International Law Applied
Kal Raustiala writes and teaches in the areas of international law and international relations. He holds a joint appointment between the UCLA Law School and the UCLA International Institute, where he teaches in the Program on Global Studies. He is also director of the UCLA Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations (click here to read about this appointment). The Burkle Center is UCLA's primary academic unit that fosters interdisciplinary research and policy-oriented teaching on the role of the United States in global cooperation and conflict, and military, political, social and economic affairs.
Professor Raustiala's research focuses on international cooperation and conflict in areas such as environment, trade, armed conflict, dispute resolution, and intellectual property. Recent publications include "The Global Struggle Over Geographic Indications," European Journal of International Law (2007), "The Piracy Paradox: Innovation and Intellectual Property in Fashion Design" (with Chris Sprigman), Virginia Law Review (2006) and "Form and Substance in International Agreements", American Journal of International Law (2005), which won the 2005 Francis Deak Prize from the American Society of International Law. His current book about the extraterritorial reach of American law, Does the Constitution Follow the Flag?, will be published by Oxford University Press in May 2009.
Professor Raustiala has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, Princeton University, and the University of Chicago Law School. Prior to coming to UCLA he was a research fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at The Brookings Institution, a Peccei Scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems, and an assistant professor of politics at Brandeis University. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and editorial board of International Organization, he is a frequent media contributor whose writing has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the New Republic, the New Yorker, the International Herald Tribune and Le Monde.
Question: Could you rate the foreign policy outlook of the candidates?
Kal Raustiala: I’m a Democrat and so I will be voting for the Democratic candidate this fall and I think when you look at the— First of all, both Democratic candidates have excellent foreign policy advisers and so I think in general their positions are- I think are well thought out, and again I don’t agree with everything about them. John McCain is more complicated. He takes-- It’s hard to say who John McCain is right now because he’s sort of morphing into some much more right wing version of himself, which may swing back again in the fall, but John McCain has also been advised by some good people so I guess-
Question: Can international law resolve the Israeli/Palestine conflict?
Kal Raustiala: I think that’s a good example of something that’s got to be solved diplomatically and politically after the fact. You could have a treaty that ratifies the agreement that’s struck but it’s not something where- it’s not a role for lawyers first and foremost. It’s a role for political leaders who can show vision and be creative and bring together people that are deeply opposed, and I think that’s fundamentally a political process.
Question: What important international legal issues are flying under the radar?
Kal Raustiala: It’s a good question. I guess it depends on whose radar it is. I think one of the really big ones that has to be solved--I wouldn’t say this is an under the radar issue but it hasn’t gotten sufficient attention--is climate change, and so there’s no question in my mind that this is one of the most compelling and deeply concerning issues out there today. And we’re really grappling with what to do and the U.S. has to play a leadership role. Right now we are facing the question of what happens after the Kyoto Protocol which was signed in 1997. That agreement essentially comes to an end in 2012 so we’re not that far away and we need to have a much more aggressive, much more serious next agreement. That process has just begun. The key question I think will really be will the U.S. play a leadership role or will it continue to play the kind of obstructionist role that it’s played in the past? And I don’t want to pin that on the Bush administration. This administration has been particularly bad but the Clinton administration wasn’t all that great either so what we need is real leadership from the U.S. if this issue’s going to be tackled effectively, and I think that’s one of the major, major questions coming down the pike.
Raustalia sizes up John McCain, the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict, and the Kyoto Protocol.
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Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.
For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.
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