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Thant's ten years as secretary-general witnessed a series of new peacekeeping missions in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and the establishment of institutional structures for the discussions of North-South economic issues. But fiscal crisis brought near paralysis; the United States became increasingly alienated from the organization over the existing policies in Vietnam; and the Arab-Israeli War demonstrated the UN's inability to prevent crisis from escalating into war. By the end of Thant's second term, the position of secretary-general was more secure but far weaker than it was ten years before.
About the Author
Dr. Bernard J. Firestone is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Political Science at Hofstra University, New York.