Rosemary Righter is certainly much righter that Paul Kennedy is in his new book The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present and Future of the United Nations. She also has a book, and you can get her take from its title: Utopia Lost: The United Nations and the World Order. They are interesting to read together. The one lives in a different world from the other, a very different world. And I'm not saying that Kennedy lives in a fantasy world. But if the UN is going to perform the functions he thinks it should and can, almost everything that enmeshes the organization today will have to turn more stable and more humane than they look like they will. Not a chance.

Righter, who is an editor of the Times of London, is not clearly a dreamer. In fact, she just as clearly has nightmares. Kofi Annan gives them to her. He gives them to me too. You can get the gist of the argument in a review by Righter of Kennedy's book in an exemplary review in the Times Literary Supplement in which she allows her antagonist to have his say. Then she, well, read it.