If you’re interested, I’ll be on C-SPAN Book TV tomorrow, Sunday, February 24, at 1:20 pm, talking about my book, Living With the UN: American Responsibilities and International Order. It runs about half an hour, and though I have no idea whether I’m especially interesting on the program, I very much enjoyed doing it – I thought the interviewer was terrific (and I can’t seem to find his name on the website) and asked excellent questions.
The book itself has three agendas. The first is to sketch out an account of international relations in which the US has a dual role in the world system – as both hegemonic actor and biggest player in the UN system. The UN system of collective security is guaranteed by the US as the hegemon that provides important global public goods – a large part of the world can pay lip service to UN collective security, but at the end of the day depends upon the US. The book’s second agenda is to give an account of the UN and its deep dysfunction. The book’s third agenda is to give a critique of the Obama administration’s dealings with the UN – a quite sharply critical one. The book urges the US to deal with the UN on the basis of its distinct parts and functions – always to engage with the Security Council; selective engagement with particular organs of the UN that work reasonably well; and disengagement with parts of the UN that are always going to end in trouble.
The book came out from Hoover Institution Press in mid-2012, but I think seems surprisingly more relevant in the second Obama administration. I plan to start blogging on topics related to US-UN relations, of which there are many these days. Here is a link to the video of the interview; it was recorded on February 8 and aired February 24, 2013.