Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Rozen on UN reform

This piece by Laura Rozen is a few months old now but well worth reading -

Building a Better UN
The Iraq War -- its run-up, its duration, and its aftermath -- showed us a bellicose American administration whose attitude toward the UN was one of contempt. That belligerent posture was, obviously, intentional: The people who agitated for unilateral war were many of the same people who have spent 20 years wishing that the UN would fall into the East River, and hoping that the Iraq War might start it tumbling. Their rhetoric has led multilateralists to defend the UN that much more vigorously, and that is proper -- time has largely proven we-told-you-so multilateralists right.

However, there was always a grain of truth in what the unilateralists were saying: There was, in fact, something deeply flawed about an institution that could pass more than a dozen resolutions against a tyrannical government like Saddam Hussein's and enforce them only haphazardly; that could name a state like Libya to head its human-rights arm, as the UN did in January 2003; and whose chief governing body, the Security Council, was as open to dictatorships as to democracies. So while multilateralists should be defending the UN, they should also be aware that the best way to save -- indeed, to strengthen -- an embattled institution is to acknowledge its shortcomings and deal with them.


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