Special and Not Special: The Holy See, the 1991 Iraq War,and the United Nations Conferences of 1994 and 1995

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Abstract

In international politics, the Holy See and the United Nations [UN] share a universal mission for peace and human rights, and some observers see the Vatican’s relationship with the international organisation as indicative of this special nature. However, the Holy See never subsumes its narrow interests to UN-espoused initiatives; indeed, it is comparable to any other Power or international organisation in its UN dealings. This analysis demonstrates this matter with two issues: Holy See-UN policy differences over the 1991 Iraq War, and the 1994 Cairo population and 1995 Beijing status of women UN conferences. Policy differences arose from Holy See interests and values that it sought to protect. During the Iraq war, it was the desire to protect Middle Eastern Christians. During the two conferences, these normative interests reflected the Church’s opposition to UN policy on abortion and socially constructed gender. Accordingly, Vatican disagreements are philosophically rooted and thus intrinsic. Therefore, like the relationships of other states with the UN, the Holy See is special and at the same time, not so special.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-533
Number of pages25
JournalDiplomacy and Statecraft
Volume31
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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