Mohammed Bedjaoui, the Algerian Ambassador to the United Nations and a member of the UN's Committee for International Law, shows here how international law can be used as a tool to reshape the present international economic order -- or, as the author believes, lack of it.
The new international economic order between "North" and "South," which has been discussed and debated in many forums in the past few years, must be based, says the author, on a new international legal system. The most provocative chapter of his book deals with the "democratisation of international relations" through the restructuring of the UN and the creation of international administrations that could free poor nations from the restrictions they say are imposed upon them directly or indirectly by the club of rich nations.
Specifically, Mr. Bedjaoui challenges the right of veto of the big powers, which, he says, gives them excessive power. To support his argument, he quotes from a little-known 1973 report addressed by the US State Department to the White House, which maps out a plan to reshape the UN system so as to shield the developed nations from the "automatic majority," and to preserve the rich countries' power of decision within the UN.
The author makes a strong case for economic interdependence and for international cooperation, for a harmonious and collectively planned development rather than one directed by a few countries for their own benefit.