International Administration of War-Torn Societies (Global Insights) - Global Governance

International Administration of War-Torn Societies (Global Insights)

By Global Governance

  • Release Date: 2004-01-01
  • Genre: Politics & Current Events
International Administration of War-Torn Societies (Global Insights) book review score

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International Administration of War-Torn Societies (Global Insights) Global Governance Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

There is nothing wholly new under the sun. Examples of international administration can be found in the early and mid-twentieth century--and even the late nineteenth, if one counts the infamous International African Association used by the King of the Belgians to legitimize his personal landgrab in the Congo. But those were exceptions, in an age when empire was generally not afraid to speak its name. Nonsovereign territories usually fell under the control of a single imperial power. That model was on the whole simpler and more efficient than the creation of an ad hoc multinational bureaucracy, and this was implicitly recognized in the system of mandates introduced by the League of Nations and later inherited by the UN under the name of trusteeship. One member state assumed control of, and responsibility for, the destiny of the territory concerned and was (notionally at least) accountable for its management to the rest of the international community. By the late twentieth century, however, imperialism had been more or less universally abandoned, at least in its overt form. The populations of former UN trust territories had all achieved independence, either becoming sovereign states in their own right or (as in the case of Togoland and Northern Cameroons) opting to unite with neighboring ones. Palau was the last to achieve independence. The Trusteeship Council, defined by the UN Charter as one of the "principal organs" of the UN, has withered to a kind of vermiform appendix, holding only token meetings to acknowledge that it has no business to transact. Its splendid chamber at UN headquarters in New York, situated between those of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Security Council, has become, in effect, no more than an extra conference room, available for miscellaneous meetings to which it seems appropriate to give a touch of solemnity or magnificence not available in the basement.

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