Discussion Forum ::: Due February 6th at 9pmExplain how the UN was founded, its major structures and functions. What is the mission? Purpose? Major accomplishments and failures. How is it funded? What states are the top funders? How could this be a concern? Do private companies or interest groups play a major role in developing policy or setting the agenda? Offer 3 suggestions for improving the structure of the UN. Provide specific UN agencies to explain better. Support each of your points here. Your analysis is critical, but back it up. Less than 1000 words (but more than 750 words). Provide a schematic if that helps.Please use at least 9 sources, Sources to Use:The United Nations Is Created | Flashback | History – YouTubeHow Does The UN Work? – YouTube About Us | Department of Economic and Social Affairs (un.org) Global Issues Overview | United NationsIncreasing awarenessThis unit is intended to give the students an awareness the United Nations system, agencies and their auspices. Special attention will be paid to formal structures within the system and their inter-agency relationship.The United Nations: History and Functions – YouTube Late addition:Haas, E. B. (1990). When knowledge is power: Three models of change in international organizations (Vol. 22). Univ of California Press.Here is what is due: the essay, comment on best essay and then comment on another student’s analysis. Read what you can from Google Scholar. Provides some level of analysis for the structure. Attached is the below readings:Berdal, M. (2005). The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis. Survival, 47(3), 7-32.The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis
Mats Berdal
‘The United Nations was never intended to be a utopian exercise.’
The High-Level Panel on Threats,
Challenges and Change, December ����
In September ���� UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan informed the General
Assembly of his decision to establish a ‘high level panel of eminent personalities’ to undertake a fundamental review of the United Nation’s role in the
field of peace and security. In doing so, he was at once reacting to but also
reinforcing a mounting sense of existential angst enveloping the organisation.1 The US-led invasion of Iraq and its a�ermath provided the immediate
backdrop to his decision. As the terms of reference for the High-Level Panel
also recognised, however, the war ‘brought to the fore deep divergences of
opinion on the range and nature of the challenges’ confronting the organisation.2 These included, but also transcended, the specific issues posed by
the US-led invasion. Two years on, Kofi Annan’s designation of ���� as the
organisation’s annus horribilis remains indicative of the current mood, both
inside and outside the UN. The ‘oil-for-food’ saga, evidence of gross misconduct by peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and
the ill-managed and disruptive departure of several senior officials in the
first half of ���� have all added to the picture of an organisation under siege
and a Secretariat in turmoil.3
None of this, paradoxically, appears to have dented demand for UN
field operations. Since July ����, the Security Council has authorised five
new peacekeeping missions and has also substantially increased the size of
the UN mission in the DRC. When the deployment of some ��,��� troops
to assist in the implementation of the January ���� peace accord in Sudan
is completed, the total number of personnel deployed on UN operations
Mats Berdal is Professor of Security and Development in the Department of War Studies at King’s
College, London.
Survival vol. �� no. � Autumn ���� pp. �–��
DOI: ��.����/�����������������
� Mats Berdal
will reach nearly ��,���, just short of the all-time high in late ����. In June
����, the General Assembly approved a record ��.� billion budget for peacekeeping operations for ����–��.
For all this, the perception that the UN has yet to recover from the crisis
sparked by Iraq has added to a growing sense, strongly encouraged by the
secretary-general, that the current debate on UN reform and, specifically,
the upcoming summit of heads of state and government in New York on
��–�� September ����, represents a decisive moment in the history of the
organisation. The formal business of that meeting is to review progress
towards the implementation of the so-called UN Millennium Declaration
of September ����.4 Since the report of the High-Level Panel was issued
in December ����, though, the Secretary-General has been urging world
leaders to think in still bolder and more radical terms. He insists that ‘the
UN must undergo the most sweeping overhaul of its ��-year history’.5 In
late March ����, Annan issued what he described as his ‘own blueprint for
a new era of global cooperation and collective action’.6 Entitled ‘In Larger
Freedom: towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All’, the
document largely accepts the analytical thrust and chief recommendations
of the panel.7 It is infused, however, with a greater sense of urgency. In it,
Annan calls on member states to ‘agree on the nature of the threats and
opportunities’ before them and to ‘take decisive action’ in respect of a series
of reform proposals, including, crucially, substantive reform of the Security
Council, by the time of the September summit.8
As will be argued more fully, to present the outcome of the ongoing
reform drive and the summit in such make-or-break terms is a major strategic error. This is especially so if success comes to be measured in terms of
whether agreement on ‘far-reaching institutional reforms’, specifically expansion of the Security Council, can be reached by September ����.9 This focus
has already proved deeply divisive, and risks squandering the opportunity
presented by the panel’s innovative thinking. The result could be a period of
prolonged tension and mutual recrimination among member states, and the
kind of inertia and paralysis of which UN bodies have o�en been accused.
