chapter  14
The United Nations
ByThomas G Weiss
Pages 12

For civilians thrashed about by armed confl icts and natural disasters, the universal membership and cosmopolitan values of the United Nations bring it immediately to mind as a source of succor and protection. The focus here is on contemporary UN eff orts to come to the rescue in wars, the bulk of today’s emergencies, whose politics are considerably more fraught than those resulting from nature’s calamities. While the world organization’s profi le makes it a natural choice, it is not one without problems. This chapter examines key defi nitions before spelling out the essential components of the UN system. The most acute problems are followed by a discussion of how to attenuate them.1