To Create a New World? American Presidents and the United Nations

By John Allphin Moore Jr.; Jerry Pubantz | Go to book overview

century. The League of Nations and the United Nations, "utopian" in conception, were both doomed to failure. "Today," asserted McDougall, "as Kissinger observes, the dream of a Wilsonian order has even less chance of success." 8

In the most disturbing, if trendy, proposition that has been contributed to the post—cold war debate, both realists and idealists take some heat. Among others, Professor Paul Kennedy and the journalist Robert Kaplan have argued that the plight of the world may just be hopeless, unlikely to experience the requisite reform, given the limitations of current political regimes, whatever their theoretical stance. Kennedy's Preparing for the Twenty-First Century is a dreary recital of unmanageable worldwide demographic explosion, rampant environmental despoliation, risky biotechnological advances, malnutrition, uncured diseases, ethnic strife, and more. 9 Kaplan's travel journal, The Ends of the Earth, acknowledging Professor Kennedy's groundbreaking work, adds more misery to our picture of the world. Traveling in remote spots in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, Kaplan finds a nether world in perilous disintegration, plagued by overpopulation, lack of education, disease, environmental disasters, rampant crime and corruption, anarchy, and civic collapse. For Kaplan, the situation is without hope: "We are not in control" he concludes (his emphasis). Moreover, "As societies grow more populous and complex, the idea that a global elite like the UN can engineer reality from above is...absurd." 10


The United Nations at Half Century

Undoubtedly, as we proceed to face the new century more voices will be raised to find wanting any claim that human society collectively and through international organizations can reasonably address world problems and make the situation a bit better. Thus, dismissing the United Nations as irrelevant will continue to be in vogue.

____________________
10
Robert D. Kaplan, The Ends of the Earth; A Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy ( New York: Random House, 1996), 436.
8
Walter A. McDougall, Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776 ( Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997), 213.
9
Paul Kennedy, Preparing for the Twenty-First Century ( New York: Random House, 1993).

-10-

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To Create a New World? American Presidents and the United Nations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • To Create a New World? *
  • Table of Contents *
  • Preface *
  • Frequently Used Citations *
  • Introduction *
  • 1: To Create a New World? American "Exceptionalism" and the Origins of the United Nations *
  • Dismissing the United Nations 7
  • The United Nations at Half Century 10
  • Woodrow Wilson and American Idealism 12
  • Traditional Arrangements of International Politics 17
  • The Twentieth-Century Crisis 21
  • 2: The Founders *
  • Fdr and the Un *
  • Yalta 44
  • Truman and the Un 47
  • Onset of the Cold War 53
  • Korea 69
  • 3: The Cold Warriors *
  • The President, His Foreign Policy Team, and the Un 84
  • The "Eisenhower Model" 91
  • Superpower Confrontation and the United Nations, 1953-1969 95
  • Cold War Tensions and UN Institutions 112
  • Jfk and the Un 118
  • Lyndon Johnson and the Un 131
  • Disarmament and Development 143
  • 4: The Realists' Ascent *
  • Nixon and the Un 176
  • 1968 184
  • Nixon and Watergate 186
  • "Nixinger" Diplomacy 188
  • Vietnam and Nixon 193
  • India and Pakistan, 1971 196
  • China 199
  • Yom Kippur 203
  • President Ford's Interregnum 208
  • 5: Two Sides of Idealism *
  • Carter and Foreign Policy 214
  • Carter, Human Rights, and the Un 219
  • Carter, China, and the Ussr 229
  • Breakthrough at Camp David 234
  • Carter and Africa 241
  • The Iranian Hostage Nightmare 248
  • Reagan and the Un: Phase One 254
  • The Middle East, Reagan, and the Un 262
  • Reagan and the World 268
  • Iran-Contra 274
  • Gorbachev 276
  • Reagan and the Un: Phase Two 280
  • 6: The New Moralists *
  • President Bush's UN Odyssey 290
  • President Bush's Use of the Un 298
  • President Clinton: the New Moralism and the Demands of Politics 315
  • Conclusion *
  • Appendix a Secretaries-General of the Un *
  • Appendix B U.S. Ambassadors to the Un *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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