, Volume 9, Issue 2-4, pp 255-270
Date: 09 Feb 2012

The rise of “diminished multilateralism”: East Asian and European forum shopping in global governance

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The article argues that the “principled multilateralism” of the immediate post-Cold War period is increasingly giving way to what may be called a “diminished multilateralism.” Newly emerging global and regional powers such as the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and other rising powers in the Global South are increasingly questioning the legitimacy of the existing international architecture which they regard as a vehicle of the USA and Western countries to conserve their international influence in an era of rapid change. In the process, international institutions have increasingly become arenas of power rivalries which take the form of contests over access and membership, decision-making rules and normative order. The result is an increasing paralysis of these institutions and their inability to solve global problems. One aspect of these institutional power struggles is “forum shopping.” The article shows that East Asia and Europe have both become active players in forum shopping. Three conditions facilitated forum shopping: major crises and external shocks; sentiments of frustrated entitlement in connection with exclusive and discriminatory international institutions, and extra- and intra-regional power shifts.