Multipolarity, Multilateralism and Leadership: The Retreat of the West?

  • John Peterson
  • Riccardo Alcaro
  • Nathalie Tocci
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


Peterson, Alcaro and Tocci focus on the emergence of multipolarity, the future of multilateralism and scope for transatlantic leadership within global governance. Their central argument is that multiple polarities exist in different issue-areas of world politics. It thus becomes implausible to theorise based on a generalized balance of power. Second, the fragile domestic positions of the leaders of major powers place strict limits on multilateral cooperation. Third, these contextual factors pose profound challenges to the transatlantic alliance. Fourth, if international relations theories are all systemic theories, they are likely to fail to generate explanations for the emerging international order. International relations increasingly have become the sum of its parts: individual policies in specific issue-areas. What is needed, in these circumstances, is the scientific study of foreign policy.


European Union Foreign Policy World Trade Organization Security Council Transformational Leadership 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Peterson
    • 1
  • Riccardo Alcaro
    • 2
  • Nathalie Tocci
    • 2
  1. 1.University of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Istituto Affari InternazionaliRomeItaly

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