Research

The Future of Multilateralism: Governing the World in a Post-Hegemonic Era

September 2015
Japanese Journal of Political Science 16(3)
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Since the middle of the twentieth century, the governance of the global system has been organized around the United States and the advanced industrial democracies. In the shadow of the Cold War, these countries established a wide array of global and regional institutions to manage economic, political, and security relations. The Bretton Woods institutions, GATT (and later the WTO), the United Nations, and various functional institutions provided the bulwark for an open and managed postwar world economy and global order. An American-led alliance system provided a structure for regional security in Europe and East Asia. When the Cold War ended, these far-flung institutions were extended into a more fully global multilateral system of governance. The United States dominated the global order. But, more so than did leading states in previous eras, it established its dominance through institutions. It was an American-led liberal hegemonic order.