Dispensing with the indispensable nation? Multilateralism minus one in the Trump era

Abstract

Since entering office, US president Trump has reversed key multilateral achievements of his predecessors, initiating a new US retreat from multilateral cooperation. For other governments wishing to preserve and deepen existing global agreements, this has posed the question of whether and how multilateral cooperation can work without the leadership and support of the dominant global power. International relations scholars have already debated the possibility of “nonhegemonic cooperation” in earlier periods marked by US unilateralism. This article draws on these previous analyses to evaluate the current prospects and limits of a “multilateralism minus one” in three key global policy areas: nuclear arms control, climate change, and trade

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