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Emory International Law Review


Recent years have challenged the international order to a degree not seen since World War II — and perhaps the Great Depression. As the U.S. housing crisis metastasized into a financial and economic crisis of grave proportions, and spread to nearly every corner of the globe, the strength of our international institutions — the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the Group of Twenty, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, and others — was tested as never before. Likewise tested, were the limits of our national commitment to those institutions, to our international obligations, and to global engagement more generally.

In this brief paper, I explore the striking fact that the financial crisis has not proven nearly as damaging to the vibrancy and vitality of the international economic, political, and legal order as might have been predicted — and even expected, given the logical precedent of the Great Depression. Minimally, the international order has held up well in the face of the crisis; arguably, it has thrived.

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