The UN: lost cause or a last chance? - Tony Parkinson -

The UN, Seen From Oz:

The folks down under are much bigger UN boosters than Americans, with UN critics still usually being supporters. Take Tony Parkinson:

Not even the proudest supporters of the lofty ideals of the UN can deny its organisational culture is in urgent need of an overhaul.

At headquarters in New York, ponderous and repetitive posturing passes for debate, while votes on the floor are too often predetermined by squalid and sometimes corrupt deal-making. The General Assembly is dysfunctional, the Security Council anachronistic and, in debates on peace and security, ideology and self-interest trump idealism every time.

In Geneva, the UN's Human Rights Commission has become a theatre of the absurd, in which serial abusers such as China, Cuba and Sudan stack committees, deny scrutiny of their own conduct, and issue ritualistic critiques of the racism and inequality of the West.

The past three years have brought unparalleled upheaval and scandal. Shaken by Security Council divisions over the US-led invasion of Iraq, the organisation has been further demoralised by reports of widespread sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers and explosive revelations about high-level corruption in the oil-for-food program in Iraq.

Not to mention policy paralysis over ongoing massacres in Darfur.
But other than that, hey, look at those lofty ideals!

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