The Fall of the UN

Saddam Hussein's reign of terror is about to end. His Ba'athist government, however, will not go alone. In a fitting irony, the United Nations is going down with him.

Perhaps the entire UN will not disappear. Those parts devoted to "good works" (i.e., the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies or those that fight AIDs and malaria or protect children) will remain. The looming chatterbox on New York's East River will also continue to bleat. What died with the Security Council's unwillingness to sanction force to implement its own resolutions on Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction was the decades-old fantasy of the UN as the bedrock of world order.

As we sift the debris of the war to liberate Iraq, it will be important to preserve-the better to understand-the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of security through international law administered by international institutions.

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