Multilateralism and the Shifting Global Balance of Power
Leading experts from a wide range of specialties recently weighed in on the future implications of shifting global power dynamics on international cooperation at a recent Stanley Foundation conference at Princeton University.
The conference sponsors—the Stanley Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson School’s Project on the Future of Multilateralism, the International Institutions and Global Governance Program of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Centre for Global Governance Innovation—perceive a growing disjunction between our inherited multilateral institutions and the daunting scope and complexity of today’s global governance agenda. How will the world community deal with all the difficult problems on the agenda?
One answer is to acknowledge that international cooperation will be spread across multiple institutions, institutional types, and levels. The task will be to use these various multilateral pieces to the best effect, rather than trying to draw a clear organizational diagram for the international system. Experts have started calling this "messy multilateralism."
The key, then, is a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different multilateral mechanisms. If we know what an institution does best—and what it does less well—then their efforts can be combined in a complementary way.
With the Princeton conference taking place just a few weeks after the vexed UN climate change summit in Copenhagen, participants were mindful that despite intensified globalization and interdependence, there has not been a commensurate shift in international political dynamics.
I was reminded of President Obama’s address to the UN General Assembly last fall, in which he described this very problem:
Meeting in this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future. No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together.
We have to hope that the world’s leaders overcome these differences and, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has put it, "turn commonality of interests into common action." Such cooperation is the best hope for a peaceful and prosperous future.
Policy Program Officer, Nuclear Security: The Stanley Foundation seeks a program officer to plan, implement, and assess the impact of the foundation’s nuclear security policy programming.
The latest issue of Courier features three articles from Carl Wilkens Fellows: shedding light on atrocity violence in the DRC, drawing parallels between the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, and giving the survivors of gender-based violence in the DRC a voice. Courier 84 also explores the current challenges of international climate governance in an interview with climate change expert Arnuabha Ghosh and it looks at China's passive aggressive stance as China challenges the perception of the United States as a reliable partner for others in Asia. The full Fall 2015 issue. PDF (2.0 MB) Subscribe for FREE.
Our bimonthly newsletter is filled with resources to keep you up to date with our work at the Stanley Foundation. Each edition includes news about recent publications and stories as well as features our people and partners.
You will also find many extras, from upcoming events to multimedia resources. Sign up for the latest to stay engaged on key global issues.
|Stanley Foundation Annual Conferences
The Stanley Foundation holds two annual conferences, UN Issues and the Strategy for Peace Conference. These bring together experts from the public and private sectors to meet in a distraction-free setting and candidly exchange ideas on pressing foreign policy challenges.
Divided into roundtable talks, the cutting-edge discussions are intended to inspire group consensus and shared recommendations to push forward the debate on the foundation’s key policy areas.
The Stanley Foundation publishes policy briefs, analytical articles, and reports on a number of international issues. To reduce our carbon footprint and cut waste, we almost exclusively, use electronic distribution for our publications. Sign up to receive our resources via e-mail.
|Nuclear Security Video
The Stanley Foundation produced a 13-minute video looking at what needs to be done to stop terrorist groups from acquiring enough fissile material to make a bomb. The foundation talked with over a dozen diverse and distinguished experts from the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group and the Fissile Materials Working Group to see how today's patchwork of voluntary arrangements can be forged into a long-lasting system. Watch the video.
|Watch and Learn
Stanley Foundation events, talks, video reports, and segments from our Now Showing event-in-a-box series can now be viewed on YouTube. To receive regular updates on our video posts, please subscribe today.