Given the intractable conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine and China’s disregard of an international court ruling against its claims in the South China Sea, the world has moved into a period in which multilateralism has demonstrated that it is not able to tackle global problems.

The inability of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union to effectively address challenges posed by great powers like China, Russia and the U.S., as well as other actors like Israel disregarding international law, has prompted the emergence of new diplomatic and security partnerships known as minilaterals.

Countries that eschew certain international laws are not equally guilty in ignoring such laws or being hypocritical in their foreign policies. For example, the U.S. has not signed on to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea but its behavior is in line with the convention. China, by contrast, has signed the agreement but has explicitly ignored it as it seeks to turn the South China Sea into a "Chinese lake."