The excellent Suzanne Nossel at Democracy Arsenal proposes ten next steps for the United Nations.
It is a mixture of
- eminently sensible and practical ideas including making Bill Clinton the next General Secretary, funding the proposed staff buy-out, forming an America’s Regional Group, and putting UN TV on air,
- completely sensible but non-negotiable ideas, such as creating standing peacekeeping capacity, a US-supported peacekeeping training centre, and putting the UN at the heart of US efforts on terrorism and WMD.
- not very sensible ideas, such as doing away with the months of prior negotiations on the draft communique, and boycotting the Human Rights Council.
Most intriguing is tucked away in tenth place: invoking the new responsibility to protect in Darfur. As you would expect, I think this is not only sensible but essential. I can’t decide if it is practical. But getting on with this would really show that this new agreement means something important.
Meanwhile at TPM Cafe, Ivo Daalder proposes that instead of trying to reform the UN, we should
create a global organization that would unite the world’s democracies — an alliance of democracies. … now that the UN has proven itself to be an emperor with no clothes, it’s time to take a serious look at this idea.
Daalder proposes that this new alliance should have its own military capabilities.
<rant>This seems to me to be wrong-headed at almost every level. It simply isn’t true that the UN is irrelevant. It is true that the views of the Security Council were not taken into account on the invasion of Iraq – but that was the result of the unusual (and possibly illegal) behaviour of a small number of member states (who would be leading members of the proposed alliance of democracies). Day to day, the UN plays an essential role across a huge range of fields, from agreeing international telecommunications standards to monitoring global health epidemics, and it does it pretty well. (See here for a list of ten things the UN does well.) It is true that there is a problem with the institution’s difficulties in creating a multilateral framework for security – but that is primarily the fault of the country that Daalder would have at the heart of his new institution.</rant>