3 years ago

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The only

The only realisticalternative todysfunctionalmultilateralismis to makemultilateralismwork, andwork well.good ones. During the wars of disintegrationin the former Yugoslavia, the UNSC was quite“effective”: it produced a series of resolutions,including resolutions invoking Chapter VII ofthe UN Charter, i.e., the use of “all necessarymeans,” including force, to enforce compliance. Yetthose resolutions were also often overambitious,unrealistic, and contradictory. 27 Had the Bushadministration prevailed in the Security Councilin 2003 and received a mandate for regimechange on the basis of false evidence and dubiousassumptions, the credibility and legitimacy of theUNSC would have suffered grievously.Thus, the only realistic alternative to dysfunctionalmultilateralism is to make multilateralism work,and work well. To be truly effective, multilateralpolicies will require leadership in terms of agendasetting,setting deadlines, and watching over policyimplementation; and they will also demand a lotof bilateral diplomacy and the mobilization ofdomestic political support and resources by all itsparticipants back home. In reality, there will usuallybe differing levels of interest and commitmentamong the countries involved in multilateralefforts. This need not be a problem provided thereis a broad general commitment towards effectivemultilateral policies and a willingness to practice“diffuse reciprocity,” that is to say, to commit somelevel of support to the general approach, as well asto each individual instance of effective multilateralpolicies.What ultimately matters most are good policiesin terms of outcomes, and on balance we feel thatmultilateral decision-making in today’s complexworld of dispersed power will often not onlybe the only available option, but also one thatseems at least as likely to produce good policiesas policies pursued under a dominant leader. Yetmultilateral policies, like strong leadership andeven unilateralism, can be well-designed andimplemented, as well as flawed; it all will depend onhow those policies are shaped and implemented bythose involved.While the shift towards more genuine multilateraldecision-making that we advocate would thusundoubtedly involve slower and more cumbersome,as well as at times less forceful policies than mighthave seemed desirable, there are also two importantadvantages in this: more time and a broader inputinto policy deliberation, and moderation throughmutual accommodation. Moreover, we also arguethat the alternative of strong leadership exercisedby one power in the future usually simply willnot be available either at the European CFSP orat the UNSC level; the alternative to effectivemultilateralism therefore would most likely not bestrong leadership, but gridlock.14Transatlantic Academy

4ConclusionsWhat effects would we expect if ourproposals were implemented? First,of course, this should help open theway for reform towards a more representativeand hopefully more effective Security Council.Whether that would be achieved on the basis ofour two proposals is uncertain, given the steephurdles and complexities of formally revising theUN Charter to enlarge the UNSC and modify itsprocedures. But the probability of this happeningwould be significantly improved. Moreover, thetransatlantic community would clearly be seenleading this effort, by setting constructive examplesand making proactive adjustments for the sake of abetter, more representative international order. Thiswould no doubt enhance Western influence, evenif the broader effort to restructure the UN SecurityCouncil failed. And it would put pressure onChina and Russia, in addition to India and Brazil,to follow the Western example, thus providing thetransatlantic community with negotiating leverageto demand responsible behavior from others.Beyond those advantages, we see specific benefitsfor France and Britain, for the European Union, forthe United States, for the Security Council, and forthe international community at large.Benefits for France and Britain: Most obviously,to the extent the two were able to agree amongthemselves, and to catalyze larger Europeanconsensus, implementation of such a policy ofmoving towards a consolidated European SecurityCouncil seat would increase their national foreignpolicy influence. Moreover, the very need toexplain, to mobilize support, and to compromiseshould also produce better policies — a notunimportant aspect in a changing internationalenvironment in which national interests are rarelystraightforward and narrowly national, but ratheropaque, uncertain, and heavily intertwined withinterests of others.France and Britain would certainly seem to haveto sacrifice some national prestige and status(though our proposal would largely leave theirprivileges intact) but in fact they could enlargetheir influence and prestige. The two countrieswould be able to present themselves as enlightened,forward-looking, generous, and as advocates ofa better representation of countries such as Indiaor Brazil on the Security Council. The process ofworking towards consolidated European positions,if handled properly, would also be self-enforcing:France, the U.K., Germany, and the otherEuropean Union member states, as well as its CFSPrepresentatives and apparatus, would learn to worktogether better and more effectively over time.Benefits for the European Union: Pushed byFrance and the U.K., the European Union in thisway would be able to develop a more coherent andconsistent common foreign and security policy,and thus gain in influence. This could work only,of course, if that process accommodated otherimportant member states (most obviously, but notonly, Germany), the member states as a group,and European institutions. The policy processwould thus need to be open for their input, andwould need to make credible and serious effortsto accommodate other interests and positions.The proposal could work only, in other words, ifLondon and Paris were able to give others a stakein this venture and persuade them that this wouldserve their interests, as well.As experience mounted and participants becameincreasingly invested in this approach, Europeanambitions could expand, turning the EuropeanUnion, led by France and Britain, into a trulyinfluential global player. Such a Europe would alsobe able to cultivate its role as a “civilian power”and thus also gain standing and influence as a rolemodel and a global power with a grand strategywhich diverged fundamentally from that oftraditional great powers.As experiencemounted andparticipantsbecameincreasinglyinvested inthis approach,Europeanambitions couldexpand, turningthe EuropeanUnion, led byFrance andthe U.K., into atruly influentialglobal player.Europe’s Veto’s Power 15

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