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Introduction: Crisis as the Matrix of Multilateralism

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Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series (SPIRP)

Abstract

This introduction questions the idea of a “crisis” of multilateralism. It first recalls that the historical advancement of multilateralism and the steady empowerment of international organizations have always been accompanied by simultaneous destabilizing crises, from the League of Nations inability to prevent World War II up to the United Nations’ long paralysis during the Cold War. Multilateralism does not seem to be in a better shape today after the assaults of President Trump against its core values and institutions, the “sanitary sovereignty” displayed by States in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the failure of the UN in the “management” of deadly armed conflicts such as the war in Syria and the war in Ukraine. However, the purpose of this book is threefold: to deconstruct the diagnosis of a “crisis” of multilateralism, to consider the concept of “crisis” as a matrix of multilateralism historical dynamic, and to demonstrate the current resilience of multilateralism.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    While the adjective multilateral and the noun multilateralism nowadays refer to the same phenomenon, the term “multilateralism” finds its origins in the political project for a new international liberal order after World War II (Devin, 2022: 39).

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Correspondence to Auriane Guilbaud .

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Guilbaud, A., Petiteville, F., Ramel, F. (2023). Introduction: Crisis as the Matrix of Multilateralism. In: Guilbaud, A., Petiteville, F., Ramel, F. (eds) Crisis of Multilateralism? Challenges and Resilience. The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-39671-7_1

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