There appears to be a growing gap between the political structures of the international system and the processes of the global economy. An important means through which states have sought to close this gap is multilateralism and international institutions. While multilateralism has been around for some time, in recent years it has become central to contemporary diplomacy and international relations (Ruggie, 1993). Multilateralism’s significance derives not only from a belief that multiple mechanisms are more effective at resolving the sorts of transnational diplomatic problems that currently predominate but it is also thought to be necessary for the legitimacy of so much that goes on in the international system. The US-led intervention in Iraq was criticized for a raft of reasons but it was thought by many to be a problem simply because it was not multilateral enough. While there was a thin multinational coalition it was nothing like the number of countries that had supported the US-led response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. If UN approval could have been achieved then America’s position would have been greatly strengthened.
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