Friday, July 25, 2008

Advice from 70 Years Ago

In 1938, on the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, the faculty published a volume of faculty papers entitled "World Crisis."

One of the contributors, professor Maurice Bourquin, had an observation that seems apropos today when we talk about the international system:

"The world today is not what it was when the institutions on which we still depend were formed. These were regulated with reference to a state of things that social evolution has long since outrun, and if we feel that the institutions are less efficient, letus not make the mistake of believing that this is due to temporary defects."

Amen to Professor Bourquin.

When the reform of the UNSC fails or the Secretary-General sides so obviously with western interests in fundamental issues such as Kosovo, one wonders if the UN HQ shouldn't be located in Geneva...

US government is very good at tactical usage of international institutions for the benefit of US.

US is a polity run by tactical (operational) considerations and not strategic interests. Just look at the way the quarterly returns of publicly traded companies are tied to their valuations.

The tactical US approach is actually a blessing in disguise for other states that can plan strategically without having to worry much about US.
I had realised that before of course, but I'm referring to the UN itself and not to US policy towards the UN.

The problem is that if the current UN is unable to reform, the only solution is for a counterpart to emerge...

And I'm certain that it wouldn't be as favourable to the west.

There are already regional groupings; SCO, MercoSur, ASEAN, etc.

The UN was setup to prevent war among major powers. There are only 3 major powers now; US, Russia, and China being a distant third (no Brazil or India or Japan).

However, a World War will start when US-EU attaqck Iran. In that sense, UN is useless.
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