To highlight this danger is not to deny that the UN system would benefit
from streamlining institutions, operations and management practices. Several
of the proposals on offer promise to do just that. Addressing the sources of the
malaise that permeates discussions of the UN in its anniversary year cannot,
however, be reduced to rectifying charter ‘deficiencies’ and repairing ‘faulty’
inter-governmental organs. The state of the UN reflects deeper fault-lines
within the international system and genuine conflicts of interest and value
among member states. Since the Millennium Summit of September ����, these
fault-lines and conflicts have become both more visible and more acute. The
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis �
chief reasons for this lie in the changes in the strategic direction and worldview of the United States a�er the terrorist a�acks of �� September ����, and
in the ramifications of these changes elsewhere in the international system.
Against this, the contribution which the present reform drive, the work
of the panel and the September summit can make to the revitalisation of
the organisation is twofold. Firstly, greater understanding can be fostered
among member states about the cross-cu�ing and system-wide nature of
the challenges facing them as individual states, and of the UN’s possible role
in meeting these. It is particularly important that such an understanding is
fostered in the United States, whose relationship and commitment to the UN
remains vital to the organisation’s future health. Secondly, by concentrating
diplomatic and political efforts on a more limited but concrete, policydriven and achievable selection of the proposals for reform now on offer,
the momentum for ‘decisive action’ might be put to some positive use.
There is a further reason for examining the report of the High Level Panel
in depth, however. Concerned as it is with threats, challenges and change,
its recommendations have triggered reactions, generated discussion and
stimulated intense rivalries among member states. These all provide a far
more reliable guide to the state of the UN in its ��th year than do the official
communiqués and solemn declarations of intent that will no doubt mark the
anniversary celebrations in September ����.
Assessing the report of the High Level Panel
Assessing the quality of the report cannot be undertaken without some sense
of the historical and political se�ing in which the panel conducted its deliberations. Applying a standard of absolute consistency, perfect clarity and
precision – a temptation to which some critics have succumbed – is unlikely
to prove very illuminating. As with any UN report, it should be recognised
that political sensitivities and the specific circumstances that gave rise to its
commission dictated a measure of compromise and obfuscation. The report
has also le� some issues unexplored and its authors have at times employed
formulaic language. Declaratory promises and statements to the effect that
the report offers a ‘new vision’ or a ‘comprehensive system of collective
security’ must, then, be treated with scepticism. A critical assessment of
the report – one that considers both its strengths and weaknesses – requires
a judgement about which parts deserve special a�ention and which ones
should be, if not silently ignored, at least downplayed.
Substantive reform of the intergovernmental organs of the UN – specifically the Security Council – belongs to the la�er category, a contention sadly
borne out by the deeply divisive role that the issue of Council enlargement
has already played, especially since March ����.
�� Mats Berdal
In his address to the General Assembly in September ����, Kofi Annan
stressed that the composition of the Security Council needed to be addressed
with ‘urgency’.10 The question of council enlargement has dominated much
of the discussion, provoked by the crisis over Iraq in ����, about what
precisely is ‘wrong with the UN’. In part, this is because Germany and, to a
lesser degree, Japan decided that the creation of the panel provided a notto-be-missed opportunity to press a case for permanent membership.11 This
has informed Germany’s and Japan’s entire engagement with the current
reform debates. As Germany’s ambassador to
the UN, Günter Plueger, explained in early April
����: ‘let us not fool ourselves: if we miss this
chance for reform, it will not come back in the
next decades’.12 One unfortunate consequence has
been that the time and energy of these two vitally
important member states have been disproportionately concentrated on this one issue13. Kofi
Annan’s insistence that expansion of the council
demands immediate a�ention has also kept the
focus firmly on the subject. Yet Annan has not
offered a convincing case for why addressing the
issue at this stage would improve the fortunes of
the organisation. The simple fact is that the search for an institutional fix
to the divisions that have crystallised so sharply among member states in
recent years was bound to result in disappointment.
