This article presents information regarding the book "Past Imperfect, Future Uncertain: The United Nations at Fifty," edited by Ramesh Thakur. Thakur's call for the creation and strengthening of humanitarian norms in the medium and long term is a practical goal. It comes at a time when intervention in intrastate conflict has depended on a concurrence of the various interests of states. Since the end of the Cold War, responses to crises have tended to unfold selectively, when those who have the capability to respond also have the motivation to respond. The obvious dilemma in such an approach is that much of the world's conflict has been ignored and, consistent with James Rosenau's chapter in this volume, there is little the UN can do in the face of major and often unprecedented intrastate upheaval. One approach is to pursue an international consensus on when it is appropriate to intervene under circumstances of gross human rights violations and state failures. This is one of the most important ideas in this volume. It echoes recent studies on UN reform commissioned by the United Nations General Secretary and the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.