If global power is currently being reallocated away from the West, Europe and the US might attempt to resist the trend by entrenching current geopolitical hierarchies within the framework of international organizations. As liberal internationalists have long pointed out, multilateral architectures endow otherwise anarchical and erratic international relations with some degree of predictability and inertia. They reduce the scope of power differentials by “tying” great powers into a web of norms and rules, while also enhancing the voice of the powerless. They freeze the global allocation of power into a snapshot, and thus mitigate the speed and scope of hegemonic transitions. Paradoxically, then, the West might well utilize the last remaining years of its waning preeminence to “lock in” its influence among international organizations that it still dominates. This cannot be achieved without fundamentally revising the dramatis personae within these organizations. If the West stubbornly refuses to modify global allocation of power with such structures, rising nations simply will circumvent the current multilateral order to create their own, or will revert to a Hobbesian template of international relations. Western salvation must come from following “Lampedusa’s paradox”: “Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga come è, bisogna che tutto cambi” – “if we want everything to stay as it is, everything must change.”1 In fact, America and Europe have striven to square this circle: they have attempted to open up international organizations to emerging actors, while retaining control of the pace of the change – and ensuring that reform did not threaten, but rather enhanced Western preeminence. The West has aimed to “co-opt” rising nations into an order that it created, and still aims to dictate. The calculus has been in evidence in recent, ambivalent efforts by Americans and Europeans to push for the expansion of the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC). It also has underpinned the rise of an enhanced G-20 in the wake of the financial crisis, and the reallocation of voting rights within the International Monetary Fund. In all such cases, a process of “co-optation” has been manifest, as non-Western countries have been so enticed by the prospect of “joining the strong” that they gladly have lined up behind the banner of the Western order – in the process

moderating the militant stances that they had adopted when they were but “first among the weak.” However, “Lampedusan revolutions” rarely succeed. Perestroikas most often will get out of hand and produce genuine power shifts away from their initiators. Whether the West can retain control of the institutional change that it has initiated remains to be seen. The impediments certainly are daunting. First, The US still remains reluctant unreservedly to support international organizations – and might turn away from them at the precise moment when they can entrench its power rather than restrict it. US-European clashes over the creation of the International Criminal Court prove that international organizations, rather than enabling the salvation of Western power, might in fact precipitate its dislocation. Most importantly, non-Western nations have awoken to the problematic implications of their “co-optation” as junior partners into a fundamentally unreformed international order. They have been increasingly strident in calling for a faster and broader metamorphosis among international organizations – and indeed have begun to initiate such reforms themselves. In addition, they have created original multilateral structures that aim to fulfill the same objective through two different potential mechanisms: insofar as such “non-Western” organizations either can produce a genuine alternative order; or more likely will become a “bargaining chip” that will allow the BRICs to obtain better terms in the reallocation of power now under way within conventional international organizations. At first glance, the West is united in supporting the inclusion of rising powers within the UNSC. In other words, Americans and Europeans both seemingly believe that stubborn refusal to downgrade their monopolistic preeminence in the UN will only precipitate its erosion. The choice is between controlled and anarchical decline, and the West unsurprisingly is ready to embrace the former alternative – at least in principle. In February 2009, the US Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. Susan Rice, outlined the Obama administration’s policy in favor of UNSC reform: “We start from a straightforward premise: The United States believes that the long-term legitimacy and viability of the United Nations Security Council depends on its reflecting the world of the 21st century.”2 In late 2010, President Obama specifically emphasized US support for the inclusion of India within the UNSC. Addressing a joint session of the country’s parliament in New Delhi, the president explained that “the just and sustainable order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate. That is why I can say today, in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed United Nations Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.”3