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A weaker world

The key global and regional governance bodies are all suffering a crisis of late middle age. Is this a legitimacy problem? Or is it the fault of US unilateralism?

By G John Ikenberry   November 2005

It is striking that over the last few years, almost all of the world’s global and regional governance institutions have weakened—the UN, EU and Nato chief among them. In the 1970s, political scientists warned us of a “crisis of governability” in the advanced democratic world. Governments, they said, were losing the ability and public confidence to confront the hard tasks of economic management, crime and welfare. But now it looks as if the crisis has gone global.

Even in the best of times the collective management of the international system is work in progress. But today, summits and global gatherings…

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