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The UN Security Council: ineffective but indispensable

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7 - 30
Number of pages24
JournalSurvival
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
PublishedJun 2003

King's Authors

Abstract

In the run-up to war, neither key members of the UN Security Council nor senior UN officials did much to discourage the notion that the crisis over Iraq was presenting the Council with its 'moment of truth'. The crisis was shaped, above all, by the prism through which the United States views threats to its own and international security after 11 September 2001. Yet neither those threats, which are real and need to be taken seriously, nor the stormy politics of Iraq at the Security Council in 2002 and 2003, should lead to the conclusion that the UN is destined to become irrelevant. That conclusion rests upon a basic misunderstanding of the UN's role in international peace and security. As the harsh realities of rebuilding Iraq become ever more apparent, as the long-term costs of the diplomatic debacle in New York in early 2003 filter through, and as the challenges posed by terrorism and the proliferation of WMD remain, interest-based calculations and principle both point to a return to the UN. This return would be based, hopefully, on a better recognition of the UN's strengths as well as its frequently deplored weaknesses.

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