Tuesday, May 24, 2005

'US still open to India's UNSC bid'- The Times of India

'US still open to India's UNSC bid'- The Times of India

Is the US really open to India's UNSC bid ? I don't think so. Of course, they want India to be a permanent member of the UNSC without giving India the crucial veto power. What is the use then?

As somebody elsewhere thought, I think India should threaten quitting the UN. Indian peace keepers have given their lives for unknown people halfway across the globe in exchange for nothing. I agree that the UN gives a forum to India to present its concerns and all that, but does the present UN have any power to enforce the decisions taken ? The disturbances in Africa are too numerous to mention and the UN has been a bit helpful in handling those, but not a lot.

It looks like the UN is going the way of the League of Nations. "Might is right" seems to be the way in spite of the UN's existence. Only powerful countries like the US can have their say in the UN. And if they can't have it their way (remember Colin Powell's pathetic WMD presentation?), they don't care. If all countries go this way, why does the UN even need to exist?

The Security council seat is definitely prestigious and will mark India's ascent to the status of a world power. India is a bigger and more powerful country than France and Britain, both of which seem to be spent powers (correct me if I am wrong). China got its seat because of Jawaharlal Nehru's misplaced magnanimity - but it is definitely a country to reckon with and is no push over. Russia is still there but is no match for the cold USSR that was an able counterweight to the mighty US of A. So, IMO, the US and China deserve to be in the Security Council as permanent members because of their clout. India deserves to be there more than France and probably Britain too. Brazil deserves to be there as the most powerful country in South America. Japan and Germany - I don't know.

But without a veto, these 'permanent' members will be no more than flags on the wall. Recently some nut case Indian minister said that it would be OK if India got in without a veto. No, not at all. You either are a permanent member with a veto or you are as bad as any other non-permanent member.

You can ask what a common man like me gets from India being a veto-powered UNSC member. It is a question of patriotism for people like me who like to see their countries recognized as world powers.

We come back to the question of the utility of the UN. Some countries probably get a lot of value from it - but for most of the others, it is just a place where you can meet with diplomats of other people and brag. If countries were humans, you would need a place for the people to get together and talk - like a pub or a coffeeshop. In that way, I think the UN is a little more than a glorified coffeeshop. Am I getting carried away because of the raw deal India seems to be getting? Probably.

From my textbook learning of history, it seemed like the UN was the best thing to have happened to the world. WWF, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, FAO are all (probably) worthy agencies of the UN. But in the present world, does this still hold?

Also, how good is the UN a place for getting your job done? More than a coffeeshop or not? A coffeeshop still has value - but the member countries should realize that the UN is what it really is - a coffeeshop.

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