diet coke for breakfast

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Posted by Jake
Interview with Shashi Tharoor, Under-Sectretary General of the UN -- "Is the UN still relevant?"

Obviously, Tharoor argues for the yes. But he does make a good argument on some important issues. As much as I like to trash the UN for its behavior in the Security Council it does do a couple of things that need to be done in the world (albeit significantly less televised):

1. Postal service -- makes sure everybodies stamps are accepted all over the world
2. Air traffic regulation -- pilots and air traffic controllers are required to speak English everywhere in the world (even France), they also regulate security in international travel
3. The WHO -- doing a reasonably good job controlling SARS I would say
4. Passports -- these were not negotiated by bilateral agreements

And there are more.

The UN is some senses is based on contradictory premises (see Libya as Human Rights Committee Chair) and its security role should change in a post-Cold War world (it was basically there to keep the US and Russia from obliterating the human species and this stabilizing role is no longer necessary). In these senses (and also because of corruption and lack of transparency in the way money is spent) it is in need of reform.

But we shouldn't rush out to quickly, because there are at least a couple things the UN does that I think it should keep doing.


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