The United Nations, International Security and the National Interest

  • Gene M. Lyons


In his history of warfare, after surveying the role of war and warriors in human society from the stone age to the end of the Cold War, John Keegan comes to the conclusion that ‘war … may well be ceasing to commend itself to human beings as a desirable or productive, let alone rational means of reconciling their discontents’.1 This does not mean that the world is free of violence, but only that political leaders, faced with complex decisions in an increasingly interdependent world, may now realize that while ‘politics must continue, war cannot’. After two devastating ‘total wars’ in the twentieth century and a ‘Cold War’ characterized by the threat of mutual nuclear destruction, there is a sense that soldiers must serve, in Keegan’s terms, as the ‘protectors’ and not the destroyers ‘of civilization’. Their enemies, moreover, will not necessarily be the forces of other states, but rather ‘ethnic bigots, regional warlords, ideological intransigents, common pillagers and organized international criminals’.


Foreign Policy Security Council National Interest Internal Conflict Military Force 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gene M. Lyons

There are no affiliations available

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