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Anything that is written by Professor Brierly is worth reading. He is one of the keenest minds operating in the field of international law, and his views of the outlook for that system are therefore important. It is rather depressing to observe that the defects of the existing system which he notes in Chapter I find their only relief in a supposed international organization which, in spite of good wishes, must be said to be thus far marked by regrettable failures. The period of two great wars it is not responsible for. A new experiment in international organization, the United Nations, organized since the book was published, is accompanied by a commitment that no action shall be taken by the operative Security Council except by the unanimous consent of five great powers, a unanimity which has never prevailed on any important issue. They seem likely to use their veto not only to prevent action against themselves, and possibly even consideration of the question, but also action against their satellites and spheres of influence which all of them have strengthened. The organization is thus apparently left with the promise of action only against powers neutral in the late war and against ex-enemy states, Japan, Germany and Italy, which in part have been deprived by the Potsdam Agreement, with little reference to the limitations of law, of substantial hope of future life. Perhaps it was not this system which appealed to Professor Brierly as a promise for the future strengthening of international law.
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