Globalisation and Multilateralism: Are They Under Threat?

Globalisation and Multilateralism: Are They Under Threat?

Globalisation and multilateralism have been under scrutiny in recent years. The spread of COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturns have led many to question the viability of these international systems. Many countries have shifted towards nationalism and protectionism, and global cooperation seems to be at an all-time low. The rise of populism and authoritarianism has also brought challenges to multilateralism and globalisation.

Globalisation and Multilateralism: Are They Under Threat?

Image sourced from Forbes (getty images)

The rise of nationalism

Many countries have become more nationalist in recent years, with a focus on putting their own interests first. Protectionist policies have been implemented, and global cooperation has become increasingly difficult. The United States, under the Trump administration, pulled out of various international organisations and agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Agreement. Brexit, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, has also contributed to the expedited rise of nationalism and protectionism.

COVID-19’s economic effects

The epidemic significantly affected the world economy. To stop the virus from spreading, many nations have put in place safeguards like quarantines, lockdowns, and limits on travel. These actions have caused a severe economic downturn, leading to business closures and employment losses. To try and lessen the pandemic’s economic impact, governments have had to put in place a variety of stimulus programmes. Uncertainty in the economy as a result has accelerated the growth of nationalism and protectionism.

Challenges to multilateralism

Multilateralism has also been challenged by the rise of populism and authoritarianism. Some countries have turned towards authoritarianism as a way to maintain control over their citizens. These countries have also become more isolationist and less willing to engage in global cooperation. Populism has also contributed to the rise of nationalism and protectionism, with many politicians focusing on popular policies rather than those that promote global cooperation.


Multilateralism and globalisation are facing significant challenges in today’s world. The rise of nationalism and protectionism, economic uncertainty, and the challenges posed by populism and authoritarianism have all contributed to these challenges. It is essential to find ways to overcome these challenges and promote global cooperation. Multilateralism and globalisation have brought about many benefits, including increased economic growth, improved living standards, and greater peace and stability. We must find ways to continue these efforts while also addressing the concerns of those who feel left behind.

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