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Scrutiny
  
Reformed? Not yet
UN’s real reforms have been kept untouched
15/11/2007

Of late, there has been major attempts to make the United Nations (UN) a more vibrant and strong organisation. In this regard quite a few reports have been submitted. Noted among them are, Investing in the UN: For a Stronger Organisation Worldwide, The Comprehensive Review of Governance and Oversight and Review of the UN Internal Justice System. In the first report, the summary of the report of the Secretary General states, ‘ from the organisation that emerged from .’ And then it goes on to state, ‘The United Nations, in short, is no longer a conference-servicing organisation located in a few headquarter locations. It is a highly diverse organisation working worldwide to improve the lives of people who need help.’ Well, we all know how much the UN works for the people and how often its missions have been successful.

But in essence can any reform of the UN be eventually be beneficial for the people at large unless the very charter of the UN is changed? Well, consider this, Article 25 of Chapter V of the Charter of the UN categorically states, ‘The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.’ This essentially has been the crux of the problem. Anything which is not in congruence with aspirations of the members of the Security Council, has not seen light of the day. Not just this, the veto power of the permanent members and especially of the US makes it a point that the UN essentially follows what is dictated by it. Net result? Successive Secretary Generals of the UN have been intelligently chosen from countries like Norway, Sweden, Burma, Austria, Peru, Egypt, Ghana & now South Korea. Now here’s the catch: Sweden and Norway would always be more than happy to be subservient to the US and NATO while Peru, Egypt & Ghana simply don’t matter. South Korea for the obvious reasons is more than willing to accede to American demands or rather dictums.
The Security Council which has a major say in the selection of the UN Secretary General has been extremely shrewd in making sure that there is never a major conflict of interest or clash of ego between them and the elected Secretary General. What better way to guarantee this than to elect someone from lesser mortal nations? This, to make sure that even if there is a conflict of interest, the geopolitical influence of his native nation would not pose any hindrance. All that Kofi Annan could do when the US almost unilaterally decided to invade Iraq was to feel upset. Reason?? He was from Ghana. But what if he would have been from a country like India which is military powerful, economically booming, has global aspirations and yet not willing to always play to the tune set by the US? A verbal threat of economic isolation or stoppage of aid is good enough to make a Ghana or even a South Korea back off. But it’s doubtful whether it would work for India. At least it didn’t work after the 1998 nuclear tests. Need more reasons why Shashi Tharoor was not elected for the post? He certainly would have, had he been from a Sierra Leone or Chile. But countries like India? No way. It’s now too hot to play with them. So adieu to reforms in such elections, hail status quo and continue with a hogwash of ineffective reforms.

By:- Pathikrit Payne
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