Reuters

For the first half of the decade since the Cold War's end, the atmosphere in the U.N. Security Council was decidedly improved. With less East-West divisiveness, the council met more frequently and did more business. Only seven vetoes were cast in the post-Cold War period, versus 240 in the first 45 years of U.N. life. Twenty peacekeeping operations were mandated, more than the total for all the preceding years.

But then the initial optimism about the Security Council's ability to get its job done in a vetoless world turned sour. Particularly dismaying were the last 12 months, during which the council

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