Saturday, September 17, 2005 UN reforms received mixed response

It's a good article and I don't really want to get into the details here except sufice to say, it's hardly nuclear physics and brain surgery to figure that not everyone will be happy with it. I've had personal experience in trying to form and bridge a consensus between 12 people. 198 nations? Pigs would probably fly before any consensus on a substantive matter (UN Security Council Reform, Nuclear Non-proliferation, Aid budget of rich nations etc.) will be achieved. The reason I'm willing to bet any amount of money is really quite simple, considering the clash of conflicts and the fact that the WTO has not seen any agreement since Seattle in 1999, that's how I know.

On any issue of substance, there simply is not any global consensus on the best way forward for every nation on Earth. That is because, given the differing historical, political, economic and social climate of each nation, these differences translate into very real divergant stances on everything mentioned above.

Even on a matter as 'simple' as trade, though we know that free trade is good simply because of the comparative advantages of each nation (not unlike how we work to get money to buy stuff that we would otherwise have to make ourselves i.e. a terribly inefficient use of our resources), there is nevertheless no agreement amongst nations on how these should be achieved. 1st world nations have protectionism to protect failing industries either on a basis of national security, pride, or simply too strong a lobby group. 3rd world nations do so on a misguided attempt to protect their infant industries in the hope that they would grow up strong and become national champions, unfortunately all these does is to create weak, emanciated national parasites that prey upon the citizens with expensive, lousy groups. Anyone born in India in the 60s would understand what I mean.

Thus, on a more complicated geo-political issue like nuclear non-proliferation, you have even more divisive stances taken up by nations like Iran (who argue that they have a soveriegn right to peaceful civil nuclear programmes) and North Korea (who argue that they have a need to protect themselves against an American invasion) to France (who feel the need to test their weapon stockpile) to Russia (who have problems keeping their stockpile safe) to America (who want to test mini/tactical nukes because the large ones are effective useless for military purposes.) Given not just a range of views and opposite dicotomies, is it any real wonder that a) nothing is done, b) a compromise is created that's hated by all parties or c) empty platitutes that mean nothing.

Underlying all of these is the real problem of a lack of a world government in the sense that in a domestic functioning judiciary, all are equal before the law because the government says so and has the sanctioning ability to do so. On an international level, there's really no such power to sanction by any international organisation because they essentially derive their power from the members themselves and the disparity between the powers (political, economic and military) are so great and vast that any belief that the US cannot do whatever it wants (within limits) or that they are unnecessary tend to be obtusely naive.

Ladies and gentlemen, Madam Speaker and members of the house, why are we even surprised?




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