Vol. 5 Num 900 Fri. December 08, 2006  

US and the new UN chief

On the very first day of next year a new Secretary General of UN will take charge and face the challenges that the world is currently confronting, with the most crucial one being the Middle East crisis, followed by the nuclear, global warming, poverty, health and democratic issues. The choice of South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon as the next Secretary General of the UN, who will replace the much experienced Kofi Annan, is a clear move by the USA and the West to create a strong counter to North Korean nuclear advancements, termed as a "shocking development" by the West, though Pyongyang had long ago declared its intentions to have nuclear facility at par with other nuclear powers. At the outset it should be clear that, since the USA is behind his election also, he is not expected to move away from the US control mechanisms. Moon should, however, ponder over some of the painful facts troubling world politics for a long time.

As the top most functionary of an international diplomatic mission, Moon will have to strike a balance between the super-power's goals and the legitimate interests of less powerful nations. The impartially attached to the high office of the UN will be reflected in the actions he takes on all issues that come up for UN resolution.

The notion that impartiality is an illusion, or a device to earn the wrath of the all powerful and all deciding USA, will take Ban Ki Moon to the gallery of his weak predecessors, and he will be remembered only as a mere custodian of UN charters, while keeping intact the oppressive power of the US led West.

Massacre in Palestine and Lebanon continues to agitate the world, as the USA lectures on democracy, and, a new Middle East does not restrain Israel from its misadventures in these countries. Annan recently raised his voice for action against climate change and the need to speed up development initiatives for the under developed world, as well resolving the Middle East crisis. He, however, never condemned, or acted to end, the devastating economic sanctions and war against the Iraqi people, and had remained silent over the US-Israel aggressive threats of invasion of Iran.

It is widely acknowledged that the UN is being controlled by USA. A clear, shameless record of UN having pledged fealty to the crime syndicate governed by the USA makes the UN chief a willing co-conspirator in its reign of terror for world dominance. After a long run, the UNSC, today, functions like a club owned by its major shareholders, and the role of the UN chief is reduced to being, a figurehead chosen and installed by the USA, the major contributor.

Kofi has been unusually compliant to an extent but he failed to work by the UN Charter he took oath to uphold. He succeeded in serving the agenda of the power that put him in his place.As a nominee of the USA led West, he generally did not bother about options to choose from. But Moon, with his vast diplomatic experience, cannot afford to misread the aspirations of small or less powerful nations.

Disarmament, a key issue between the erstwhile Soviet Union and the USA continues to haunt the world today, and arms reductions attempted insincerely by the world powers so far have only weakened all efforts for total disarmament. Nuclear disarmament is an illusion, as the UN and UNSC follow double standards in addressing and regulating the issue. UN does not talk about those who posses nuclear weapons, but tries to cripple the nuclear efforts of some other nations. The US sponsored UN resolutions, like the one on North Korea, demand that the non-UNSC members don't go for nuclear fuel, even for peaceful purposes, and eliminate nuclear weapons. They avoid settling the issue with Iran diplomatically.

The UN should not have permitted double standards in nuclear matters. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) binds every nation that deals in nuclear materials. Nuclear non-proliferation is not the sole responsibility of the USA, but all countries must face it together. The USA does not have monopoly over nuclear matters, and, hence, should avoid behaving like the sole authority to demand punitive action against some other country for advancing its legitimate national interest. Kofi Annan, during the last leg of his term, has somehow managed to bring about some sort of peace arrangement between Israel and Lebanon on the one hand, and Palestine on the other. But the USA has once again pushed the Israeli forces into Palestine with air strikes, thereby undermining the peace efforts of Kofi Annan.

Arms trade has emerged as the most lucrative business, and USA is not lagging behind in that respect. The United States, Israel, South Korea and at least seven more nations are now believed to have nuclear arms, with constant efforts being made for more precise nuclear weapons systems. Yet North Korea's nuclear test, just as the Iran's nuclear ambitions, is termed by the UNSC as unwelcome and dangerous. The US objection stems from the supposed history of trading in weapons and components. N. Korea's nuclear advancement is particularly worrisome to its neighbors in the Korean peninsula, and to the international community as a whole.

Sanctions are the crudest possible economic terrorism, and are the modern way of imposing the will of the most powerful nation on less powerful ones. Actions like sanctions by the UNSC are detrimental to the cause of world peace and disarmament. The new Secretary General should earnestly try to replace the discredited UNSC with a UN Peace Council, (UNPC) without any veto power assigned to any country, so as to address the world's problems through diplomatic means, and to do away with the sanctions regime and pre-emptive wars.

An important issue which deserves the attention of the UN is standardization of political processes in electoral politics. Notwithstanding the announcement made by every so-called democratic country, hardly any country conducts the polls truly freeky and fairly. Democracy should be properly defined and illustrated by the UN. Issues like poverty, health and global warming have assumed alarming proportions over years of neglect by the UN. The world community as a whole has to rise to reduce poverty levels, as well as the extent of green gas emissions; the USA tops the list of countries contributing to hazardous global warming phenomenon.

If Ban Ki Moon actually takes his obligation and sworn oath seriously enough to respect the rights of all nations, uses his prominent public stage as an advocate for them, and works for peace and an end to all injustice and conflicts still raging around the world, he will have safeguarded the UN Charter. More importantly, the freedom loving peoples/nations, struggling for their own sovereign states, should be assisted to fulfill their long cherished dream.

The UN, henceforth, should be in a position to halt invasions by stronger nations as a foreign policy strategy, and the new Secretary General should generate fresh thoughts and evolve positive tactics so as to release the world from the clutches of military means to resolve regional and world problems, apart from redefining democratic values in international politics and setting purely diplomatic means to settle the disputes. Reduction of regional tensions and establishment of truly democratic human societies all around the world should be the motto of the UN functionaries. That is, in fact, the mandate of Ban Ki Moon.

Dr Abdul Ruff Colachal teaches at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi