[LETTERS to the editor]Multi-lateralism: A Way of Maintaining the Status of the US

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[LETTERS to the editor]Multi-lateralism: A Way of Maintaining the Status of the US

Multilateralism: the way to peace

Multilateralism refers to mutuality in relations among people and countries in various fields such as economy, politics, or culture.

In this globalized era, it is appropriate to practice multilateralism rather than unilateralism. Multilateralism after all pursues benefits for all through cooperation.

Countries that seek unilateralism (which is simply a one-sided policy) cannot survive. Ultimately, how can they maintain competitiveness in the international community?

For everyone’s good, the United States should pursue multilateralism for the purpose of harmonizing its “hard power” and “soft power” in the settlement of global issues.

Such harmonized power can be also called smart power.

The leaders who have pursued a policy of unilateralism have not advanced the interest of their country.

For example, the Bush administration ignored international feelings, and bypassed organizations such as the United Nations. They waged the Iraq War in 2003 without the agreement of international society. They have demonstrated that the United States is today the greatest military power - their hard power - by having total control over Iraq.

However, in other aspects, the U.S. has lost the respect of other nations, which saw it as waging a war that was unreasonable.

Consequently, the U.S. has failed in maintaining its status. Its hard power rose but its soft power fell.

If it sought multilateralism, it could have maintained its status in international society.

Furthermore, multilateralism is needed in order to settle global issues.

Currently, there exists a plethora of problems in the world, such as environmental problems, disease and terrorism. These are not just problems of individual nations but are actually the world’s problems.

Climate change is occurring around the whole world due to extreme environmental pollution, and it causes big problems that could result in the demise of our planet.

Moreover, there are infectious diseases prevalent in Africa and they are killing thousands of people every day.

There is terrorism around the world threatening the lives of civilians, and this problem, which has largely political aspects, influences people’s and national lives negatively.

Such problems are extremely pressing and they cannot be resolved by one particular nation’s effort but only by the whole world.

Therefore, countries should work together in multilateral efforts in order to solve global issues for world peace.

In conclusion, multilateralism should be accepted by all nations for everyone’s benefit. Unilateralism makes it impossible to seek solutions to global issues. It makes it hard to achieve a balance of hard power and soft power.

Multilateralism, which seeks to benefit all, results in world peace and also in maintaining each country’s status in the world community.

Chung Eun-Jee, Sookmyung Girls’ High School

*e-mail to eopinion@joongang.co.kr or via fax to 82-2-751-9219
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