Barnett argues that the United Nations, by operating on the principle of the consent of the parties, can encourage the development of a more stable and cooperative security architecture. The articulation and transmission of norms and the establishment of mechanisms can encourage transparency in interstate and internal matters. After the Cold War some entertained the possibility of increasing United Nations involvement in security affairs and making it a muscular security organization. Such visions, however, outstripped either what the United Nations was immediately capable of accomplishing or what the member states were willing to support. These developments demand a more pragmatic assessment of the United Nations to learn what it can do well, what it cannot do well, and how it can become more effective.
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