Friedrich Ebert Stiftung


‚Äč30 Nov 2017, Berlin


Crisis of Multilateralism? Peace politics in the age of authoritarianism, nationalism and populism

Conference and podium discussion

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Hiroshimastr. 17, 10785 Berlin

Authoritarianism, nationalism and populism all over the world are putting multilateral peace and security policy to the test. International institutions and rules agreed upon by countries are shunned, at best only being held to apply to other states. If institutions of the liberal world order have offered some predictability and reliability, the emerging order of hostile nationalisms heralds an epoch of volatile complexity.

Sustainable peace politics presupposes a willingness to compromise, assume responsibility and an international commitment - predicates incompatible with an "our country first" attitude. The election of Donald Trump, which puts a preliminary end to the heyday of the global governance architecture of the 1990s and 2000s, is more symptom than cause of global upheavals. Violent societal and international conflicts have increased over the last few years, with expenditures on arms surging to new levels year after year. Conflicts in Europe that were thought to have been resolved have rekindled, even casting doubt on the viability of the European security architecture. National, ethnic and religious conflicts of identity are mobilizing the masses in many regions of the world. All of these developments go hand in hand with a desire for strong leaders and national isolationism.

The organs of multilateral politics have themselves no doubt also contributed to their demise: Technocratic institutions avoided urgently needed reforms in favor of more transparency, effectiveness and accountability for too long - this also goes for the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, multilateralism based on values is and remains a precondition for sustainable peace to which there is no alternative. Yet, the UN are only as effective as their members allow. Against the background of a re-nationalization of politics, it is therefore not surprising that the UN and the European peace architecture face similar profound crises.