Can ‘mini-lateralism’ improve global governance?


By Ong Tee Keat | China Daily Updated: Sept 28, 2023

Has the existing global order outlived its relevance? This is a common question asked not just by elites but even by any thinking individual across the world.

Never have we witnessed such incoherent and ineffective global governance as what we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of our vulnerability against the novel coronavirus and a gamut of other common challenges, the global leadership tasked to address the pressing concerns is nowhere to be seen. The pandemic of the century only left us with a heavily fragmented world scene with dysfunctional global institutions.

While we are still reeling from the pandemic-induced economic fallout, the various global exigencies have never ceased to take a heavy toll on our planet. Yet the prognosis for multilateral cooperation continues to look bleak.

The reigning hegemon, holding sway over global governance for the past seven decades, since the end of World War II, is more obsessed with the anguish of possible displacement as the sole global leader than anything else deemed threatening our very survival. Ideological lines are deliberately drawn with such binaries as “democracy versus authoritarianism”. Nonetheless, its thinly veiled intention of isolating and alienating China from the rest of the world does not obscure the dire need for addressing the immediate global concerns.



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