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date: 23 April 2019

Summary and Keywords

In the field of international studies, multilateralism is a kind of alliance where multiple countries progress any given goal. Multilateralism can be defined as global governance of the many, and its chief principle is the opposition of bilateral discriminatory arrangements that are believed to enhance the leverage of the powerful over the weak and to increase international conflict. Multilateralism serves to bind the great powers, discourage unilateralism, and give the small powers a voice and voting opportunities that they would not otherwise have. As such, power disparities are accommodated to the weaker states by having more predictable bigger states and means to achieve control through collective action. Powerful states also buy into multilateral diplomatic agreements by writing the rules and having privileges such as veto power and special status. Multilateral diplomacy is the management of international relations by negotiations among three or more states through diplomatic or governmental representatives. Ideally, for multilateral diplomacy to be of any effect there needs to be one rule for all and everyone would need to work together. Consensus is to be reached by debates, discussions, and compromises but, ultimately, there would be a democratic vote—majority vote is applied, which means no state is undermined.

Keywords: multilateralism, multilateral diplomacy, global governance, international conflict, power disparities, democratic vote, international conflict

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