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Encyclopedia > Multilateralism

Multilateralism is an international relations term that refers to multiple countries working in concert. International relations (IR), a branch of political science, is the study of foreign affairs of and relations among states within the international system, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations (MNCs). ...


Most international organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, are multilateral in nature. The main proponents of multilateralism have traditionally been the middle powers such as Canada and the Nordic countries. Larger states often act unilaterally, while the smaller ones may have little direct power at all in international affairs aside from participation in the United Nations (by consolidating their U.N. vote in a voting bloc with other nations, for example). The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, and social equity. ... WTO Logo The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international, multilateral organization, which sets the rules for the global trading system and resolves disputes between its member states, all of whom are signatories to its approximately 30 agreements. ... Middle power is a term used in the field of international relations to describe states that are not superpowers or great powers, but still have some influence internationally. ... Overview map of the region. ...


The converse of multilateralism is unilateralism in terms of political philosophy. Unilateralism, (one+side-ism) is any doctrine or agenda that supports one-sided action. ...


History

The first modern instances of multilateralism occurred in the nineteenth century in Europe after the end of the Napoleonic Wars where the great powers met to redraw the map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna. The Concert of Europe, as it became known, was a group of great and lesser powers that would meet to resolve issues peacefully. Conferences such as the Conference of Berlin in 1884 helped reduce great power conflicts during this period, and the nineteenth century was one of Europe's most peaceful. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... World map showing Europe Political map (neighboring countries in Asia and Africa also shown) Europe is one of the seven traditional continents of the Earth. ... Combatants Allies: • Great Britain (until 1801)/United Kingdom(from 1801) • Prussia • Austria • Sweden • Russia • Portugal • Spain • and others • France • Denmark-Norway • Poland Casualties Full list The Napoleonic Wars comprised a series of global conflicts fought during Napoleon Bonapartes rule over France (1799 - 1815). ... The Congress of Vienna by Jean-Baptiste Isabey, 1819. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards and make it easier to understand, this article or section may require cleanup. ... For the Cold War conference see Berlin Conference of 1954. ... 1884 (MDCCCLXXXIV) is a leap year starting on Tuesday (click on link to calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Thursday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


Industrial and colonial competition, combined with shifts in the balance of power after the creation - by diplomacy and conquest - of Germany by Prussia meant cracks were appearing in this system by the turn of the twentieth century. The concert system was utterly destroyed by the First World War. After that conflict world leaders created the League of Nations in order to try to prevent another conflict of similar scale. A number of international arms limitation treaties were also signed such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But the League proved insufficient to prevent Japan's conquests in Eastern Asia in the 1930s, escalating fascist aggression and, ultimately, the outbreak of the Second World War from 1939. Combatants Allied Powers: France Italy Russia Serbia United Kingdom United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary Bulgaria Germany Ottoman Empire Commanders Douglas Haig John Jellicoe Ferdinand Foch Georges Clemenceau Luigi Cadorna Nicholas II Aleksei Brusilov Woodrow Wilson John Pershing Wilhelm II Paul von Hindenburg Reinhard Scheer Franz Josef I Conrad von... The Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, built between 1929 and 1938, was constructed as the Leagues headquarters. ... The Kellogg-Briand Pact, also known as the Pact of Paris, after the city where it was signed on August 27, 1928, is an international treaty providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ...


After the Second World War the victors, having drawn experience from the failure of the League of Nations, created the United Nations in 1945 with a structure intended to address the weaknesses of the previous body. Unlike the League, the UN had the active participation of the United States and the Soviet Union, the world's two greatest contemporary powers. Along with the political institutions of the UN the post-war years also saw a wide array of other multilateral organizations such as the GATT (now the World Trade Organization), the World Bank (so-called 'Bretton Woods' institutions) and the World Health Organization develop. The collective multilateral framework played an important role in maintaining world peace in the Cold War. Moreover, United Nations peacekeepers stationed around the world became one of the most visible symbols of multilateralism in recent decades. Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, and social equity. ... 1945 (MCMVL) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (usually abbreviated GATT) functions as the foundation of the WTO trading system, and remains in force, although the 1995 Agreement contains an updated version of it to replace the original 1947 one. ... Logo of the World Bank The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, in Romance languages: BIRD), better known as the World Bank, is an international organization whose original mission was to finance the reconstruction of nations devastated by WWII. Now, its mission has expanded to fight poverty by means... Flag of World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, acting as a coordinating authority on international public health, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ... For other uses, please see Cold War (disambiguation). ... Peacekeeping is a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace. ...


Today there are myriad multilateral institutions of varying scope and subject matter, ranging from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); although many such organizations were founded or are supported by the UN, by no means are all of them maintained within the UN system. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an international organization established to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunications. ... Headquarters in Geneva The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations. ... The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an agency of the United Nations. ...


The multilateral system has encountered mounting challenges in the period since the end of the Cold War. The United States has become increasingly dominant on the world stage in terms of military and economic power at the same time as it increasingly questions the relevance of multilateral processes to its interests, in some cases. Concurrently, a perception has developed among some internationalists that the United States is more inclined to act unilaterally in situations with international implications. This trend began when the U.S. Senate, in October 1999, refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which President Bill Clinton had signed in September 1996. Under President George W. Bush the United States has rejected such multilateral agreements as the Kyoto Protocol, the International Criminal Court, the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel land mines and a draft protocol to ensure compliance by States with the Biological Weapons Convention. Also under the administration of George W. Bush, the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the Nixon administration and the Soviet Union had negotiated and jointly signed in 1972. William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American businessman and politician, was elected in 2000 as the 43rd President of the United States of America, re-elected in 2004, and is currently serving his second term in that office. ... Kyoto Protocol Opened for signature December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan Entered into force February 16, 2005. ... Official logo of the ICC. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002 as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, as defined by several international agreements, most prominently the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. ...  State Parties to the Ottawa Treaty The Ottawa Treaty or the Mine Ban Treaty (formally the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction bans completely all anti-personnel landmines (AP-mines). ... Biological Weapons Convention Opened for signature April 10, 1972 at Moscow, Washington and London Entered into force March 26, 1975 Conditions for entry into force ??? Parties ??? The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (usually referred to... The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM treaty or ABMT) was a treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems used in defending areas against missile-delivered nuclear weapons. ...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Multilateralism Under Challenge? Power, International Order, and Structural Change (480 words)
The principles, values and manifestations of multilateralism, including the United Nations, are under sustained scrutiny and assault.
From (alleged) unipolarity to the decline of multilateralism?
The genealogy of multilateralism: reflections on an organizational form and its crisis
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