Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

...with your host, Binty McShae - whether you like it or not!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Situation Vacant - The UN-dercurrents

At the end of this year Kofi Annan will step down as United Nations Secretary-General and as such speculation about who his succesor will be is already rife. Traditionally the role is partially determined by a process of "geographical rotation", whereby each continent takes a turn at producing a leader. This should ensure that the UN is not perpetually led by North America and Europe and that it can be a truly global organisation. But whilst this is the tradition it is not written into any constitution and cannot be taken as a given... which is causing a small amount of consternation in my neck of the woods at the moment as it should be Asia's turn, yet signs indicate that there may be opposition to this from the more, ahem, "democratic" and "developed" countries.

Of course, so far 2006 has brought Asia into the Western news cycle for completely negative reasons: the continuing conflict in Iraq and the debacle that is Saddam Hussein's trial; Nuclear weapons for Iran and North Korea; the killing of Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia; Hamas winning the Palestinian election and removing peace talks with Israel from the agenda; riots in several countries over 'those' cartoons... I could probably continue, but you get the point.

Of course, it is not just the press-induced perception of Asia as a backward and violent continent that raises doubts but also the Western Bigshots realisation that an Asian Secretary-General might - shock, horror - look upon his own continent with a bit of kindness and care, rather than spanking them every time they got too raucous.

Okay, let's get a small amount of perspective here. The UN is a global organisation. Asia has 60% of the worlds population. Two Asian nations (China and India) have become truly global powers in recent years. Japan (despite being disliked within Asia) is one of the worlds largest economic powers. And don't forget that Russia, still one of the most influential countries in the world, is not just a European country - it is, in fact, largely in Asia! But in the history of the UN there has only been one Asian S-G, U Thant from Myanmar... 45 years ago.

The position is widely regarded as the most difficult job in the world and frequently places the occupier at loggerheads with national premiers... the most notable case of the new century probably being the Bush / Blair decision to ignore UN rulings regarding Iraq. And as such it seems highly unlikely that the UK or the US, two of the all important five permanent members, will support an Asian S-G. Of the other three both China and Russia are on record as saying they will only support an Asian candidate leaving France as the all-important vote... a country who could easily swing either way, especially after criticism of their recent racially-linked riots.

But wouldn't an Asian UN leader send a positive signal to the world at large? And how about - whisper it - a Muslim UN leader? A positive role-model for the religion, rather than the hate-figures who monopolise the press. Someone who can be taken seriously by all leaders when dealing with the problems currently faced in our modern faith-fractured world. It's a world where the West is scared of fundamentalism and terrorism and the east is pissed off with the US and its allies trying to force feed them their values and way of life... each side fuelling the other in some demented vicious circle. Wouldn't we benefit from a leader who can understand both sides a bit better?

.... hell, there's so much more I am trying to say here, but the words just don't come out right. I'm all for an Asian UN Secretary General, and won't have the slightest problem if he / she is Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Atheist... whatever. Just as long as they do a good job - that's all I ask!

Cheers m'dears!

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At Sunday, February 19, 2006 8:07:00 pm, Blogger El Barbudo said...

Osama for SG! He's not afraid to stand up to world leaders.

At Monday, February 20, 2006 12:43:00 am, Blogger michael the tubthumper said...

great post and i agree with what you are saying.

it is a very tough job. in fact, i heard that a bounty has been placed on kofi annans head

At Monday, February 20, 2006 7:34:00 am, Blogger Binty McShae said...

El B - thanks - that's a great way to make me laugh at 7.30 am on Monday!

Tubbie - yeah, it's bad enough being the leader of a country and pissing people off but as head of the UN... there's no way you can please everyone!

At Monday, February 20, 2006 7:35:00 am, Blogger Binty McShae said...

........doh! Only just clicked the link you sent. Very funny!

At Monday, February 20, 2006 8:50:00 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said...

does rely on knowledge of a certain confectionary item

At Monday, February 20, 2006 11:29:00 pm, Blogger Monstee said...

Binty, being fat lazy American that me am me just gotta say that me am learning so much more about global doings from you and the other blunt cogers than me EVER do from me neighborhood mass media. Me am beginning to hate US press.

Thanks though!


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