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March 23, 2005

Washington Times: Annan Too Rigid With Reform

Kofi Annan has a few ideas about reforming that lumbering behemoth, the United Nations. That's fine...but it's reminiscent of closing the barn doors after the horse has run out.

In an excellent editorial in today's Washington Times, his reforms and his approach to those reforms are examined.

Some of the proposals offered by Mr. Annan constitute necessary first steps toward making the United Nations a viable institution. But his ideas seem to fall into two main categories: ones that sound vaguely appealing, but lack essential details, and ones that will do nothing to improve things -- and may actually make them worse.
What are the proposed reforms? Among them is the creation of a Democracy Fund, apparently to promote democracy across the world. Great, but as the Times says, "it could easily turn into a political slush fund."

Similarly, Mr. Annan wants governments to earmark 0.7 percent of their gross national product (a figure apparently plucked out of thin air) for development and to negotiate a treaty against nuclear terrorism and a convention against terrorism. How these ideas would actually work -- and whether they would function in practice as a means to thwart U.S.-led coalitions from acting against rogue states -- remains unclear.

Not to mention the UN couldn't even bring itself to act upon resolutions it brought upon Saddam Hussein and Iraq...when it was known that Hussein was aiding and abetting terrorists throughout the Middle East. Simply throwing more money at the problem and holding a convention (two things the UN loves to do) won't necessarily solve anything.

Here's the kicker:

Mr. Annan appears to be insisting that the U.N. member states uncritically do everything he says. "The temptation is to treat the list as an a la carte menu and select those that you especially fancy," Mr. Annan told the General Assembly on Monday. "In this case, that approach will not work."
I see. Member states might like some, but not all, of Annan's ideas, but they will have to take the whole package regardless of valid concerns that might come up. Annan, who is surely familiar with dining in fine restaurants, seems to be forgetting that the kitchen will gladly make changes to menu selections in order to please the customer.

Annan forgets that the UN is there to serve its members, who pay dearly for the "privilege" of belonging.

Reform should start at the top. And as Kofi Annan is at the top, perhaps it's time to find someone else who is willing to take UN reform seriously...not like a toddler who, by throwing tantrums like a toddler, keeps his parents from acting in a rational manner.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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