Politics & International Studies

Does multilateralism work during ‘slowbalisation’?

Does multilateralism work during ‘slowbalisation’?

If globalisation brought forth facilitation of myriads forms of conflicts with it, the lack of it or what is known as “slowbalisation” brings forth further complexities and opportunities for enhancing conflicts.


Sriparna Pathak, Associate Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


Conflict has been at the core of international relations and it is evident in the fact that the origin of principles crucial to modern international relations is traced to the peace of Westphalia signed in 1648. The peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War, closing a calamitous period of European history that killed approximately eight million people.

However, conflict continued to remain and emerged in various forms ranging from the two World Wars to the Cold War to the Rwandan genocide to various forms of biological warfare to trade wars. The emergence of globalisation as a potent force in international politics made conflict further enmeshed in international relations as the flow of capital, goods, technology, services and people among a host of other flows only made the resort to conflict of various forms easier.

States of the international system, over years devised various mechanisms to avoid conflicts of myriad forms which include treaties, laws, agreements and multilateral organisations out of the host of approaches that States have to address conflicts the two most often relied upon mechanisms are those of bilateralism and multilateralism. The primary difference between bilateralism and multilateralism is that the former comprises agreements between two countries whereas the latter includes three or more countries. In order to facilitate the communication between three or more countries, several multilateral organisations also came up, particularly to keep conflict at bay and the examples include the United Nations (UN) to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Published in: Hindustan Times

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