from The Internationalist and International Institutions and Global Governance Program

Gauging Public Support for Multilateralism—Around the World, and in the U.S.

The United Nations logo is seen on a window in an empty hallway at UN headquarters during the seventy-fifth annual UN General Assembly on September 21, 2020.
The United Nations logo is seen on a window in an empty hallway at UN headquarters during the seventy-fifth annual UN General Assembly on September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Recent surveys reveal robust global and U.S. support for international cooperation and the United Nations, but also document stark partisan differences in America.

Originally published at World Politics Review

September 28, 2020

The United Nations logo is seen on a window in an empty hallway at UN headquarters during the seventy-fifth annual UN General Assembly on September 21, 2020.
The United Nations logo is seen on a window in an empty hallway at UN headquarters during the seventy-fifth annual UN General Assembly on September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar
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In my weekly column for World Politics Review, I examine three surveys recently released by the Pew Research Center, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the Better World Campaign to see just how multilaterally inclined publics around the world really are.

The Future We Want, the UN We Need.” That’s the theme Secretary-General Antonio Guterres chose for the 75th U.N. General Assembly, which opened virtually earlier this month because of the coronavirus pandemic. By using the word “we,” Guterres had in mind not just the governments of the U.N.’s 193 member states, but the aspirations of everyday citizens, consistent with the spirit of the U.N. Charter, whose preamble begins, “We the Peoples of the United Nations….”

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But how do you measure the attitudes and preferences of 7.8 billion people, especially in the midst of a pandemic? In the run-up to this year’s General Assembly, the U.N. Secretariat held an array of national and regional consultations, many facilitated by local chapters of the United Nations Association. The Secretariat also designed an online “one-minute survey,” asking people what they thought about multilateralism and what issues the U.N. should focus on over its next 75 years. What was still missing, until now, was any hard data about just how multilaterally inclined publics around the world really are. That includes in the United States, where the Trump administration has repudiated many of the principles of international cooperation on which the U.N. was founded.

Read the full World Politics Review article here.

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