Introduction to the Multilateral Diplomacy and International Organizations Course

De Baripedia

The history of multilateral diplomacy is part of the old internationalist tradition. The idea is that cooperation and cohesion between States is preferable to nationalist fractures rather than anarchy and the violence of realism. The long-term interests of States outweigh individual interests in the short term. The concept of multilateral diplomacy is old, however, multilateral diplomacy as it is understood today materializes with the emergence of the first international organizations in the second half of the 19th century.

The Berlin Congress. Painting by Anton von Werner (1881).

When we read the literature, there is the vision of internationalism to seek and find solutions against the situation of the divided world and sovereign states, especially in the colonialist period when they are in competition. There is the idea of an idealistic community of interest and something that seeks to find solutions for a common destiny for all nations calling for institutions common to all humanity. This concept is philosophical and idealistic seen as an idea of great philosophers of the past. There is not only the humanitarian notion, but also the interests of the liberal bourgeois class interested in creating norms and rules to create international markets in order to have intercompatibility between markets. The first international union and the International Telegraph Union in order to establish telecommunication standards, its headquarters was in Berne.

In addition to the European concert of the major powers, a series of territorial issues will emerge from the second half of the 19th century onwards, establishing a complex system of international relations emanating from civil society, manifested through the organisation of international congresses, which often leads to the creation of an international organisation. International organizations were what are now called "non-governmental organizations". The clear distinction made today between governmental and non-governmental organizations dates back to a definition of ECOSOC as civilization in the United Nations system after the Second World War. The clarity of the separation of a global governmental system around the United Nations is something new beginning in 1946, but very poorly characterizing the period from 1870 to 1945 especially during the period of the League of Nations. In this long period, international networks at the multilateral level are characterized by a strong mix between governmental and non-governmental domains. The first international congresses will create a favourable environment for the League of Nations. For a historical analysis of the birth of international operations, we must look at what civil society did until the creation of the League of Nations with Peace in Paris.

This course focuses on the history of the attempt to achieve lasting peace through international organizations that focus not only on security prerogatives, but also on social imperatives in a world where political power remains in the hands of states. We observe the role of civil society not only by international organizations, but also by States at key moments. We will focus on the evolution of structure, competence and decision-making mechanisms in order to better understand its failures, crises and outcomes.

The central issue of the course revolves around the question of whether international organizations are simply a state instrument or do they have a role to play?

The legal branch focuses on the evolution of the conventional and positive framework of the international order dealing with normative issues related to the evolution of international law. The political approach interprets relations between States and international relations in the context of several paradigms or schools of thought such as liberalism or realism or other modern theories based on postulates. A theoretical system of thought is applied. The historical approach interprets this question through the analysis and study of historical sources, primary and secondary sources, in particular through documents from States, but also documents from international organizations. The historical approach is empirical, wanting to analyze the past with precision. However, the shortcoming is that it always lags behind the other two approaches.

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