Russia, Pariah Statehood, and the Future of Global Economic Governance.

In an international system that, for the most part, strives to create a rules-based system in which the rights of states and human rights are respected, there are states that defy those norms. These pariah states play an interesting role in the dynamics of international politics, especially in terms of their participation in international institutions, as they flout these rules in the pursuit of gains in areas, in which generally, they are prohibited from participating. From Iran and North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear arsenal in a time when nuclear non-proliferation is an accepted norm to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, attaining the status of an international pariah can be caused by various factors. Most recently, Russia has reached pariah status through its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russia's role as a major power in the international system and its international institutions has led to many being surprised by the strong rebuke the state has faced from the West and beyond. Sanction after sanction, seeking to cripple the Russian economy and its ability to wage war, have raised the question of Russia's right to participate in international institutions, especially those relating to global economic governance, as at least a significant portion of the international system has enacted sanctions against the Russian economy. (1) Questions have even been raised regarding Russia's willingness to continue their membership in these organizations. (2) Looking at cases in the recent past of pariah states, it can be seen that generally, their participation or nonparticipation in these institutions is varied. By finding themselves with a powerful pariah in their midst, international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO), and the World Bank must decide if they will allow Russia to continue to participate in the forums and programs that they have created. Looking at examples from around the globe, we can see that a meaningful future of Russia in global economic governance, appears to be quite bleak.

Through examining various cases of pariah states that are currently members (or non-members) of certain global economic governance institutions, this study examines what can be expected from the international system's newest pariah. While it is unlikely that the Russians will follow the exact same path and behavior of any one of its fellow pariahs, these cases demonstrate what exactly these institutions can expect from having such a powerful pariah in their midst.

Pariah States

When it comes to pariah states, reaching an exact definition can be quite complicated as there is a lively debate regarding what exactly is a pariah state. A pariah state can be defined as an outcast in the international system, however, deciding who constitutes as an outcast can be difficult to conclude, as some states that are considered pariahs to one state can be considered a viable and important international collaborator to another. (3) For example, while most Western states see North Korea as a pariah, China sees them as a regional partner.

Pariah statehood can be first identified following the Treaty of Westphalia, where in addition to establishing the basis of the modern international system, the idea of a pariah state was officially created. The treaty established the Ottoman Empire as a pariah through its specific designation as a non-Christian state, it therefore did not enjoy the rights afforded to Christian state within Europe. (4) Scholars such as Olawale Lawal suggest that pariah statehood can be defined "by virtue of their political systems, ideological postures, leadership or general behavior suffer from diplomatic isolation and widespread global moral opprobrium." (5) Generally, it is found that a pariah state has to some extent at least considerable democratic deficits, possesses weapons of mass destruction, acts as a state-sponsor of terror, or has a history of human rights violations.

Some scholars have included unrecognized states, such as Taiwan, Abkhazia, and Northern Cyprus within their accounts of states with pariah status. (6) However, this possible pariah status is not due to any untoward behavior specifically committed by the entity but due to the territorial claims made by a recognized member of the international system on the areas within the unrecognized state's control. Therefore, for the purposes of this study, the role of a selected seven states with United Nations (UN) membership that have been reached pariah status through violations of international norms on their part will be investigated: Afghanistan (under Taliban control), Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Syria. All of these states are well known for human rights abuses with some of the worst track records in the world, some have possession of or utilized weapons of mass destruction (i.e. chemical or nuclear weapons), lack democratic legitimacy, and some have been involved in supporting or sponsoring terrorist networks (of these seven, four are designated as "State Sponsors of Terror" by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Counterterrorism). (7)

Pariah States in Global Economic Governance

Following the conclusion of the Second World War, the world's two leading economies, the United States and Britain, established a new global economic order in the image of their trade preference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The Bretton Woods system was supported through the establishment of international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, along with the strengthening of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which in 1994 would be transitioned into the WTO. These organizations...

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