News Release

UN at 70: “Foxes in Charge of Global Chicken Coup”?

The United Nations Charter was signed on June 26, 1945 — 70 years ago this Friday — in San Francisco. [Note: IPA has a new online calendar — a tool for journalists and others: accuracy.org/calendar.]

The Charter states: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…”

JAMES PAUL, james.paul.nyc at gmail.com
Paul was executive director of Global Policy Forum, a think tank that monitors the UN. He just wrote a two-part piece “The UN Disappoints on its Seventieth Anniversary,” the first part of which will be published today by Inter Press Service.

He said today: “From time to time, it has seemed that the UN might have a breakout moment, that it might take the lead in a transition to what used to be called ‘global governance’ — more participatory, more just, more peaceful. But it never happened — certainly not in the ‘post Cold War’ world dominated by the United States and its Western ‘allies.’ The UN effort to control transnational corporations collapsed by the mid-1990s, initiatives to make the Security Council more responsive to international law failed, the promising global conferences came mostly to naught. Washington forced Kofi Annan to purge his senior staff and toe the line, once the Iraq War was well under way. The White House crudely forced out UN ambassadors that did not conform to its wishes. And Congress threatened to pull the plug on funding. The foxes were in charge of the global chicken coop.

“Clearly, not much remains of the high hopes and aspirations attached to the UN since 1945. But what else do we have? Is this creaky institution reformable? Doesn’t it serve some important functions like convening climate change conferences, managing global disease, attending to refugees, and regulating global air transport? At 70, the UN is both a terrible disappointment and an indispensable institution still. It signifies that ‘another world is possible’ and indeed urgently necessary. But with the temperatures rising, inequality growing and states failing, it is difficult to see how the UN will be able to build a bridge to another future before it’s too late.”

See list of “U.S. Position on International Treaties.”