chapter  1
34 Pages

The issue of decision making within international organizations

ByBob Reinalda, Bertjan Verbeek

The war against Iraq in 2003 may prove to be a watershed in post-Cold War international relations. The disposal of the Iraqi regime by a coalition of mainly Western states symbolizes the zenith of American hegemony. There can be no doubt that unipolarity characterizes world politics and that the remaining superpower, or hyper puissance, as French foreign minister Hubert Védrine coined it, will not hesitate to defend its vital interests, if necessary without the permission of the international community. From this perspective the United States (US) seems to be moving from a multilateral to a unilateral foreign policy. This was also illustrated by its resistance to the International Criminal Court, its struggle against the Kyoto Protocol, its driving of hard bargains over the New Economy within the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and its pressure on members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999 to strike against Yugoslavia over Kosovo without a resolution from the United Nations (UN) Security Council.