Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
WHAT IS THE BEST TOPIC TO HAVE RESEARCH ON ANY CONFLICT OR RELATIONS BETWEEN TWO STATES, WHICH THEORY OF IR BEST SUPPORTS THAT CONFLICT?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
There are basically two diametrically opposed theories of International Relations (IR) in the world. They were famously named in Munich in 2007 by Russian president Putin, ie:
1--Monopolarity (or unipolarity), or the monopolar/unipolar world, which refers to the US-dominated system wherein the US supports with overwhelming firepower and the threat of sanctions, a predetermined party in any conflict, where said party is determined by strictly political criteria (particularly whether or not the said party recognizes or favours Israel or Saudi Arabia, or on the other hand, Iran, Russia or China; whether or not said party favours the IMF, the World Bank or any other US-dominated financial player, or on the other hand, advocates for financial and economic independence from US institutions; and other pro-US criteria). In this system, parties who side with the US are the “good guys” while those who side with Russia, China, Iran, Syria or other states not aligned with the US are the “bad guys.”
2--Multipolarity, or the multipolar world, wherein each country is deemed sovereign. In analogy to the ideal of individual freedom (an idea supported by the West only when it favours US-backed institutions — which is why the Western Establishment does not grant this right to Julian Assange), which is said to be a self-evident ideal, the multipolar world also treats the freedom, ie, sovereignty of nations as self-evident.
Russia, however, sees a third concept, ie, multilaterality, as the most viable alternative.
The US routinely tramples the sovereignty of nations it opposes, such as Iran, whose beloved general it just murdered, and Syria, whose oil it openly admits it intends to steal. It is a caste system analogous to the social system in India, where some countries are untouchables with no rights, while the rest are of higher caste.
But China and Russian also recently held joint naval drills with Iran in the Persian Gulf, and the US and its accomplices had no immediate response because the monopolar world, after decades of dictating terms to weak countries, has faced no serious challenges, and is therefore sclerotic and set in its ways, unprepared to cope with new and unexpected challenges from powerful opponents. In view of this, some would admit that the multipolar world is here.
Thus the US will only respond to force, and that force has been building up steadily in the countries whose sovereignty it has trampled for all those years.
Nowadays it is finally kosher to mention and discuss in an academic setting the unipolar vs multipolar world. Nonetheless, if you hope to write a thesis comparing the two, you need to know that an accepted theory in Western think tanks, for example, is that, while there is a semblance of multipolarity in the world, we are supposedly a long way from its fruition, as stated at the site Geopolitical Futures, which takes the US Establishment view.
On the other hand, Foreign Policy seems more resigned to the fact that the role of the US is diminished.
Others, like a writer for National Interest, are willing to admit to the new role of China and Russia in geopolitics, but see only negatives in this role.
Still others, like the Russian Council, think that multipolarity introduces too much nuance and too many individual national interests to be wieldy, and advocate for a different but related model, ie, multilaterality.
Encyclopaedia Britannica defines Multilateralism as the process of organizing relations between groups of three or more states. Beyond that basic quantitative aspect, multilateralism is generally considered to comprise certain qualitative elements or principles that shape the character of the arrangement or institution.