The Nation‘s Atossa Araxia Abrahamian discusses the role and status of the U.N. in NYC, and Pamela Hanlon’s new book, A Worldly Affair: New York, the United Nations, and the Story Behind Their Unlikely Bond, published by Fordham University Press.
“International Territory: Three new books map the ambiguities of the UN’s extraterritorial status.”
“Pamela Hanlon in her new book about the UN and New York City’s evolving relationship…gives the sweeping developments surrounding the UN a particular locality and tells the story of postwar internationalism in a readable, human way… the real strength of Hanlon’s approach is that it juxtaposes America’s inequalities with the UN’s multiculturalism.”
“Every year, the United Nations General Assembly descends upon New York City, bringing with it traffic jams, crowded subways, diplomatic mishaps, and, in recent years, some tens of millions’ worth of public spending. Given the trouble—and today, a president whose only real interest in foreign policy seems to be alienating other nations—it’s hard to believe that ordinary Americans once saw the prospect of hosting the UN in their country as a benefit, not a costly liability.
Yet that was the prevailing sentiment in 1945, when the organization was searching for a place to settle. It was a different time: The men and women whom today’s right-wing politicians revile as “globalists” enjoyed a slightly more flattering profile. Intellectuals were more inclined to condemn nationalism strongly and without hesitation, calling it “power-hunger tempered by self-deception” (Orwell) or “an infantile disease…the measles of mankind” (Einstein). World peace was largely deemed a cause worthy of intellectual inquiry and charitable giving, rather than the subject of resigned shrugs…”
Read the full article here.