Calling someone or something “primitive” is not normally meant as a compliment. But I have just learned that I may be a “primitive multilateralist.” It is a badge that I wear proudly.
This weekend, Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper published a smart think piece on the process that led to the 1919 Versailles Treaty and the end of World War I. There will certainly be many more articles in this vein to mark the ill-fated agreement’s 100th anniversary this year.
A lot of pundits will note that the Paris Peace Conference gave birth to modern multilateral diplomacy through the creation of the League of Nations, precursor to the United Nations. Most will also throw in a jibe or two about the league’s failure to prevent World War II and draw comparisons to the U.N.’s current inability to control the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.