercise was arguably the closest the world has ever come to WWIII. The realistic nature of the exercises, combined with the deteriorating relations with the U.S., led many in the USSR to suspect that Able Archer could be a ruse that was actually obscuring preparations for a U.S. first strike.[1] In response to the exercises the USSR placed their nuclear arsenal on standby and placed air units in East Germany and Poland on alert.[2] Luckily, the situation defused itself with the end of the NATO exercise.[3] Continue reading

UN Peacekeeping Forces: Blind Boxers and Blue-Hatted sitting Ducks

Richard Self, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

“UN Peacekeepers provide security and the political and peacebuilding support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.”[1]

The stated mission of the United Nations Peacekeeping forces is an admirable one, but in the wake of 2015’s evolving global threats, the principles of the Peacekeeping forces have markedly constrained the mission from becoming one that can achieve the primary goal of the United Nations as enumerated in Article 1(1) of the UN Charter: “to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures and removal of threats to the peace”.[2] Continue reading

The European Union Cracks Down on Member State Corporate Tax Agreements

Corina McIntyre, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

On October 21, 2015, the European Commission ruled that Luxembourg and the Netherlands granted illegal tax agreements to Fiat Finance and Trade and Starbucks.  In essence, the European Commission determined that these tax agreements created anticompetitive effects by granting these multinational corporations unfair tax advantages.  Continue reading

Common Reporting Standard (CRS): Development and Limitations

Sihang Zhang, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

In recent years, the ease of establishing accounts at foreign financial institutions, combined with financial advisors who routinely establish foreign structures to hide income, create a unique risk of tax evasion for governmental authority, especially in a self-assessed tax system, where taxpayers may choose not to comply with their domestic tax reporting obligations. Indeed, the increasingly globalized and borderless world of finance makes it a lot more “tempting” for wealthy people to hide their money abroad. Against the backdrop of rising public anger about tax avoidance and evasion, the G20 finance ministers endorsed automatic exchange as the new tax transparency standard on April 19, 2013.[i] Two years later, on October 29, 2014, 51 jurisdictions (39 were represented at ministerial level), signed a multilateral competent authority agreement to automatically exchange information based on Article 6 of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.[ii] More than 65 jurisdictions publicly committed to implementation. Continue reading

Shifts in Policies of War on Drugs in the Americas

Ashley Harshaw, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

The Supreme Court of Mexico, in a 4 to 1 vote, has declared that four plaintiffs – members of a cannabis club – are allowed to grow, transport and use marijuana for recreational purposes. This marks the latest in a series of shifts in the Americas away from past stringent policies of the War on Drugs. Although the decision does not legalize marijuana across Mexico, basing the decision on human rights grounds provides a powerful precedent for a range of challenges to restrictive drug use laws. This precedent could set into motion significant changes in drug policy not only in Mexico, but also across the region more broadly.[1] Continue reading

To Adjudicate or Not to Adjudicate? Issues of Jurisdiction and Comity in the U.S. Volkswagen Litigation

Emily Golding, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

In September, news that over 11 million Volkswagen diesel vehicles worldwide had been equipped with software used to defeat emissions tests rocked the international community. In the days following the publication of the scandal, Volkswagen stock dropped nearly 30%.[1] The deception by the world’s top-selling car maker continues to affect not only its shareholders and its customers, but its reach extends to governments, international regulating bodies, and the international motor industry as a whole. Continue reading

The Safe Harbor Principles: What They Were and What Their Invalidation Means

Silvia Raithel, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

In 1995, the European Parliament and Council passed the Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC) (the “Directive”).[1] The Directive requires that the transfer of personal data out of the European Economic Area to another country only take place if the other country ensures an adequate level of protection for the data.[2]  Adequate protection can be established by virtue of a country’s domestic law or international commitments.[3] Continue reading

Do International Trade and Human Rights Law Allow “Fat Taxes”?

Alicia McCaffrey, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

Many in the U.S. remember the controversy that ensued when Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempted to enact a ban on the sale of large containers of soda in New York City.[1] While the national response was rather negative (and in fact a New York state judge later overruled the regulation[2]), the proposed ban would not have been unusual in the international context. Several countries, most of which are European, have enacted similar regulations with varying degrees of success.[3] This article examines whether these kinds of “Fat Taxes” are in accordance with international law. Continue reading

Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, Can China Adversely Possess and Militarize Islands of the South China Sea?

Lauren Richards, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

China’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea threatens the right of innocent passage by States and, therefore, may pose a threat to international law.[1] The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) establishes a 200-mile continental shelf beyond the coastal State.[2] This entitles the coastal State to an additional 200 miles beyond the border of its territorial sea, which extends 12 miles from the coastal State.[3] In the territorial sea and continental shelf, all States have a right of continuous, expeditious, and innocent passage.[4] China claims a significant portion of the territory of the South China Sea as its own over the protestation of several other States in the region.[5] As a result of recent militarization of man-made islands in the South China Sea, China is potentially threatening the right of passage of these States, and others. Continue reading