Michael Burleigh

World Order

No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations

By

Princeton University Press 236pp £16.95 order from our bookshop

The United Nations has come in for severe criticism from the likes of US ‘Ambassador’ John Bolton and his fellow neo-con hawks for its post-colonial biases, notably against Israel, and from liberals who believe it should be more active in pursuing the agendas of human-rights lawyers and NGOs. Ironically, its most stalwart defenders are such autocracies as China and Russia, as well as the many dictatorships represented in the General Assembly, for the UN manages to combine its global humanitarian and peace-keeping efforts with a staunch defence of the sovereign integrity of its member nation states. The US seems to be taking a fresh look at the organisation. After the aggressive unilateralism of George W Bush, the UN may come back from the margins under the more multilaterally minded Barack Obama, an early recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize because of his rediscovery of diplomacy. Here is an opportunity indeed.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,