In March ���� James Su�erlin – a participant in and long-time observer
of the UN reform debate – suggested that there is ‘much to say for simply
dropping the issue before it causes further disharmony among states’.15
Shortly a�er making that observation, the prospect of a Japanese permanent
seat on the council stimulated an unprecedented mobilisation of ‘grassroots’
sentiment in China against Japanese membership. In mid-April, a petition
effort to collect signatures through popular Chinese web sites gathered
momentum. In several Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, the
campaign – tacitly condoned by the authorities – acquired an uglier and
more chilling dimension as demonstrators a�acked Japanese diplomatic and
commercial properties.16 The resulting deterioration in relations between
the two countries has detracted from – and in the short term unquestionably
complicated – cooperation on the many issues that they have a compelling
interest in addressing jointly, including North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and
proliferation more broadly. A distinct cooling of relations between the chief
representatives of Latin America’s ‘New Le�’ – President Luiz Inácio Lula
The search for
an institutional
fix was bound
to result in
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
da Silva of Brazil and Néstor Kirchner of Argentina – has also been a�ributed, at least in part, to Brazil’s campaign for a council seat and implicit
claim to be speaking for the region.17
A meeting held in New York on �� April under the rather misleading
banner of ‘Uniting for Consensus’ provided yet more evidence that council
reform can stimulate competition for prestige, stoke regional rivalries and
inflame old tensions.18 Organised at the initiative of a ‘group of like-minded
nations’ – including Italy, Argentina, Mexico, Spain and Pakistan – it was a
direct response to the joint push by the Group of Four – Germany, Japan,
India and Brazil – for permanent seats.19 The grouping was in effect a
revival of the so-called ‘coffee club’ which, led by Italy and Pakistan, mobilised successfully to thwart plans for Security Council expansion in the
����s.20 The sponsors of Uniting for Consensus wished above all to challenge the view that a decision on the issue must be reached by September
����, favouring instead ‘a negotiated and consensus formula’.21 Behind the
scenes, of course, this has not been about a search for consensus. Italy, a key
member of the group now as it was ten years ago, has been lobbying hard
against Germany’s bid, especially in Washington. And with a US administration that is, in the words of one of its officials, ‘vindictive but loyal’, Italy’s
efforts have borne fruit: the Bush administration has been more than standoffish about Germany’s candidacy and the key reason for this, as is privately
conceded, is Gerhard Schröder’s opposition to the war in Iraq.22
The workings of the Security Council and its perceived legitimacy
deficit do merit serious a�ention. However, the real issue surely must be
how to enhance – or, at a minimum, not weaken – the council’s ‘primary
responsibility for the maintenance of internal peace and security’. As the
sponsors of Uniting for Consensus, whatever their individual motivations,
quite rightly point out: ‘enlargement of the Security Council in itself, does
not assure that peace and international security will be be�er served’ and
‘there is no solid evidence that an enlargement of permanent members will
render a more effective Security Council’.23 In fact, a much stronger case
can be made for the opposite view: that enlargement will make the council
more unwieldy, less likely to reach consensus and more prone to defection,
especially by the United States.24 A more promising avenue would be to
concentrate on further progress towards improving the working methods
of the council, ensuring greater ‘transparency and accountability’ in its
day-to-day activities. The need for improvement in this area commands
a more genuine consensus. It is also much less divisive than the issue of
enlargement and, procedurally, it poses much less of a challenge as the
modifications made to Council working methods over the past ten years
have already demonstrated.25
�� Mats Berdal
The potential value of the High Level Panel report lies not, then, in its
suggestions for reform of intergovernmental bodies. Rather, it is its analysis of ‘threats and challenges’ that may go some way towards bridging the
‘deep divergences of opinion’ among member states about the true priorities of the UN, about its proper role in the field of international security and
about the evolving character of the threats that it is likely to confront in the
short, medium and long terms. Assessing the report in these terms requires
a closer look, firstly, at the nature of the divergences between member states;
secondly, at the panel’s vision of the role of the UN in international peace and
security; and, thirdly, at the report’s analysis of current and future threats.
