Friday, September 17, 2004

Why the UN needs reform

From The Age, Morton Abramowitz and Samantha Power on
Why the world can't cope with African crises:
...the existence of the UN Security Council hides the crux of the problem: countries do not want to do what is necessary to prevent large-scale loss of life in messy, complex Africa.

Crises such as Darfur require urgent action, and states are well aware that the Security Council cannot act urgently. It is not by accident that they throw the problem into the labyrinth of UN deliberations, which allows them to play the role of good international citizens, while the Security Council with its built-in vetoes from Russia and China and its built-in opposition from rotating members such as Pakistan and Algeria, prevents any serious action against sovereign nations.

The international system is broken, at least when it comes to Africa.
There's a lot of blame to go round but the problem with the UN is that it has become a mechanism for Looking Good but Doing Nothing.

There's a good interview with Power here: "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide. She was pretty damning of the US failing do anything in Rwanda.

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