February 28, 2004

So Do We Support the UN or Not?

The row surrounding the bugging of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's office highlight's the West's hypocritical stance on the UN. On the one hand, we want to use the UN as a moral, political and even military bludgeon to enforce our values on "rogue" states, but on the other hand we are happy to see it remain effecticely crippled by its out-dated structure and lack of financing, the better to manipulate UN decisions in our favour. And God forbid the UN should ever dare to criticize us!

As the Guardian? leader says today:

"The 1946 convention establishing the UN, signed by the UK, expressly asserts its inviolability (though that does not stop the UN having its own counter-intelligence department). As Mr Annan's spokesman pointed out, everything the secretary-general does would be undermined if those to whom he spoke lost confidence in the confidentiality of their conversations. "

It's time the West made up its mind about the UN.

Look at Europe, where citizens of many nations now tell pollsters they feel more "European" than any one specific nationality. The EU government is often criticized for its increasing powers, but in a continent with a history of bloodied wars, surely this is not a bad thing. Besides, as Europeans realize, it makes good economic sense.

Why can't we apply the same principles to our global community? Do I feel more "Australian" or more "human"?

As we embark on a new century, we should drop foolish nationalistic ideas and commit ourselves to fully supporting noble international institutions like the UN and the International Criminal Court. With the global population set to rise to unsustainable levels, and with forecasts of impending doom from global warming, such an international approach to problem-solving may be our only hope of survival as a species.


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