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l October 2003 l

The Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

l Vol 2, No 6 l

P E R S P E C T I V E

UN: A reality check!

Swaraj Singh


During the recent meeting of the United Nations, one trend became obvious that there was a clash between unilateral and mulitlatearal approaches to the world’s problems. President Bush emerged as the champion of the unilateralist approach, while the French President Jaques Chirac emerged as a the leader of the multilateralist approach. It was also clear that there was a lot of support for the multilateralist approach. The United Nations’ secretary General , Kofi Anan and other world leaders seemed unanimous in supporting the multilateral approach. These leaders expressed support for a concept which sees the United Nations as a body expressing and exerting will of global community. President Bush, on the other hand, expects the United Nations to lend him support without giving it any real say in making and implementing policies which effect rest of the world. It seems that there was resentment to President’s policies because many countries felt that while going into Iraq, ! he did not want to accept advice from anybody but once his policies in Iraq have run into difficulty then he wants everybody to help him to bail him out without apologizing for the past performance and without promising any real share in the control. This situation does not look like a good deal to the other countries.

 

France and Germany opposed the Iraq war while England, under the leadership of Tony Blair, supported the war. France and Germany have emerged as leaders of Europe whereas Mr. Tony Blair is in deep trouble. Not only his popularity has taken a big beating , but England continues to be marginalized in European affairs.

 

With no weapons of mass destruction to show in Iraq and the American intelligence agencies denying any relations of Saddam Hussein with Al Qaeda, a growing number of Americans are asking the question, "Why are we there?" With growing numbers of attacks on American soldiers and with increasing numbers of the dead and the wounded, frustrations with the war continues to grow. The recent opinion polls are showing that more and more Americans are opposed to the war and President Bush’s popularity rating continues to slide.

Not only President Bush rarely mentions Afghanistan, but also seems to be backing down from his "Axis of Evil" theory. For all practical purposes, plans to invade North Korea and Iran have been abandoned for the time being. President Bush hardly mentioned North Korea or Iran in his address to the United Nations. The media had raised expectations of the outcome between talks between President Bush and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin at Camp David. An impression was left that President Putin is willing to compromise on three important issues (i.e. Iraq, Iran, and North Korea). But President Putin failed to give any concession on any one of these issues. On Iraq, he did no agree to send any troops without a resolution by the United Nations. He did not agree to cancel the 800 million dollar deal to set up a nuclear plant in Iran. He said that without America giving guarantees of security to North Korea, he was unwilling to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear pro! gram. No wonder President Bush could hardly contain his frustration after the talks.

 

It is becoming increasing clear that Russia’s stands on major issues are close to the French and the German stands. While Russia is moving closer to the European Union in the West, in the East, it continues to move closer to China and the Central Asian republics. Beijing will become the headquarters of this new alliance of Russia, China, and the Central Asian republics.The Indian Primeminister,Vajpayee made it clear to President,Bush that India can not send troops to Iraq without a resolution of the United Nations and India would like to see uniform standards on terrorism.

 

The European Union and China want a more multilateralist approach to solve the world’s problems. Therefore, it is clear that balance of power between unilateralism and multilateralism, is shifting towards multilateralism.

 

At the recent meeting of the general assembly of the United Nations, most of the world leaders expressed views which shows that a consensus seems to be emerging on some major issues. Many leaders felt that by invading Iraq without a United Nations resolution, America has undermined the prestige of the United Nations. Many leaders also expressed the views that the important global issues should be jointly addressed by the community of the nations. Uniform standards to fight terrorism was another important message which came out very strong. United States had vetoed a resolution against Israel concerning the fate of Arafat but when the issue came to the general assembly, the vote was 133 to 4 in the favor of the resolution. This vote clearly shows that sentiment for multilateralism and against unilateralism is running very high at the United Nations.

 

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