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PacNet #14 – Allies Unnerved by Coalitions of the Willing

SAN FRANCISCO – Although the United States didn’t go to the United Nations for explicit authorization of an attack against Iraq, the Bush administration never abandoned attempts to craft a multilateral coalition in support of those efforts. But this government’s view of “multilateralism” differs from those of its predecessors. Rather than working through existing institutions, the U.S. now believes in “à la carte multilateralism,” picking and choosing its allies and mechanisms as circumstances dictate. While this strategy reflects a changing national security environment, this approach could have negative effects over the long-term. It threatens to undermine the relationships that create the menu from which the U.S. can select in times of need.