Thursday, September 23, 2004

Reforming the UN - one madness at a time 

China, I'm sure, has keen interest in seeing the United Nations reformed - but not if that would involve giving Japan a permanent seat on the Security Council:

"Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing on Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council was 'not a board of directors' and its composition should not be decided 'according to the financial contribution of its members'."
The Chinese, still being novices to capitalism, have a thing or two to learn about corporate structures; directors don't get appointed to company boards according to how much money they are willing to give to the company - unless we're talking about some pretty corrupt society. Beijing's catty remarks, by the way, refers to the fact that Japan provides nearly one fifth of the United Nation's budget. But the true reason China doesn't want Japan to get onto the Security Council has nothing to do with indignation about some nuovo riches trying to buy their way in. Says Kong:

"We understand Japan’s expectation to play a greater role in international affairs. But we also believe that if a country wishes to play a responsible role in international affairs, it must have a clear understanding of the historical questions concerning itself."
That is, Japan is still reluctant to admit that it had been a bad boy during World War Two, killing millions in China. China, of course, is still reluctant to admit it has been a bad boy after World War Two, killing tens of millions, also coincidentally in China.

Japan's attempt to gain international recognition is part of a bigger push by
Japan, India, Germany and Brazil, which all pledged to support each other's efforts to gain permanent seats on the Security Council.

As the
"Independent" notes, however, "[t]he five permanent members - Britain, China, the United States, France and Russia - have refused any dilution of their veto power, causing the issue of council reform to be delayed again and again." The United States is already effectively vetoed in its tracks by any combination of Russia, China and France. Three extra vetoes (I would hope that Japan would tend to rather abstain) seem like an overkill.

So, in the meantime, it's all one big happy international family - as
Reuters summarises the goings-on: "China has voiced doubts about Japan, Italy is lobbying against a German seat, Pakistan opposes India and several Latin American nations oppose Brazil." And if there is to be a fifth permanent seat, Japan, Germany, India and Brazil agree it should go to Africa. "There was no agreement, however, on which country might be chosen for the prestigious seat. Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria are considered the front-runners."

There is only one good way to make those sorts of decisions. A reality show. I can just see "Survivor: The United Nations."

China's wrong - maybe if the United Nations was run like a proper company it would finally get its shit together. I think it's time for shareholders' revolt.


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