The United States’ return within UNESCO

This paper considers the reasons for the United States’ return to UNESCO in 2003, in the light of those put forward for their departure in 1984. The conditions for this seemingly paradoxical return appear less as a rupture than as a radicalisation of previous positions; they have to be interpreted more as a hardening than a softening of American positions in foreign affairs, due to the changes the Bush doctrine brought to the soft governance system his predecessors had elaborated and fine-tuned since World War Two. In this light, UNESCO runs the risk of becoming an additional weapon in the war against terrorism, allowing the United States to promote their educational and cultural projects in the Middle East, in order to insure the security of their own democracy. However, in the face of this « exceptionnalism », UNESCO remains nonetheless an agency for intercultural dialogue which can result, in the middle term, in bringing back the United States into the folds of multilateralism and a larger spirit of concertation. – Summary AFRI-2004