Author: Phil Kelly – 03/09/2019
Audrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council of Moscow, has authored an insightful essay, “Why the World Is Not Becoming Multipolar”, depicting what he believes to be a contemporary global transition into an era of multilaterialism, a move away from Great-Power balancing and onto regional and global community involvement.
Since shifting to a more appropriate theory appears to hold relevance to his article, this essay will settle on a broader discussion about comparing an array of international relations models, including his multilateralism (or liberal/-functionalism) but also of other theoretical approaches as well, to locate appropriate paths for an enhanced understanding of the present transitions in world politics as introduced by Kortunov.
This review will find multilateralism or liberal/functionalism not to be among the best ways for describing this transition. Indeed, a variety of other models will be suggested as more suitable for this analysis.
Below, an introduction will feature several points that should ground the reader on theory itself, this followed by four separate parts: (1) Kortunov’s reasons for this global transition within his vision of multilateralism; (2) an evaluation of his reasoning; (3) a narrative on different theoretical approaches; and 4) a selection of the better predictive models as conclusion. Enlisting multiple models for a more complete study of international-relations happenings will represent a strong thesis of this review.
A caveat here might be useful: this reviewer assumes Kortunov’s “multilaterialism” equates to the model of liberal/functionalism, as based upon the various descriptions he has raised in his essay.
Key Words – theories/models, multilateralism/functionalism, balance-of-power, dependency, geopolitics, realism, condominium.
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Phil Kelly is the Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Emporia State University