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.
In the newest issue of Courier, our editor takes on Godzilla to find out what the fictional prehistoric monster can teach us about our collective fight to solve common global problems. Keith Porter writes about the challenges that global governance faces in the future.
We also have a sobering look at the Central African Republic, a piece on India’s climate change policy, and an interview about genocide prevention. Lastly, an investigative news nonprofit takes a deep dive into Japan's controversial plutonium-reprocessing plant.
|Author Anchee Min Speaks
8th Annual International Women Authors Event
Featuring Best-selling Author Anchee Min
November 6, 2014
5:30 to 8:00 p.m.
|New Video on Nuclear Security
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.
Our bimonthly newsletter looks at a Latin America network to stop mass atrocities as well as a seminar for journalists aimed at demystifying nuclear lingo. We also have a slideshow of our annual Investigation U. summer camp for students.
In the latest, you’ll find many extras—from upcoming events to multimedia resources. Sign up now
This Now Showing event-in-a-box toolkit Before the Killing Begins: The Politics of Mass Violence considers how early preventive strategies by governments and the international community should build much-needed capacities within countries, and make it harder for leaders to resort to violence. It aims to encourage discussion of how future efforts might better protect populations under threat, giving new resolve to the promise of never again. Sign Up.
The Stanley Foundation publishes policy briefs, analytical articles, and reports on a number of international issues.
|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.