Cooperation among Nations

Cooperation among Nations

Europe, America, and Non-tariff Barriers to Trade
Joseph Grieco, Joseph M. Grieco

In Cooperation among Nations, Joseph M. Grieco offers a provocative answer to a fundamental question in world politics: How does the anarchical nature of the international system inhibit the willingness of states to work together even when they share common interests?

Grieco examines the capacity of two leading contemporary theories—modem political realism and the newest liberal institutionalism—to explain national responses to the non-tariff barrier codes negotiated during the Tokyo Round of international trade talks. According to his interpretation of realist theory, Grieco characterizes states as "defensive positionalists." As such, they often fail to cooperate because they fear that a joint endeavor, while producing positive gains for all participants, might also generate disparities in gains among the partners involved. Grieco demonstrates that this realist concept of defensive state positionalism gives rise to a better understanding of the systemic constraints on international collaboration and of the impact of anarchy on states than is offered by neoliberal institutionalism. Drawing on previously unreported archival materials, Grieco rigorously applies the two theories to an empirical analysis of the cooperative efforts of the United States and the European Community during the 1980s to regulate and reduce non-tariff trade barriers through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.