UNvanquished : A U.S. – U.N. Saga. Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
Global Tragedies of Our Own Making…. October 30, 2000
I’ve often thought or returned to passages in Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s UNvanquished since reading it in the early summer of 1999. Throughout the debate and defeat of the CTBT, the charades over Congressional withholding of funding to the UN, Jesse Helms’ appalling performance before Security Council Members in January of 2000, my attending the Millennium Forum as an accredited participant at the UN in May 2000, watching and hoping the requisite will might be found at the Millennium Summit in September 2000, I have repeatedly found myself recalling Boutros-Ghali’s devastating critique of US undermining of the United Nations, struggled to fight off a pervasive sense of tragedy and lost opportunity, lost since 1992 when Boutros-Ghali’s Agenda for Peace was shunted aside.
How many echos I’ve heard from the couple of hundred books I’ve read on the League of Nations and United Nations. How frightening it has been to watch my fellow citizens so obsessed with their own little private, selfish worlds, turning away from international responsibilities and duties, scape-goating the UN for our own failures and loss of nerve. During the last year, I’ve been interviewed on over 230 radio stations about my own book, Into the Ruins, partly on the UN, in literary terms, and have heard firsthand all the extremist arguments against the participation of my country in the Organization, attempting to refute them as best I can.
There are many who understand the seriousness of the situation. William H. Luers, the President of the UNA-USA, writes a comprehensive appeal for UN support in his “Choosing Engagement: Uniting the U.N. with U.S. Interests” in the September/October 2000 issue of Foreign Affairs. The UNA, World Federalist Association, and others have done much to educate and elevate discussion about the necessity of our global cooperation through the United Nations. Alas, I often doubt, in the end, such efforts will save the day. Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s Unvanquished reveals why. Having read all the writings and memoirs of the UN Secretary Generals, I believe UNvanquished stands alone as the most insightful, courageous, heroic work ever written about the realities of the United Nations and its Member States, especially the US.
Having failed the League of Nations and themselves, the global community rose from the ashes of World War II to form a more perfect union. As the Millennium Summit has recently demonstrated on paper, while most of the US media ignored it, the Member States understand precisely what needs to be done. Events already suggest they, we, still lack the will and shall quite likely have to suffer the dread forces of history in order to recover it.