What's Wrong with the United Nations and How to Fix it
Six decades after its establishment, the United Nations and its system of related agencies and programs is perpetually in crisis. While World War I and World War II gave rise to ground-breaking efforts at international organization in 1919 and 1945, the UN today seems ill-equipped to deal with modern challenges to world order. Neither the end of the Cold War nor the aftermath of 9/11 has led to the creation of a “next generation” of multilateral institutions.
But what exactly is wrong with the UN, and how can we fix it? Is it possible to retrofit the world body? In this succinct and illuminating analysis, Thomas G. Weiss takes a diagnosis and cure approach to the world organization’s inherent difficulties. In the first half of the book, he considers: the problems of international leadership and decision making in a world of self-interested states; the diplomatic difficulties caused by the artificial divisions between the industrialized North and the global South; the structural problems of managing the UN’s many overlapping jurisdictions, agencies, and bodies; and the ever-demanding challenges of bureaucracy and leadership. The second half examines how to mitigate these maladies and points the way to a more ideal world in which the UN’s institutional ills might be “cured.” His remedies are not based on pious hopes of a miracle cure for the UN, but rather on specific and encouraging examples that could be replicated. With considered optimism and in contrast to received wisdom, Weiss contends that substantial change in intergovernmental institutions is plausible and possible.
This indispensable book will spark debate amongst students, scholars, and policy-makers concerned with international politics, as well as anyone genuinely interested in the future of the United Nations and international cooperation.
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Part One Diagnosing the Ills
Chapter One Westphalia Alive But Not Well
Chapter Two NorthSouth Theater
Chapter Three The Feudal System or Dysfunctional Family
Chapter Four Overwhelming Bureaucracy and Underwhelming Leadership
Part Two Palliatives if Not Cures
Chapter Five Redefining National Interests