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Presiding over a Divided World: Changing UN Roles, 1945-1993 (International Peace Academy Occasional Paper Series) Paperback – August, 1994

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Product Details

  • Series: International Peace Academy Occasional Paper Series
  • Paperback: 95 pages
  • Publisher: Lynne Rienner Pub (August 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155587519X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555875190
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,465,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This was rather informative on the actual workings of the UN. Firstly, how it functions - six principal organs established by the Charter: General Assembly, Security Council, Secretariat, International Court of Justice, Trusteeship Council, Economic and Social Council. Secondly, its attitude towards force and conflict - it will intervene if there is a threat to international peace (Chapter VII); states can only use force for individual or collective self-defence (under Articles 2(4), 51); in practice, general support for national liberation movements and self-determination struggles (Zimbabwee, Namibia); in practice, growing humanitarian intervention since 1991 (Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia). Thirdly, the means by which it responds to conflict - peacekeeping operations (an ad hoc mechanism - maintaining cessation of hostilities as well as postconflict peacebuilding); sanctions (under Article 41) - versus how it's supposed to - to have armed forces on call (under Article 43); to have an effective Military Staff Committee (under Article 47).
Where it falters is on the actual analysis. It brings up the idea of the self-interest of states limiting the UN (nothing new); and the UN working within an inter-state system instead of superceding it as a supranational government, but does not provide elaboration or explanation. It also brings up the idea of the symbolic role of the UN and the conference of legitimacy to the principles it espouses. Otherwise, this book is prone to sweeping statements and rhetoric about the `fundamental divisions' in the world, the greater variety of problems the UN will face post-Cold War, the need for `streamlining and rationalization within and beyond the UN system'. All general terms - which tell us nothing about what the problems are and how they arise; how they can be solved; what reform should be undertaken, how and why.
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