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The United States and Multilateral Treaties: A Policy Puzzle

Johannes Thimm
The United States and Multilateral Treaties: A Policy Puzzle
ISBN: 978-1-62637-552-9
ISBN: 978-1-62637-598-7
2016/287 pages/LC: 2016020608
A FirstForumPress Book
"Valuable and timely."—Laszlo Sarkany, International Journal

"An excellent study on why the United States is so reluctant to ratify legally binding international treaties….  This book is a must read for anybody interested in learning more about US foreign policy!"—Thomas Risse, Free University of Berlin


Why is the US so reluctant to join global multilateral treaties, even when those treaties are in line with its own policies? And how does it decide which treaties to ratify? Finding that the answers to these questions is less straightforward than may be apparent at first glance, Johannes Thimm explores the role of domestic politics in US unilateralism—and concludes that the real puzzle is not why the US supports so few international treaties, but rather how it manages to join any at all.


Johannes Thimm is a researcher in the Americas Division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).


  • The United States and Multilateral Treaties.
  • It's All About Domestic Politics.
  • Between Nonparticipation and Hostility: The US and the International Criminal Court.
  • No Opposition in Sight: The Convention Against Torture.
  • A Close Call Against Participation: The Landmine Treaty.
  • Barely Ratified: The Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • Solving the Policy Puzzle.