I’ve written before in my book Minilateralism that the rise of bilateralism has been a trend that has been accelerating, along with regionalism, for well over two decades. Until recently, however, bilateralism has seemed to reflect a desire to overcome stumbling blocks to cooperation, sometimes even within regional trading blocs. The turn from larger scale agreements now—most recently in the US departure from the Paris Climate Accord—seems to reflect very different motives.

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