Special Announcement: Letter to Our Readers Regarding the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

Dear Readers,

For the past fifty-five years, the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law has sought to provide the practicing bar and the academic community with insight into the evolving challenges of an increasingly interdependent world.  This undertaking is grounded in the belief that relationships between countries, organizations, and citizens should be ordered by rules that foster trust and stability among global actors.  Our mission is perhaps most essential in times of heightened uncertainty regarding the foundations of the international system.

On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected to serve as the forty-fifth president of the United States.  A U.S. election always has important international ramifications, but in this case, the consequences loom larger given that the winning candidate has advocated a dramatic reorientation of U.S. foreign policy.  President-elect Trump’s campaign repeatedly challenged long-held assumptions about the role of the United States in the international legal order, including the terms of U.S. participation in free trade and cooperative security agreements, observance of jus cogens norms, and involvement in a range of foreign conflicts and humanitarian initiatives.

Compounding the potential effects of this election is a wave of similar sentiments across the globe, evidenced by instances such as the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, the rising tide of nationalist and protectionist parties across Europe, and the Philippines’ authoritarian and populist clampdown in the drug war.  These seemingly disparate events indicate a widespread, growing distrust of the international structure, international law, and the policies of the international community.

The Columbia Journal of Transnational Law is committed to remaining a space for open, multifaceted discourse.  In that spirit, we are encouraging you, our readers, to reflect on the impact of recent events and share those reflections and ideas with one another.  We welcome views from all political affiliations, nations, and perspectives.  To facilitate this discourse, we will be devoting a special section of the Journal’s online companion, The Bulletin, to essays and commentary on the potential impact of the U.S. election and a Trump presidency, about which many questions of international legal significance remain.  Submissions can be emailed to jtl.bulletin@gmail.com.

The Executive Editorial Board, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law