How to Construe a Myth: Neutrality within the United Nations System Under Special Consideration of the Austrian Case
Posted: 21 Jun 2017 Last revised: 16 Nov 2018
Date Written: June 20, 2017
In the 19th century neutrality was a highly appreciated concept. In the 20th century it has widely lost relevance and in principle it should be incompatible with UN membership. However, also under the UN system some states have opted for neutrality and it can be argued that there is still space for this status within the universal peace order. In fact, this peace order is far from perfect. There are several lacunae in the prohibition of the use of force and this concept is open to different interpretations. New challenges, such as international terrorism, are emerging that could threaten the absolute prohibition of the use of force. It is contended here that neutrals could play an important role when it comes to find an interpretation of this prohibition that best could reconcile the goals of peace and security with the overall - still imperfect - structure of the UN system. These questions are analysed with primary reference to Austrian neutrality which on the hand seems obsolete but on the other is forcefully looking for a new meaning.
Keywords: neutrality, prohibition of the use of force, UN law, collective security, Austria
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation