Kurt Waldheim, 1972–1981

Kent J. Kille

in The UN Secretary-General and the Security Council

Published in print March 2018 | ISBN: 9780198748915
Published online April 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780191811609 | DOI:
Kurt Waldheim, 1972–1981

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Kurt Waldheim is recognized as a subservient office-holder who bent to the will of the Great Powers. Waldheim’s individual decision-making and engagement with Security Council decisions was largely based on meeting the needs of the dictating powers and ensuring his own ongoing position as Secretary-General—to the point of almost securing the only third term in office in the history of the organization. As Secretary-General, Waldheim carefully managed his relationship with the Security Council, closely hewed to constraints placed upon his handling of the office, and often operated as an agent of the principal powers of the Security Council. This relationship steered the actions that emerged for addressing breaches of international peace and security across Waldheim’s time in office, and provides important lessons for understanding the impact of Secretary-General/Security Council interactions and relative influences on decision-making within the UN.

Keywords: Kurt Waldheim; UN Secretary-General; UN Security Council; UN decision-making; International security

Chapter.  9854 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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