Monday, January 03, 2005

Mario Loyola on the UN

I have read, and am now rereading, the Secretary General's High Level Panel report on global security and UN reform rather closely, and one of these days I will write a review of it. I did discuss in a bit here. In the meantime, Mario Loyola, writing in the Weekly Standard, discusses both the report and the more general issue of UN reform. Read it here.

Within US media circles, new and mainstream, attention to the report has largely disappeared, under the likely accurate assumption that none of this kind of greybeard pontificating has much to do with anything. Within diplomatic, international community, international academic, and so on circles, however, it is still a live issue. I hear the report discussed as though it were, if not a papal bull, then a document of Genuine Importance. The tones are respectful, if not precisely hushed. Given the shakeup of Kofi Annan's senior management team - the most important is the elevation of the United Nations Development Programme's Mark Malloch Brown - the Secretary General, eager both to survive and salvage his last two years and his "legacy," will be looking to engage in some kind of reform. This document cannot help but be a key part of the discussion, if only because there is no more time for Annan to pull much else together. In my view - I've read the report twice now - it is and deserves to be a nonstarter for many, many reasons, but given its glow within the hermetically closed world of the UN and its acolyte NGOs and governments (and much of the US State Department), it has to be dealt with as it is.