I was in New York for a few days at the United Nations Association Members’ Day, February 10, 2012, held in the General Assembly. The dozen panelists discussed a wide range of compelling global issues, including,
UN Peacekeeping: Its evolution and operations globally
The Security Council’s new assertiveness in peace and security
Rio+20: Pre-event expectations and potential impact
Millennium Development Goals: Post-2015: What’s next?
Family Care & Women’s Health and Re-productive Rights
View from Jamaica… in the UN General Assembly Hall, where I sat during the UNA Members Day, Feb. 10, 2012. My tweets are available on my Wall below, if interested in highlights.
View from behind Burundi… in the UN General Assembly, where I sat during the afternoon, the UNA Members Day, Feb. 10, 2012. My tweets are available below, if interested in highlights. Susana Malcorra, UN Under Secretary-General of the Department of Field Support, on peacekeeping. An out-standing speaker…
My Twitter highlights follow…
“Millennium Declaration… unprecedented international compact” “signed by world leaders” #unausa #membersday2012 Corinne Woods –(@fglaysher)
“…relentless corporate propaganda” denies global warming. Jeffery Sachs #unausa Members Day — (@fglaysher) February 13 at 7:13am
JFK …make the world safe for diversity…. this small plant.” #unausa #membersday2012 — (@fglaysher)
Kofi Annan “No government has the right to hide behind national sovereignty.”… Ambassador Di Carlo #unausa
Israel, Palestinians….”need to come to terms.” Di Carlo #unausa #membersday2012 — February 12 at 9:00pm
“Peacekeeping… the whole range… difficult command and control.” Ugo Salinas #unausa #membersday2012 — fglaysher (@fglaysher)
“…institution building so that the peacekeepers can withdraw.” Ugo Salinas #usauna #membersday2012
“Why has [peacekeeping] not really worked? …lack of speed is a political one.” Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber #unausa #membersday2012 — fglaysher (@fglaysher) i.e., UN tends not to move fast enough to keep up with a developing crisis. The machinery is not in place to allow it to do otherwise.
“Countries don’t want the Secretary-General to have a rapid response force because he might use it.” Wolfgang #unausa #membersdY2012 — fglaysher…
“Peacekeeping …. is based on the willingness of member states.”
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.
Half the Babbling Story…. July 12, 2006
Dore Gold tells the story of the corruption and failure of the dream of world organization and peace. Created in the aftermath of World War II, “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” the United Nations, the Allies against the fascist powers, has been infiltrated and hamstrung by despotic, racist, authoritarian regimes to the point of not being a mere irrelevancy but an active irritant and cause of international disorder.
Given Gold’s background as an Israeli diplomat, much of his focus and concern is on the anti-Semitism of the Arab and Third World block during the last few decades and its continual usurpation and undermining of the human rights machinery of the United Nations. While many observers might argue with the details of Gold’s critique, alleging perhaps that he hates the United Nations, distorts the facts, and so forth, I must say his animus runs deeper. The UN has failed to live up to the ideals of its Founding Fathers, and subsequent leaders, in the West and East, have failed to work diligently enough to develop the UN into a sufficiently humane and democratic system of international cooperation and governance. Without such strenuous efforts at developing the UN into something other than an instrument or tool of national policies, the UN shouldn’t entirely be blamed alone for its miserable results. In any event, there is plenty of blame to go around. Mr. Gold never recognizes that Western powers must bear their part of the load.
However, I agree fully with him in this regard:
“It is time to recognize that it has utterly failed to achieve its founders’ goals to halt aggression and assure world order” (238).
Reinvigorating the UN, as he says, may indeed be a long way off but it is the task that lies at hand. The Allies must summon the will to do it or create another international coalition worthy of their ideals. The sooner, the better.