Institutions and Competition

The UN at the crossroads

September 6, 2016

Selection of a new secretary-general, touted by UN media as the most open in the history of the organization, has devolved into a politically correct charade, driven by themes like social inclusion, sexual politics, sustainability, transparency and entitlement. 


These media memes weren't invented in India, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, or Saudi Arabia, or other cultures whose elites sometimes adapt to accomodate western values. These natons are using other means (including disrupting and manipulating markets and  other ways of "making trouble")  to influence the selection of the next UN secretary-general because they are frozen out of the actual selection process.  Under loose rules, that process is still controlled by the five permanent members of the Security Council. 


Several female candidates were in the race at the time of the first "straw poll" last month.  But the politics associated with the selection process-- not lack of qualification-- fiinds the number of women in the race growing ever smaller


Russia has been lobbying for a director-general from "Eastern Europe".  But it is dif ficult to define what is "eastern."  The Balkans are closer to Italy (southern europe). Slovakia and Slovenia are considered "central  europe".  What's to keep Russia from blocking the choice of, for example the United States, or China objecting to the candidate backed by France, using the vote or veto as a bargaining chip for other considerations?  It's a reminder that at the United Nations, were all is supposed to be egalitarian, there are still superpowers, major powers, and regional powers 


Susana Malcorra the recently appointed foreign minister of Argentina, who served as chief-of-staff to secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, has dropped out of the race.  Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, who runs UNESCO and Miroslav Lajcak, foreign minister of Slovakia are the top straw poll vote getters from "Eastern Europe."   UN staff polled think Helen Clark oforf New Zealand is entitled to be the first female secretary-general.  But staff don't vote.


In a world where the defense driven economy-- like its homologue the petroleum economy-- is and will continue to be a major driver of growth and political turbulence, those nations, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, also happen to be the world's top exporters of arms according to SIPRI. Might makes right.


Over the past few years Beijing's aggressive export of weapons and sophisticated weapons technologies (including a strategic relationship with Israel) has vaulted China over France, Germany and the United Kingdom to become the world's #3 exporter. According to SIPRI data, the United States is #1 and Russia is #2


Antonio Gutierres, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and a former prime minister of Portugal, continues to be the front runner in both the secret straw polls, and among bookmakers world wide.  


Pundits and experts are saying that the winner of the third "straw poll"  to be held on September 9th, will indicate just who will become the person who will wield as much or more power as the next president of the United States.


One would hope that if Gutierres wins, his experience in the refugee business would offer fresh thinking on how to deal with the exponential growth of refugees world-wide.  After all, the economic, political and social costs of mediating the burgeoning refugee situation (including Brexit) will cost more than the $30 trillion outgoing UN secretary-general Ban is trying to crowdfund in an effort to save the planet from "global warming."  


Refugee camps are a breeding ground for extremism that often can sometimes be mediated only via hard power solutions.  Recent revelations that, over the past several years, senior Nigerian military officers have been selling arms to Boko Haram are a case in point.


In today's competitive, crowdfunding environment, it's time for voting members of the UN Security Council and others to demand that the organization start running itself like an efficient business. Otherwise money expected from the "pledged contributions"  and "commitments" (non-binding of course) to projects operating under the aegis of the UN may go elsewhere, where it can get "more bang for the buck."

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Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
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