Skip to:

Stanford portion of this project concluded in mid-2009; now headed by Bruce Jones
Managing Global Insecurity Project (MGI)


Photo credit: 
United Nations/Fred Noy


Co-principle Investigator
Consulting Professor
Carlos Pascual
Co-principle Investigator
Co-principle Investigator
Senior Fellow, Professor, by courtesy, Political Science

Nearly 20 years into the post-cold war era, the existing multilateral architecture of international organizations, treaties, and alliances shows signs of acute distress. Built for a different age, different threats, and different structure of world power, many of its institutions cannot meet today's challenges. The United Nations and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are two such institutions, designed for a different world. For some threats, such as global climate change or the potential spread of biological weapons, there is no framework of international institutions dedicated to their defeat.

Stephen Stedman, Bruce Jones and Carlos Pascual led the research effort, consulting with and eliciting contributions from two advisory groups, one focused on international policy and the other on U.S. policy. The project, which in 2009 was transferred in whole to the Brookings Institution, addressed the following key challenges to the existing multilateral architecture:

  • Threats to the international security system by sub-state and non-state actors. Multilateral cooperation is fundamental to containing and diminishing the capacity of such actors to move across borders, undermine states, gain access to nuclear and biological materials, and threaten both innocent citizens and international security.
  • The need for collective security arrangements, as nations work to solve transnational problems ranging from terrorism to proliferation to climate change, and to protect the rights of citizens whose governments cannot protect them from war and poverty. No country alone can solve such problems or isolate itself from them.
  • The need for American institutions that can generate and sustain viable partnerships. International perceptions of U.S. disdain for multilateral institutions has exacerbated international tensions, undermined traditional U.S. alliances, stoked the perception of the U.S. itself being a threat to international order, and thus both eroded support for U.S. action and pushed states into tactical alliances designed to frustrate U.S. objectives.

The project proceeded in three phases: Fact-gathering and analysis (November 2006-April 2007).; development of policy recommendations (May 2007-December 2007); and publication and dissemination of recommendations (February 2008-May 2009).


Research Materials