The United Nations started the 1990s with such high hopes. With the end of the Cold War, the U.S.-Soviet rivalry that had paralyzed the Security Council had become a thing of the past, supposedly freeing the U.N. to become more assertive. The Gulf War, the U.N.'s second-ever military victory, seemed to vindicate those hopes -- even though, as in the Korean War, the baby-blue banner was used as a mere flag of convenience for an American-led alliance. President Bush spoke of a "new world order." Candidate Clinton talked about giving the United Nations more power and even its own standing military force.
It is hard to find any U.S. officials making similar suggestions today, only a decade later. They have been chastened, presumably, by the U.N.'s almost unrelieved record of failure in its peacekeeping missions.
The United Nations itself has recently released
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