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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The importance of trust in international relations has recently become the subject of a vibrant new agenda of research. However, as this paper shows, trust has always implicitly been at the center of international relations theory. Realism, rationalism and constructivism conceive of trust differently, with enormous substantive implications. After establishing how different understandings about the type and degree of trust that prevail in international relations help structure core debates in the discipline, this paper then turns to showing the role that trust plays in diplomacy and multilateral cooperation. Trust seems necessary for the creation of large multilateral institutions in international relations as well as value-creating diplomacy that allows for win-win outcomes.

Keywords: trust, international relations, realism, multilateralism, diplomacy

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