In the midst of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, complains of illegal actions within the WTO threaten the stability of the world's most central international trade organization. China brings the ongoing trade war to WTO by initiating the legal process to challenge U.S. tariffs on some $234 billion worth of goods. The U.S. in turn has countered by "blocking the appointment of judges who could rule it" and citing actions by the Chinese within the WTO of "grossly unfair and trade-distorting forced technology policies and practices". The implications of the U.S. and China taking these trade disputes to the WTO could have major consequences for the future of this organization. The WTO's Appellate Body is the top court of world trade, and unless changes are made, this important body within the WTO may cease to exist in the near future. As the two most influential members of the WTO, the actions of both China and the U.S. leave few members unaffected, which could jeopardize the future of international free trade.
In his article for Foreign Affairs David Cohen talks about the Trump administration's policy towards sanctions. He talks about how the conditional sanctions the Trump administrations has placed on Iran and now Venezuela will be ineffective because the changes the administration is trying to coerce will essentially mean regime change for the two nations. Cohen goes on to state that these will be ultimately ineffective because the relative cost of the sanctions is lower than the cost of losing power. This means that the leaders of Iran and Venezuela are more willing to bear the pain of the sanctions than lose the regime. This goes along with the lesson we had on sanctions in a couple of ways. First we learned that sanctions are used either as a method of deterrence or coercion. This means that the sanctions inflict financial and economic pain to make the target of the sanctions take or not take an action. These sanctions are meant to cause political changes that will in essence mean a change of regime which is why they will fail. They are effective in causing pain; however, there is not enough sanctions in the world to make it worth losing power. Article link: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2019-04-29/sanctions-cant-spark-regime-change