A World in Flux: The Waning of International Cooperation and the Rise of Isolationism in the New Global Climate

Katrina Fetsch
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague ruled against China over territorial claims in the South China Sea. China asserts sovereignty over a region containing the island of Taiwan, as well as areas claimed by China’s neighbors. China rejected the court’s ruling on the grounds that the PCA did not have authority to hear the case and maintains its claim on the territory.[1] This stance by China parallels actions taken by other world superpowers (and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) such as the United States, Russia, and United Kingdom, in which they also seem to ignore rulings by international tribunals.[2] If the most powerful countries in the world feel free to disregard international law, there is a question of whether this is indeed a rising trend and what implications such a trend might have for the future of the international system. This inquiry is even more pertinent in light of shifting tides around the world and the new, outspokenly isolationist regime in the United States. Continue reading