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- Bret Stephens; Columnist, The Wall Street Journal
In December of 2014, Microsoft filed a brief with the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York to prevent the U.S. Department of Justice from seizing a customer’s data stored in Dublin, Ireland. It’s a case that raises important questions about the right of Americans to know what the government and companies are doing with sensitive electronic data. How do we ensure accountability both to the law through reasonable regulation, and to the courts through effective judicial review? The case also raises questions about the rights of people in other countries. Will they continue to have their privacy rights protected by their own laws? Anticipating a world where every device is a connected device, these are but a few of the important questions raised by this case regarding the future of privacy and regulations going forward.
In December 2011 the last American soldier left Iraq. “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq,” boasted President Obama. He was proved devastatingly wrong less than three years later as jihadists seized the Iraqi city of Mosul. The event cast another dark shadow over the future of global order—a shadow, which, Bret Stephens, Deputy Editorial Page Editor and Foreign Affairs Columnist for The Wall Street Journal, argues, we ignore at our peril.
America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder identifies a profound crisis on the global horizon. As Americans seek to withdraw from the world to tend to domestic problems, America’s adversaries spy opportunity. Vladimir Putin’s ambitions to restore the glory of the czarist empire go effectively unchecked, as do China’s attempts to expand its maritime claims in the South China Sea, as do Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear capabilities. Civil war in Syria displaces millions throughout the Middle East while turbocharging the forces of radical Islam. Long-time allies such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, doubting the credibility of American security guarantees, are tempted to freelance their foreign policy, irrespective of U.S. interests.
Mr. Stephens argues for American reengagement abroad. He explains how military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan was the right course of action, foolishly executed. He traces the intellectual continuity between anti-interventionist statesmen such as Henry Wallace and Robert Taft in the late 1940s and Barack Obama and Rand Paul today. And he makes an unapologetic case for Pax Americana, “a world in which English is the default language of business, diplomacy, tourism, and technology; in which markets are global, capital is mobile, and trade is increasingly free; in which values of openness and tolerance are, when not the norm, often the aspiration.”
In a chapter imagining the world of 2019, Mr. Stephens shows what could lie in store if Americans continue on their current course. Yet we are not doomed to this future. Mr. Stephens makes a passionate rejoinder to those who argue that America is in decline, a process that is often beyond the reach of political cures. Instead, we are in retreat—the result of faulty, but reversible, policy choices. By embracing its historic responsibility as the world’s policeman, America can safeguard not only greater peace in the world but also greater prosperity at home.
Parity between the treatment of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and real property is a core principle of the DOJ/FTC 1995 Guidelines on licensing patents, which provide that the “[a]gencies apply the same general antitrust principles to conduct involving intellectual property that they apply to conduct involving any other form of tangible or intangible property.” Are these guidelines still being followed, or have the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice have taken actions that signal a departure, and perhaps a skepticism about patent licensing activity, particularly with respect to technological standards? Under either scenario, what are the implications for innovative U.S. companies at home and abroad, including in China where regulators are using antimonopoly powers to extract commercial concessions from U.S. technology leaders? How can patent rights and competition policiesbest co-exist while preserving incentives for firms to invest in R&D and disseminate patented technologies through licensing, standard setting, and other voluntary arrangements?
This panel was part of a conference titled "Patents and Innovation: Addressing Current Issues". The conference was held on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
This panel will consider the process for determining the content of international law, including the Law of Armed Conflict and International Humanitarian Law. The International Committee of the Red Cross and other committees established by multilateral human rights conventions are often thought to enjoy a special competence in this process. Should they? The panel will discuss these questions, including the debate between the ICRC and the U.S. on counterterrorism measures and the legality of bulk surveillance for national security purposes.
The Federalist Society's International & National Security Law Practice Group presented this panel on "Who Defines International Law?" on Friday, November 14, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.