Considering the Crisis of Multilateralism: The UN and its Relationship with US Hegemony
7 January 2024
The UN’s multilateral framework is widely considered both an effective component of global governance and, simultaneously, in a constant state of crisis. This Working Paper explores this paradox in light of the tendencies of great power politics.
By Oliver Parker (MSc Global Governance and Ethics)
The UN’s multilateral framework is widely considered both an effective component of global governance and, simultaneously, in a constant state of crisis. To evaluate this paradox, I explore the tension between the tendencies of great power politics and the principles of multilateralism. This reveals the crisis in multilateralism stems from the UN’s relationship with the US and, in particular, a perceived centrality to the nation’s hegemonic order. The underlying assumption being that any attempt at hegemony, whether from the US, China or Russia, involves reording the international community through intitatives like the UN System, the Belt and Road Initative or the Soviet Bloc. Thus, systems of global governance may simultaneously act as systems of global hegemony.
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