An article by David Benger '20, Todd Carney '21, and Marina Lorenzini: The coronavirus has hit Iran hard. As the country grapples with the highest mortality rate from COVID-19 across the Middle East, the Trump administration has faced widespread calls to ease U.S. sanctions on Iran. The strict bilateral sanctions, which the Trump administration has reimposed since the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, have left the Iranian economy in a deepening recession, with foreign companies and governments remaining hesitant to engage in financial and trade exchanges with Iran. Though the Department of the Treasury purports to allow exceptions to sanctions restrictions for humanitarian aid, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, the pandemic has highlighted the cracks in this system. In the meantime, however, other nations have stepped up to fill the void, providing some of the much needed aid to the struggling Iranian people. The international community’s will to deliver medical supplies despite potential penalties from the U.S. government demonstrates a challenge to the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign. Several U..S. allies have deepened those cracks by developing their own mechanisms that deliver humanitarian aid and/or trade with Iran, some with the direct cooperation of the U.S. Treasury Department, others less so.
March 31, 2020
An article by Todd Carney '21: Over the last few years, the need for corporate legal jobs has consistently declined, despite overall job growth in America. At the same time, there has continues to be a pressing need for more lawyers. Right, it doesn’t make sense. Even though Big Law firms — which handle major corporate issues — are using more technology and other resources to cut back on attorneys, there is still a shortage of legal services for one key population. That would be for low-income people. Lawyers who can’t crack that top tier are scrambling to land jobs – even lower-paying ones – because many can’t afford not to. Law school debt, anyone? But they can’t manage to offer lower-cost services to the needy because it doesn’t pan out for them or their smaller firms financially. While some believe the government should be providing free legal services for all civil disputes, securing funding for such an endeavor is difficult. As a result, there have been many solutions proposed to make legal services cheaper. The state of Washington’s answer to this problem has been a novel one.
An article by Todd Carney '21: In February, the US and the Taliban reached an agreement to put the two sides on a path to ending the Afghan War. Despite concerns over the feasibility of the deal, some praised it as a new way to finally bring an end to almost two decades of violence. One component missing from the agreement was any discussion of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) In the past, the Taliban has disregarded IHL. The ability to incorporate IHL could have spared Afghan citizens from terror, even if the fighting did not cease. This piece evaluates how IHL could have been a part of the deal.
March 17, 2020
An article by Todd Carney '21: Though most of the headlines regarding disputed territory in Eastern Europe focus on Crimea and Kosovo, there is another region in Eastern Europe that continues to be in question, Transnistria. This blog has been one of the few outlets to consistently pay attention to the conflict. While the conflict has remained cold for quite some time, there are still uncertainties that could impact Moldova’s chance to join the EU. This piece evaluates whether international law can realistically resolve the dispute between Transnistria and Moldova.
An article by Todd Carney '21: Since 2014, Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a conflict in Donbas that has killed thousands. Despite the fighting, the two countries have been able to maintain an economic relationship centered around one industry: energy. A new Russian energy project threatens to undermine that relationship and impact U.S. energy interests in Europe. The new project, Nord Stream 2, will enable Russia to provide natural gas to Germany directly instead of going through Ukraine. This has stark consequences for Ukraine: What little leverage Ukraine holds over Russia comes largely from the fact that Russia has to export most of its natural gas through Ukraine in order to reach Europe. If Russia can bypass Ukraine, the pipeline would make that leverage obsolete. But this project impacts not only Ukraine but also the United States. Some observers in the U.S. see the pipeline as a way for Russia to subtly spread its influence in Europe by deepening European dependence on Russia for natural gas. Analysts fear this will make it more difficult for the U.S. to recruit European support in holding Russia accountable for its transgressions. In response, the U.S. has enacted sanctions to try to slow down the Nord Stream 2. Despite the sanctions, Russia is nonetheless aiming to continue the pipeline project.