This chapter seeks to examine the current geopolitical changes in the world in light of the notion of multipolarity. If indeed the world is entering a multipolar era, what insights can we draw from international relations theory about the likely outcome? What are the relevant lessons of history? What is the specificity of our situation? How can we work together to ensure that multipolarity becomes a vehicle for sustainable development and durable peace?
This chapter seeks to outline both the shortcomings in the international response to a new historic opportunity for multilateralism as well as the areas of relative success that should be encouraging. The first section of the text provides a historic overview of international orders from the Peace of Westphalia to the post-Cold War Era.
The second section analyzes the specificities of twenty-first century multipolarity. The author argues that a world order of cooperative multipolarity is within reach.
Its conclusion strongly supports a revitalized commitment to dialogue and diplomacy, regionally and globally, as an essential part of moving forward toward a new post-hegemonic multilayered multilateralism.