Confronting problems multilaterally can be less than effective
By Eric Lyman in Rome
There are problems in the world that cannot be confronted with any success by a single state, no matter how powerful. Big environmental issues and world hunger and poverty immediately come to mind, along with many regional peacekeeping needs and most economic and trade-related problems.
Enter multilateralism, the consensus-driven process that democratically pulls countries together for collective problem solving, usually under the auspices of an umbrella organisation such as the United Nations or the World Trade Organisation.
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THE EUROPEAN Parliament turned 50 years old this March. There will be no celebration of the event in Britain and probably not much in other European Union (EU) member countries. Most people know of the parliament only as the source of scandals like fiddling expenses or the provision of lavish wining and dining for its members. An American TV company once introduced a profile of the parliament by saying "So you think Europe doesn't have boondoggles? Boy, have we got news for you!"