Multilateralism and Small Developing States

Multilateralism serves to be both a blessing and a curse, when placed amongst small island developing states in the global system. The statement without a shadow of a doubt stands true that multilateralism can simultaneously advance and undermine the interest of small island developing states in the global system. Small island developing states lack the power, wealth and influence to exert any political clout in the global political arena at the individual state level and as such, often times than none, their interest are overlooked and ignored. A we take a critical look at multilateralism, the very definition of the word according to (Keohane,1990;731) defined multilateralism as “the practice of coordinating national policies in groups of three or more states.” By this very definition, we can see the contradictions that lies within, when looking at this through a Caribbean lens. Multilateralism, where Caribbean states are involved in binding agreements, can be argued to be a contradiction on the basis of the contending international relations theories of Realism and Idealism. The first theoretical perspective to be undertaken will be the Realist perspective on states in the global political arena. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states clearly that “Realism, also known as political realism, is a view of international politics that stresses its competitive and conflictual side. It is usually contrasted with idealism or liberalism, which tends to emphasize cooperation.(Baylis, Smith and Owens, 2011; 4) states that, “ the main actors on the world stage are states, which are legally sovereign actors. Sovereignty means that there is no actor above the state that can compel it to act in specific ways,. Other acrors, such a... ... middle of paper ... ... 61 (4): 853–876. • Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Power and. Interdependence: World Politics in Transition (Boston: Little, Brown, 1977) • Keohane, Robert O. “Multilateralism: An Agenda for Research.” International Journal, 45 (Autumn 1990). • McGinnis, John O. “The Political Economy of Global Multilateralism.” Chicago Journal of International Law, Fall2000, 6. • Strange, Susan. (1997). “Territory, State, Authority and Economy: a new realist ontology of global political economy.” In The New Realism. Edited by Robert, W. Cox (New York: The United Nations University Press, pp 3-19). • Spangler, Brad. "Integrative or Interest-Based Bargaining." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: June 2003 .
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