A crisis of multilateralism and Asia’s rising stake in it
SummaryAsian countries caught between the US and China should push for a new paradigm of multilateralism
Multilateralism, or a rule-based international order, was a late entrant to the toolkit of ways in which countries interacted with one another. Its roots lie in the pragmatic Treaty of Munster-Westphalia signed in 1648 to avoid wars of attrition between militarily-matched states that arose after the Roman Empire’s breakup. Global peace and prosperity have been the major spin-offs, though both weakened during interludes of heightened nationalism. These dynamics are at work to this day.