U.N. Roundup

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The world's leaders are in New York this week at the United Nations. Blake Hounshell, Web Editor for, has been blogging on the UN, GA, and the Clinton Global Initiative. Then Pascale Richard, editor-in-chief of the US-based France Amérique, tells us what has been happening at the UN the past two days.


Blake Hounshell and Pascale Richard

Comments [13]

Steven from Ridgewood


Perhaps there is room to argue that the world would be better off without the UN. I think Mary Bon's joke may hit close to the mark. There is absolutely no incentive on the part of the UN to 'solve' the numerous issues and crises that impact the world's less affluent nations. Solutions tend to be short term compromises and lack the financial and political resources which would create long-term changes. A brief glance at the number of resolutions passed by the Security Council (just in the last year) illustrates the vastness of the UN mandate and the inability to 'police' or 'heal' the world. This does not include the General Assembly sessions, the committees and the thousands of NGO's from member states. It is an enormous and romanticized entity that needs to be reduced to a manageable size.

The structure of the UN (membership, voting, process of funding, and the role of the Security Council) has been outdated for at least fifteen years. The UN structure has been exploited by dictators, governments and other powers resulting in the spread of ethnic, political and humanitarian crises. Meanwhile, some international non-governmental organizations have used strict administrative guidelines, new technologies and grassroots movements to better respond to issues than the chaotic UN.

Sep. 26 2007 02:46 PM
Patricia from Brooklyn

"fool" not "full". Sorry about that.

Sep. 26 2007 02:01 PM
Patricia from Brooklyn

Let’s not full ourselves, the UN still has a role to play, and if there was no UN things around the world would be much worse.
UN's problem are the 5 permanent members of the SC and the power they have to do or break anything that happens at the UN; these 5 members defend their interests fiercely, even if those interests might hurt other member states, they often do...
Efforts to change the SC permanent membership have time and time again been killed by..Yes you guessed the 5 permanent members.

Sep. 26 2007 12:26 PM
Mary Bon from Westbrook, CT

How many people work at the UN?

About half.

Sep. 26 2007 10:54 AM
Steven from Ridgewood

Perceptions of economic and political corruption continue to inform and frame the conditions of UN, World Bank and IMF support for stability within developing nations. The problem is these views are dominated by professional humanitarians, economists and other diplomatic professionals who create incredibly biased conditions for support and help sustain vast national bureaucracies which determine local support and services.

Perhaps the transformation of the UN and other INGOs and NGOs is private equity firms and specialized development corporations taking over service delivery systems.

The idea that a US Secretary of State would be guarded (outside the US) by soldiers of fortune would have been a joke ten years ago. The future of development will be private.

Sep. 26 2007 10:46 AM
t.vijay from brooklyn

1. We have to remember that the UN was formed after a world war with the hope there would not be an other one.
there has been no world war but has been replaced by internecine conflicts and war.

2. Remember also that a Burmese was a UN Sec. Gen.. U-Thant.

3. Finally, the principles on which the UN is based is on Economic capablities but not on the so called'Democratic ' principles .... the most popular word in the Devoloped countries lexicon... with 'no teeth'..

Still, it is a hope that countries have to hold on... even if it is a straw and not a log!

Sep. 26 2007 10:35 AM
Hattie from Brooklyn

The people orally translating the speeches at the UN are INTERPRETERS, not translators.

Sep. 26 2007 10:31 AM

Ahhh... BL Show @ it's best...

Sep. 26 2007 10:25 AM
justin from Manhattan

One must note that the US if and when it contributes troops to UN Peacekeeping it does not like to have those troops be commanded by the UN Peacekeeping Force as such.
Being a Member state one would think that we would lead by example.
As a an observer I find that the UN is seen by most people in the Non White world as being a puppet of Western Europe, Canada and the US.

Sep. 26 2007 10:25 AM
Adam Cherson from Manhattan

Here is my US based perspective on the UN. The problem with the UN is that there are no population based voting rights. In the US Congress, there is a house that is entirely based on population. In business corporations, the number of shares held determines voting clout. In the UN though, the one nation one vote system means that global democracy is not really being served. And then of course there is the problem that resolutions of the Assembly are never binding on the parties, only advisory. Perhaps we all need to re-examine how our instutions, both international and national, measure the political will and continuing consent of the governed, a concept that we hear trumpeted so much these days.

Sep. 26 2007 10:21 AM
justin from Manhattan

The UN has done and continues to do some good things through it's agencies liek UNICEF, WHO, UNDP.
But the Security council is what matters and since it is not a true representation of the World it has been unable to bring about any real execution of the will of the majority of the member countries.

Sep. 26 2007 10:18 AM
Ana Belle from Haiti

The UN is my countries only hope and well it’s really no hope at all.

I am disgusted by the treatment of the UN by the USA. They pressure and control the group. When going into Iraq, the UN was used to trump charges of WMDs. Bush ran on that, but later criticized the UN about not upholding peace.

Israel defends it's right to exist per the 1947 UN decision, but now complain because the UN HRC is criticizing it's treatment in Gaza.

Some people say George Bush is the biggest threat to peace in the world. He is also has the biggest opportunity for peace in the world.

Help us. Why are you in Iraq and not Haiti? We are your neighbors!

Sep. 26 2007 10:13 AM
Chad Harris from Ridgewood

Hey Brian,

Let's hope you don't bring up more Ahmadinejad rhetoric as we know the demonization of him is a part of Pro-War Effort.

Don't forget to mention George Bush's speech. The one where there were audible laughs in the audience, Cuba walked out and Bush just bitched about Myanmar and Israel bias.

No mention of the atrocities/humanitarian crisis in China, Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine to name a few.

Well "Burma" does have oil...

Sep. 26 2007 09:59 AM

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