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United Nations; International relations


As an instrument of foreign policy, the United Nations performs three functions: it legitimizes particular national policies, it facilitates international negotiations, and it provides material support for policy by allocating manpower and other resources. In dealings with the Soviet bloc during the past two decades, the United States has used the United Nations primarily to confer legitimacy on anti-communist policies. Since the mid- l 950's, however, the increasing unreliability of U.N. majorities and improved Soviet-American relations have brought a relative de-emphasis of the legitimization function. Correspondingly, a somewhat enlarged U.N. role as a forum for East-West negotiations has emerged. Except for the Korean war, the material support function of the U.N. has not been significant in East-West relations.

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