‘Deep divergences of opinion’: three constituencies
Any generalisation about the outlook and a�itudes of states and groups
of states in international relations should be treated with caution. The
diversity of the UN’s membership reflects a rich variety of historical experiences, economic realities, cultural influences, forms of government and
perceptions of interest. It is nevertheless possible to identify three broad
constituencies, ranged along a spectrum, whose priorities and anxieties had
to be addressed by the panel.
At the one end are those states, led by and clustered around the United
States, who consider mass-casualty terrorism and the spread of weapons
of mass destruction (WMD) as ‘self-evidently the main challenge to world
peace’.26 The United States in particular, though immensely powerful by
any conventional measure of strength and influence, has come to feel, in
Annan’s own words, ‘uniquely vulnerable’ to ‘new’ or ‘emerging’ threats.27
So vulnerable, indeed, that it has formally enshrined as part of its National
Security Strategy a determination to act pre-emptively against new threats,
even though these may not be considered, in the language of the panel,
‘imminent’.28 The decision to invade Iraq in ���� – a decision which several
authoritative accounts by Washington insiders have since imbued with a
definite air of inevitability29 – must be understood, in large part, as deriving
from this newfound sense of vulnerability and specifically from the fear
that terrorist groups may acquire and use WMD.30 The US government’s
budget request for fiscal year ���� points to the continued centrality of the
‘war on terror’ in the administration’s priorities.31 In his toughest budget
so far, President George W. Bush proposed substantial cuts to ‘non-security related discretionary funding’, that is, to domestic-welfare programmes
ranging from housing and urban development at one end to health and
human services at the other. At the same time, spending on defence and
homeland security – including funding for border security, nuclear- and
radiological-detection systems and countermeasures – will continue to
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
see substantial increases.32 The governments of Britain and Australia have
accepted the US reading of the principal challenges ahead, though reservations have been expressed (however mildly in government circles) about
aspects of the US prosecution of the ‘war on terror’, specifically the legal
regime, or rather lack thereof, under which terrorist suspects have been
held outside the United States.33 There is no reason to suppose that the
absolute priority given to ‘emerging threats’ by the US administration is
likely to change any time soon. As Steven Miller has persuasively shown, it
is ‘an unquestioned article of faith among those who embrace the policies
pursued by the Bush administration since September ��’ that the al-Qaeda
a�ack was ‘an order-shaping event that represents the opening of a titanic
long-term global struggle’.34 While that view is o�en treated with scepticism, derision or incomprehension outside the United States, the reality, as
Miller notes, is that ‘America’s responses to September �� have deep roots
and wide support in US society’.35
At the other end, rejecting the Unites States’ narrow conception of
threats to international peace and security, stands the vast majority of UN
member states: the developing countries, sometimes referred to as the
‘global South’ or simply the ‘Third World’. This category clearly exhibits a
large and growing degree of social, economic and political differentiation,
and the positions taken on individual issues by self-styled members of the
group o�en vary greatly. Still, within the context of UN reform debates,
‘the North–South divide continues to afflict much of the UN’s intergovernmental system’, with the ill-defined and amorphous Group of �� (G��) and
the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) regularly seeking to articulate common
positions on the bases and principles of international order.36 Furthermore,
while the meaning of the ‘global South’ within the hallowed halls and negotiating forums of the UN o�en corresponds poorly to the ‘real’ world, in
terms of the specific issues before the panel – the identification of threats
and challenges facing the UN – some common themes are clearly present.
