Book review

World Federalist Reading (December 2017)

A number of recent books provide insights into reform of the United Nations, a plan for peace, reflections on federalism, and the history and future of the prosecution of war crimes.


A United Nations Renaissance: What the UN is, and what it could be covers a lot of ground.  Co-written by John Trent, chair of the Board of Directors of the World Federalist Movement – Canada and Laura Schmurr, who works on social innovation with the J.W. McConnell Foundation, begins with an overview of the United Nations, its history, and how it has developed. The book continues with chapters addressing specific areas of the UN’s work (the Security Council, social and economic development, human rights etc.). In each case, the book discusses not only how the UN operates, but also how it has innovated over the years, and possible future reforms.

A United Nations Renaissance: What the UN is, and what it could be
John Trent and Laura Schmurr
Barbara Budrich Publishers, January 2018

 

 

 


World Peace Through Law: Replacing War with the Global Rule of Law is by James Taylor Ranney, a professor at Widener University School of Law. He offers a three-part proposal based on the idea that the use of alternatives to war is the solution to the problem of peace. His proposal combines arms reductions, particularly the abolition of nuclear weapons; a system of global alternative dispute resolution (ADR); and sufficient mechanisms for enforcement, including a UN Peace Force. The core for Ranney are the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms: compulsory negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and adjudication by the World Court.

World Peace Through Law: Replacing War with the Global Rule of Law
James Taylor Ranney – Routledge, September 2017

 

 

 

 


The collection of essays, Federalism: A Political Theory for Our Time, brings together the most significant essays published in The Federalist Debate between 1999 and 2015. Edited by Lucio Levi, Giampiero Bordino, and Antonio Mosconi, the book broadly addresses “federalism as political thought which aims to abolish war and build peace through law” through a wideranging selection of essays that address trends in contemporary history, international relations, and multilateral institutions, both in Europe and internationally.

Federalism. A Political Theory for Our Time
Lucio Levi, Giampiero Bordino, and Antonio Mosconi, editors
P.I.E-Peter Lang S.A., Éditions Scientifiques Internationales, September 2016

 

 

 

 


The final book of our current selection is Human Rights after Hitler: The Lost History of Prosecuting Axis War Crimes by Dan Plesch, who is the director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS, University of London. The book discusses the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC) and addresses the long forgotten war crimes prosecutions against Hitler and other Axis war criminals, including some indictments of perpetrators of the Holocaust made while the death camps were still operating. The UNWCC’s files were long kept secret and Plesch addresses the precedents they set regarding
issues that remain of importance today, including torture and sexual assault.

Human Rights after Hitler: The Lost History of Prosecuting Axis War Crimes
Dan Plesch
Georgetown University Press, April 2017

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