Trade and Sovereignty bleg:

I am starting work on a paper on Taiwan/China trade issues. Do readers have suggestions for good books or articles on ways in which trade does/doesn't affect political sovereignty?

I'm not looking for stuff about globalization in general (e.g., the issue raised by much of the French Left that global trade shifts power away from the national government, and towards various multinationals). Rather, I'm looking for material (historical, or present) about bi-lateral trade--especially in the context of bi-lateral situations where one trade partner is much larger, or otherwise more powerful, than the other.

For example, Danish trade with rising, powerful Germany in 1880-1939 does not appear to have harmed Denmark's sovereignty; then when the Nazis did invade in 1940, Denmark's numerous business contacts with Germany helped convince the Germans to allow a limited degree of Danish autonomy during the first years after the conquest. On the other hand, threats to U.S. business interests in Haiti led to a U.S. invasion in 1915 that, arguably, might not have taken place if Haiti had fewer business ties to the U.S. in the first place.

Extra credit for Volokh Law School students who suggest factors, backed by examples, which make extensive bi-lateral trade more/less likely to impair the sovereignty of the smaller partner.

New Pseudonym:

Extra credit for Volokh Law School students

When did you start your own school? Is it affiliated with a university?
8.22.2008 7:05pm
You should define what you mean by trade "impairing the sovereignty" of a country. Any trading relationship creates a dependency of some degree.

Vide: the Saudi-US trade relationship. Do you think that it impairs Saudi sovereignty? US sovereignty? If "yes" to both, which impairment is greater, and why?
8.22.2008 7:06pm
I would say your obvious historical comparison is to the influence of British-American trade on American politics just before and after American independence. The cultural love/hate relationship is not dissimilar, the size and power of the respective parties is comparable, the debate within the smaller power over the appropriate degree of connection (both political and economic) comparable, and the interference from outside powers for their own purposes (France in 1776, the US in the case of Taiwan) similarly relevant.

The part that's weird, however, is that the Taiwanese are the sophisticated economy.

I wouldn't say the Danes or Haitians are as good. Bismarck's Germany had no big issues of national pride surrounding Danish autonomy -- especially considering the long history of autonomy within the German Empire, by, e.g. Bavaria, and Haiti is culturally very different from the United States.
8.22.2008 7:15pm
Craig Oren (mail):
See The New World Trading Order, by my colleagues Dennis Patterson and Ari Afilalo.
8.22.2008 7:46pm
Jim Miller (mail) (www):
You may want to look at Lawrence Keeley's "War Before Civilization" for some perspective. For instance: "As previously mentioned, economic interchanges and intermarriages have been especially rich sources of violent conflict." (p. 123)
8.22.2008 7:47pm
Isn't Keeley something of an expert on hunter-gatherer warfare? That hardly sounds relevant to this thread. The dynamic of pre-sovereign human conflict is different from the dynamic of intercourse between sovereign states. To take your quote as an example, jealousy and sexual competition was an important facet of pre-civilizational warfare. This is why intermarriage is a potential spark of war. Yet this is mostly irrelevant to modern state relations. I don't think descriptions of resource competition among early humans quite carry over, either.
8.22.2008 8:00pm
Some quite relevant historical events, are:

the trade relationships developed with Spain in Texas and California that produced U.S. sovereignty through economic migrant dominance in those areas;

the 1893 overthrow of the King of Hawaii (by U.S. economic players with short lived and disavowed U.S. military support);

the 1864 used of naval forces of the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands to enforce trade rights granted in treaties by Japan;

the Bryan-Chamorro treaty with Nicaragua in 1914, through which the United States obtained the right to protect the Panama Canal, and its proprietary rights to any future canal through Nicaragua as well as islands leased from Nicaragua for use as military installations. This treaty also granted to the United States the right to take any measure needed to carry out the treaty's purposes. This treaty had the effect of making Nicaragua a quasi-protectorate of the United States;

the treaties with the Dominican Republic (in 1907) and with Haiti (in 1915), giving the United States the right to collect and disperse customs income received by these
nations, and to use force to protect customs officials; at least in the case of the Dominican Republic this was in support of a 1904 default on external debts to the U.S.;

the ongoing debate in the U.K. of the impact of the originally trade oriented E.U. treaties which for the first time created de facto judicial review of U.K. legislative action;

the 1917 U.S. military intervention in Cuba in support of the bilateral sugar export trade;

lease arrangements that led to abrogations of full sovereignty, such as the Panama Canal, Hong Kong, Macau, Guantanamo Bay, and Kwantung Leased Territory (first with Japan and later with Russia after the Russo-Japanese War);

the East India Company relationship with the various sovereign states of the Indian subcontinent; and

the impact of economically important expatriate Asian communities in Fiji.
8.22.2008 8:24pm
free trader:
Are you talking about trade affecting sovereignty, or trade agreements affecting sovereignty? Or both?
8.22.2008 8:50pm
The US-British trade relationship was a significant factor in the US's entry into WWI. Its massive increase in 1914-1917 helped assuage our concerns over Britain's strangling our trade with Germany and the Netherlands, and the influence of merchants who would lose their capital in the event of Entente defeat was substantial in the military intervention debate.
8.22.2008 10:13pm
Splunge wrote:

Bismarck's Germany had no big issues of national pride surrounding Danish autonomy . . .

Well, not after the Second War of Schleswig and the annexation of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein in 1864 . . . There are, by the way, still Danish-speaking enclaves in present-day Germany (Sydslesvik/South Schleswig)with rights guaranteed by international agreement (the Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations) and German law.

My Danish grandmother (born in 1889) hated Germans to her dying day. Danes have long memories, and she lived to the age of 96.
8.22.2008 11:18pm
David Singh Grewal (mail):
I wouldn't normally be so forward as to suggest my own work, but I'm very interested in just this issue, and try to address it in Chapter 8 (on trade and sovereignty) of my recently published book, Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization (Yale Press, June 2008). All comments and criticism welcome -

David Singh Grewal
8.23.2008 2:22am

the 1864 used of naval forces of the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands to enforce trade rights granted in treaties by Japan

Similarly, the use of force under the pretext of 'trade' to force unequal treaties on China in the dying years of the Qing dynasty.
8.23.2008 2:24am
chinamike (mail) (www):
It's not trade, but it does speak to the issue of a smaller, vulnerable country having economic clout over a stronger neighbor:

During the 1980s, Saddam Hussein borrowed lots of money from Kuwait to help fund the Iran-Iraq war. When the bills started coming due, he, as they say, took his tank to the bank.

Not a happy example for the Taiwanese.
8.26.2008 11:06am