For a Kinder, Gentler Society
The United Nations: States vs. International Laws
  • Donald A. Wells
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The United Nations: States vs. International Laws.
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At a time when there are so many questions over national sovereignty versus the international community's right and responsibility to intervene in crisis situations, America cannot and ought not to act alone. Here, examining the premier organization of the international community, Dr. Wells explores the great accomplishments and great failures of the UN, and shows how its structure creates operational strengths and weaknesses. He explores the US use of the veto, the legitimacy of US special military courts, and the bases of internationally accepted law.

About the Author

Donald A. Wells is emeritus professor of philosophy from the University of Hawaii at Hilo; his earlier professorships were at Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the University of Illinois.

He has taught courses and written articles on the United Nations for the past twelve years. He is vice chair of the UNA of USA of Southern Oregon. Earlier published books include God Man and the Thinker: Philosophies of Religion (New York: Random House, 1962), The War Myth (New York: Pegasus, 1967), War Crimes and Laws of War (Lanham: University Press of America, 1984), War Crimes and Laws of War revised 1991, The Laws of Land Warfare (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1992), and An Encyclopedia of War and Ethics (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1996).

About the Book

Few Americans understand why the United Nations can’t do more when facing catastrophes like those in the former Yugoslavia, East Timor, and Palestine/Israel. The author traces the UN’s weaknesses to the compromises that were...

Few Americans understand why the United Nations can’t do more when facing catastrophes like those in the former Yugoslavia, East Timor, and Palestine/Israel. The author traces the UN’s weaknesses to the compromises that were made at its founding, and highlights all the organization has accomplished despite these handicaps.

The book shows that the United Nations structure was tailored to suit the United States, in 1944, to ensure that decisions in the General Assembly (where we might be outvoted) would be considered “recommendations” which could be ignored.

The US use of the veto is explored, especially as it has made it impossible for the U.N. to serve as the appropriate reconciler to resolve the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Why did the US delegate vote against the Convention Against the Discrimination of Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming? These and similar questions are addressed.

The book explains the role of the U.N. Security Council in establishing when a “threat to the peace” exists, whether an embargo is legitimate, and whether, in the last instance, military action is justified.

The author considers both the importance of the newly ratified International Criminal Court (ICC), and the reasons for the US rejection of such a Court. In view of the current debates over the authenticity of the 1949 Geneva Conventions as they speak to the treatment of “prisoners of war,” the role of U.N. declarations is especially critical.

Can the leader of any state arbitrarily invent international laws, while rejecting conventions ratified by a majority of the world’s nations?


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Pages 204
Year: 2005
LC Classification: JZ4984.5.W46
Dewey code: 341.23dc22
BISAC: LAW051000
BISAC: POL001000
BISAC: POL021000
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-361-0
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-362-7
Price: USD 28.95
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