The Oxford Programme on International Peace and Security (IPS) is pleased to launch a project on Values and Multilateralism in Foreign Policy. With the support of the Alfred Landecker Programme, IPS will examine the values that should underpin multilateral cooperation among states. We will also explore policy options when governments encounter a conflict of values with potential partners. The project is led by IPS Visiting Scholar Ross James Gildea and IPS Executive Director Federica D’Alessandra.
The transition from a unipolar to multipolar world, as well as an ostensible decline in multilateral relations in recent years, raises crucial questions for interstate cooperation. The reprisal of great power politics, most notably between the United States, Russia, and China, is likely to produce increased contestation over the values and principles guiding international politics. And while the role of values has typically been elided in analysis of foreign policy, there is growing appreciation among scholars and policymakers of the important role which values may play in interstate dynamics. This project will investigate the kinds of values which, normative speaking, should underpin multilateralism, as well as explore and evaluate policy choices that arise when values between states enter into conflict. Our research will help inform policymaking which seeks to balance the benefits of cooperation with a principled commitment to core values.