In regards to whether the great powers are finding it harder to cooperate, I that that it is necessary to examine them more closely. For the past three centuries, the world has predominately been ruled by Europe or it’s colonies (and their successor states). There have of course been exceptions, and my mind floats to Japan first. When it defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese war, it marked a moment that other great powers were emerging from none european culturally dominated parts of the world. Indeed, since than, other states have emerged that are arguably great powers, such as India or China. But going back to my main point, for the last three centuries, Europe has been the seat of most of the major world powers, and as such the actions of one has always tied into the response of another. Trade relations, cultural exchanges, and the constant forming and reforming alliances over the years have proven this. Many great actions on the continent naturally warranted response, often militarily from many of the great powers. However, with the end of the second world war, and the fallback to the United States for military assistance, Europe has waned in it’s global political influence. Furthermore, with globalization, other great powers have emerged, and the reason they are not meddling in the Ukrainian crisis is clear: they don’t see any reason too. When Europe was the land of power, nearly every great power had to be ready to respond to another state, such as was the case in the napoleonic wars, or the World Wars. However, the other great powers of today are farther away, and do not have the same history, economic interdependence, or security reasons that European powers would have to get involved with this crisis. Without the same incentives, they have little reason to want to go against another global power in the region, such as the Crimean Crisis right now.
As a liberal, and I admit, an idealist, I think that international organizations can be effective, and can create stability. For all of it’s flaws, I think that the European Union for example is a grand idea. I disagree with points made by Mearsheimer about realism, and his pessimism towards IOs. The countries of the EU have largely been able to cooperate with each other, and the borders of the countries in it have waned, figuratively and literally, though admittedly not entirely. Though I will cede that IO’s need strength to back their laws, I do not think that is their focal point. In regards to the current crisis in Crimea, I think international organizations, such as the EU, are doing a good job in containing the outbreak of larger war, and the sanctions they are imposing, along with the US, are working to end the crisis. Though I do admit that greater international support is to be desired, especially amongst non-European powers. However, the international system is still quite young in it’s current form, and I believe time is necessary to work out all the kinks.
So in conclusion, I don’t think it is simply a case of the great powers having a harder time cooperating, I think that it is a case of their being new players to the game who are not as involved and do not have the same incentives to be involved. The more interdependent we become, the more the problems of others will become the problems of all, and the more international cooperation will be seen by the great powers.