After WWII, various multilateral organizations have been promoted by the US and implemented through many international organizations such as the UN, the GATT and the IMF. Overtime, multilateral co-operation dramatically developed in different forms (Summits, Conferences, etc...). However, critics of international organizations point to the unilateral tendency of American foreign policy. Therefore the pertinent question has to be asked: Are international relations today governed by multilateralism? However, it must be asserted that if multilateralism undergoes a crisis today, unilateralism is nevertheless not viable in a global world...
[...] Nevertheless, multilateralism remains present and viable in the long term in a global world 1. Unilateralism is not viable in an interdependent and multipolar world Unilateralism could be possible in a unipolar world, in which a superpower would have unlimited military and economic resources. In reality, many arguments show that new poles and resistances to such a superpower are building up. a. The arguments against the idea of an unipolar world (M. Rogalski) According to Michel Rogalski, director of the Recherches Internationales review, new poles are emerging in world politics today. [...]
[...] Petiteville) The WTO doesn't totally fulfill the conditions of an optimal vision of multilateralism for 3 reasons: First, the principle of equality between states is less of a reality in practice. Second, it is an organization that consolidates intergovernmental agreements. Finally, the unpredictability of the negotiations were highlight in the failures of negotiations in Seattle or Cancun. b. The international organization, instruments that serve powerful states? Power of the Council of Security in the UN The Council of Security in the UN is ruled by only 5 countries but holds alone the power, the Assembly can only make recommendations. [...]
[...] Furthermore, despite the insistence of the EU and of the Third World, the US still refuses to ratify the Kyoto Protocol due to the issue of the negotiable license of gas emissions with greenhouse effects. In contrast to Clinton's politics, the Bush administration refused to join the International Penal Court, thus, allowing their soldiers to be above international rules. b. Bilateralism is used to escape constraints of multilateralism in the commercial field. Bilateralism can be more profitable for the US in the commercial field. Example: 39 bilateral agreements on intellectual property rights (IPR) These agreements concluded by the US with developing countries allow the US to bypass multilateral negotiations currently held at the WTO. [...]
[...] ) and they could play a strong role in the future negotiations of the WTO Multilateralism is still developing in some fields and areas a. Despite their weaknesses, multilateral organizations remain active. The development of regional multilateralism As we have already seen, the number of regional organizations that bring states together is increasing. This phenomenon opposes unilateralism and contributes to a certain extent to multilateralism. The attraction of intergovernmental organizations In spite of their difficulties, multilateral structures exert a strong power of attraction as upon joining; countries can enjoy large trade advantages. [...]
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