PSC 2442 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Multilateralism, Great Power, Multistakeholder Governance Model

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26 Mar 2020
September 11th, 2017: Multilateralism as a Policy Choice
Elements of multilateral action
Many participants
Burden Sharing, joint-decision making, IO authorization
There are shades and degrees of multilateralism
Two dimensions
Quantitative: action by 3+ states
Qualitative: relationship based on rules rather than power. Rules apply to all,
regardless of power capabilities
Great power restraint: great powers must commit to following rules, not doing
whatever they want
Why do this? They create the rules often so they can make rules that
benefit them that they want other people to follow
Equality under the rules (same rules apply to everyone)
This creates legitimacy for the rules, empowering IOs
Conforms to existing laws, rules, principles, standards, or expectations
Depends on recognition by others
IOs and Multilateralism
IOs multilateral in both dimensions
Involve 3+ countries, proclaim attractive principles
Why choose multilateralism
Normative: expectation of most countries on a lot of issues that they will work
Functional: cant get problems solved if everyone is not working together
domestic/american identity: IOs and ML solve america's problem, america did not
want an empire when it came to power. IOs allow America to write rules for the
world that others will follow that benefit America
Spread american interests without conquest
Obstacles to Multilateral Action
Long Term vs Short Term
Ex) long term interest to mitigate climate change, short term interest to
politicians to please businesses
Election cycles
Uncertainty: will other countries comply? Surprise events (disease outbreak,
Autonomy concern
Multilateral concern may force countries to do something they don’t want
Domestic Institutions
I.E. US multilateral action has issues, all treaties must be passed by
senate (separation of powers)
Poor Policy Process: better ways to make policy than fixed institutions with fixed
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