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

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

This exposé certainly did nothing to help the reputation of the United Nations. As Brian Urquhart, who served as undersecretary‐ general during the 1970s, has written: "Waldheim, emerging as a living lie, has done immense damage not only to his own country but to the United Nations and those who have devoted, and in some cases sacrificed, their lives for it....The Waldheim episode is above all an indictment of the way in which governments, and especially the great powers, select the world's leading international civil servants." 35

The United States not only was one of those great powers, but through two administrations ( Nixon's and Carter's) had worked, sometimes very closely and sympathetically, with Waldheim. Indeed, this tarnished public servant, carrying enormously damaging baggage, had, a disapproving Urquhart has said, performed "rather better" than he had anticipated. 36


1968

The year of Nixon's election to the presidency was possibly the most traumatic in the postwar era. It began in January with the Tet lunar new year holiday, when the Vietcong enemy simultaneously attacked the major cities of South Vietnam, infiltrating even the American embassy in Saigon. Even if, as defenders of Johnson's Vietnam policy argued, the offensive was a desperate gamble on the part of the Vietcong, and ultimately a military loss, it represented a public relations disaster for policy-makers wishing to carry the war forward. For some years the opposition to the war had increased among Americans, and Tet seemed the last straw to the growing number of doubters.

Within just over a month, the antiwar Democratic candidate Eugene McCarthy challenged the president in the first primary of the campaign season, in New Hampshire. McCarthy embarrassed the president by winning a surprising 42 percent of the vote. On the last day of March, Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection, throwing the Democratic Party into disarray, as both Senator Robert Kennedy and Vice President Hubert Humphrey now entered the race.

____________________
Years ( New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1995), 185-203.
35
Brian Urquhart, A Life in Peace and War ( New York: Harper and Row, 1987), 227-228.
36
Ibid., 228.

-184-

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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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