As 2023 ends, ambassadors and international officials at the U.N. do not have much to celebrate. The organization was having a hard year even before Hamas attacked Israel in October. Now the war in Gaza has sparked furious debates in the Security Council and General Assembly, with many asking if the U.N. can recover from the crisis.
Some observers have wondered whether the taboo against nuclear weapons is weakening under the pressures of resurgent nuclear brinksmanship and unyielding nuclear postures. But based on what political scientists know about international prohibition norms, there is less need for concern here than it might seem.