The UN Security Council bears a primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. However, members of the world’s most important international institution frequently disagree on how to live up to this responsibility.
International crises, therefore, are often shaped by incoherent and selective decision-making processes, which are considered a threat to the Council’s legitimacy and credibility. In his recently published dissertation, Holger Niemann argues for a different view. His book reveals that competing interpretations of the meaning of Security Council responsibility actually contribute to the emergence of shared norms and values in the United Nations.
Disagreement over the Security Council’s normative foundations affects its decision-making processes. Case studies on the Iraq and Syria crises underline the productivity of these processes for the emergence of shared norms and values in the Security Council.
The book demonstrates that in international organizations, norms and values are in constant flux, and debating them is the key to the legitimacy of these organizations.
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