Disunited Nations

Why the UN was in trouble from the start

In the months before the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein, two words kept cropping up in the vocabulary of its opponents: sovereignty and legitimacy . The war, they said, would threaten the sovereignty of an autonomous state (the Baath party’s Iraq), and it would lack the legitimacy conferred by the backing of the United Nations.

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As Well As The Art Of Diplomacy, There Are Also The Arts Of Diplomacy

On any list of events that have altered the course of history the opening of Japan to foreign trade in 1854 must surely rank high. While the United States was pushing its boundaries westward to the Pacific and reaching the early stages of industrialization, Japan lay cradled in the tight shell of its own seventeenth century. Under an absolute ban on intercourse with the rest of the world imposed in 1638, Japanese citizens could not leave the islands, and foreigners could not enter them.Read more »

Which Way America? Dulles Always Knew

The job ran in the family; both his uncle and grandfather were Secretaries of State. Home life in a parsonage taught him piety, and the law precision. The rigid views of a world divided between good and evil he worked out, apparently, himself. Private letters and new taped recollections help explain the shaping of the man who set our Cold War foreign policy

About a dozen years ago Carol Burnett’s nightclub repertoire included a number, “I Made a Fool of Myself over John Foster Dulles.” In 1971, in an era of massive discontent with American foreign policy, Miss Burnett would be unwise to restore it to her program. For even though the song is pure camp, some youthful member of her audience would certainly jump to his feet with a denunciation of Dulles as the archetypal villain of the foreign-policy establishment he repudiates.Read more »

Where Ignorant Armies Clashed By Night

In the summer of 1918, with Russia removed from World War I as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution, the United States sent troops into Russia at two points. It did so only after the greatest soul-searching on the part of President Wilson, who had said that “the treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations … will be the acid test of their good will …” Two factors influenced the decision. In the Far East, Japan had made a move to occupy Siberia, apparently threatening America’s “open door” policy for China. In North Russia, English and French leaders had hopes of reviving the eastern front against Germany. In addition, large stores of Allied war supplies had been left at the port of Archangel. The expedition to North Russia resulted in fierce combat between American and Soviet soldiers and throws significant light on the forty years of difficult relations between the United States and the Soviet Union that were to follow.