The United States and the UN: return to the fold?
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The United States and the UN: return to the fold? book
Throughout the 2008 US presidential campaign, various voices supportive of the United Nations could be heard expectantly predicting that, if Obama won, the long estrangement of the United States from the UN would end. This chapter looks back – after Obama’s second victorious run for the presidency – and concludes that less has changed than might have been expected. Obama’s policy has been more of a piece with that of George W. Bush than many US supporters expected, but that is largely because the pro-Obama optimists failed to recognize that Bush’s policy was much of a piece with those of the administrations that came before him. As the distinguished French scholar of international cooperation, Jacques Fomerand, put it at the end of the Bush years, there was a ‘remarkable pattern of continuity with previous administrations’ that ‘runs counter to the comforting notion that we are in a mere ﬂ eeting moment of irresponsible insanity’. 1 The continuity from Bush through Obama has been largely a consequence of the structural position of the United States within a global political economy that remains governed by the state system (a legacy of the Agricultural Age) even while the outlines of the (necessarily) global political system of the Industrial Age are becoming more apparent.