Under Assault, Multilateralism Needs Big Ideas More Than Ever

Ambassadors to the U.N. including Nikki Haley of the U.S. and Vassily Nebenzia of Russia and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pose for a World Cup-themed photo, U.N. headquarters, New York, June 14, 2018 (AP photo by Mary Altaffer).
Ambassadors to the U.N. including Nikki Haley of the U.S. and Vassily Nebenzia of Russia and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pose for a World Cup-themed photo, U.N. headquarters, New York, June 14, 2018 (AP photo by Mary Altaffer).

Can big ideas, big data and even bigger academic books save the global system? It is now conventional wisdom that international institutions are facing an almost existential crisis. The U.S. president regularly disparages multilateral mechanisms. China and Russia want to roll back many liberal norms. This is a bleak scenario for academics and pundits who believe in international cooperation. Under the circumstances, bright scholars of foreign policy would seem well advised to study realpolitik and interstate war, not how countries can get along better. Yet counterintuitively, the current political crisis in global cooperation is coinciding with a small surge in […]

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