News: Drop of Western influence at the UN: Good or Evil?

Today, The Guardian headlined an article titled "Haemorrhaging of western influence at UN wrecks attempts to push human rights agenda". Some extracts:

UN logoThe west's efforts to use the United Nations to promote its values and shape the global agenda are failing, according to a detailed study published yesterday.

A sea change in the balance of power in favour of China, India, Russia and other emerging states is wrecking European and US efforts to entrench human rights, liberties and multilateralism. Western policies in crisis regions as diverse as Georgia, Zimbabwe, Burma or the Balkans are suffering serial defeats in what the study identifies as a protracted trend.

The haemorrhaging of western power, as reflected in longer-term voting patterns in key UN bodies, is mirrored by the increasing clout of China, Russia and the Islamic world, according to an audit of European influence at the UN by the European Council on Foreign Relations.

"The EU is suffering a slow-motion crisis at the UN," says the report, noting that the west is now being regularly outwitted in global diplomatic poker by the Chinese and Russians. "The problem is fading power to set the rules. The UN is increasingly being shaped by China, Russia and their allies ... The west is in disarray. The EU's rifts with the US on many human rights issues at the UN in the Bush era have weakened both."

US and European failure to win the day at the UN security council in recent votes on Zimbabwe and Burma as well as defeats last year on Kosovo or Darfur and the constant struggle to muster support for global action against Iran because of its nuclear ambitions are traced as part of a broader decline over the past decade.

Using a programme designed to analyse voting patterns and statistics, the thinktank found that European policies on human rights enjoyed the support of 72% of UN members a decade ago but only 48% by last year, while the US suffered a steeper collapse from 77% to 30%.


Now I ask you: Is this perceived drop of influence from the West caused by the human rights issues being based too much on traditional 'West values'? The fact the UN fails to rally sufficient support to take appropriate action in Darfur, is one thing, but the article also quotes the drop of support for the independence in Kosovo, failure to condemn the Russian reaction in Georgia, the build-up of Iran's nuclear power... These issues are controversial, to say the least.

Are "our" Western views the right ones? Is it not a good thing the Western powers are being balanced by other 'new power kids on the block'? Is the UN nowadays less balanced than before, or is it more balanced and more truly representing the different nations of the world?

More articles on The Road about the UN

1 comments:

The Beaver,  19 September, 2008 23:35  

Here is a somewhat funny and pathetic story about the so-called powerful members of the UNSC.
http://www.innercitypress.com/unga1coldwar091908.html

It is somewhat a sad state to see diplomats behave in a such manner.

Is the noun TRIBE equivalent to a NATION?

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