In particular, to this constituency of member states, US-led priorities not
only displace but are also artificially separated from other issues of vital if
not greater concern: poverty, infectious diseases, environmental challenges
and other sources of intra- and inter-state conflict. The position was clearly
laid out in India’s initial response to the report, emphasising that ‘the problems of economic development, especially the eradication of poverty and
the development of social infrastructure’ are ‘integrally linked to peace and
security’.37 Muchkund Dubey – former foreign minister of India, who also
served as the Indian permanent representative to the UN in Geneva – has
offered a more strident, though revealing, critique of the panel’s work:
�� Mats Berdal
A major effect of the Panel’s recommendations will be to transform the
United Nations into an organization which will be primarily engaged in
identifying developing countries which pose threat to international peace
and security and taking action to pre-empt, forestall and prevent, including
by use of force, threats to security – all emanating from developing countries, to the neglect of systemic and structural problems bese�ing the
world order. The recommendations will also have the effect of making
the international order less and less participatory and conferring much
greater power on those member States who are already powerful.38
This reading of the panel’s recommendations may be considered selective and
lacking in balance but it certainly points to the depth of feeling on these issues
in the developing world. It also explicitly highlights a related and equally
widespread concern, one that predates the Bush doctrine of pre-emption
but was powerfully reinforced by it – that the twin principles of sovereign
equality and non-intervention, seen as performing vital protective functions
against external encroachment, are gradually being eroded. This concern
is expressed with unfailing regularity by the G��.39 Significantly, before ��
September many had already come to view these principles as under threat
from another quarter: the so-called ‘new humanitarianism’. While developing
countries, including India, have o�en exhibited a less doctrinaire position
when confronted with individual cases, actual or proposed, of humanitarian
intervention, Dubey’s reaction to the report is by no means extreme. Indeed,
Kanti Bajpai, surveying what he identifies as the principal traditions of
thought in India about order and justice in international relations, found all of
them to embody a ‘fear that powerful, mostly Western states will themselves
flout Westphalian restrictions and injunctions and will use international law
and organization to intervene in the internal and external policies of weaker
states’.40 It is perhaps not surprising that the semi-conspiratorial undertone
informing Dubey’s reading of the panel is also echoed in recent reflections on
the state of trans-Atlantic relations by Mohammed Ayoob, a respected scholar
of the international relations of the developing world. According to Ayoob,
talk of a supposed transatlantic crisis in the wake of the Iraq war obscures
a much more important reality in contemporary international relations,
namely the existence of a ‘common grand design … [that] underpins the
North Atlantic “Concert”, the major industrialised democracies of Western
Europe and North America’.41 This, he maintains, is a ‘Concert’ whose ‘major
objective … is to retain its member states’ privileged position in economic
and security arenas by concentrating wealth in the global North, controlling
access to strategic resources, and retaining a decisive global military advantage’.42 While these positions are at odds with official reactions to the report
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
in most developing countries, they still reflect a widely shared perception of
inequity, exclusion and disenfranchisement as distinguishing features of the
contemporary international order.43
A third group consists mostly, but not solely, of Western states that occupy
a middle position between these poles. The panel itself may be seen as tending
towards their reading of the challenges ahead. On the one hand, this group
shares the concerns about catastrophic terrorism, especially the implications
of unchecked proliferation of nuclear and biological weapons. On the other,
it recognises the limits and dangers of too narrow a definition of threats to
international security and accepts the case for its broadening. In contrast to
many developing countries, however, this group not only welcomed but also
strongly encouraged the normative changes in a�itudes towards human rights
and state sovereignty that followed the Cold War. There is a further distinguishing characteristic to the countries holding this middle position: while
they would accept that the UN’s performance over the past �� years has been
highly uneven, they do not view it as a history of unmitigated disaster. Some
achievements, however incomplete and fragmentary, need to be preserved,
especially in terms of the development of norms. A growing fear among these
countries has been that certain aspects and some of the consequences of the
US ‘war on terror’ – its promulgation of a doctrine of pre-emption, the creation
of a new front in the war in Iraq, questionable legal practices and downright
abuses as in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal – may be undermining those very
achievements, perhaps fatally.
To reconcile these broad-brush, though deep and genuine, divergences,
the panel was charged with developing a ‘new consensus on threats’.44 The
exploration of challenges and threats, however, also required the panel to
make a judgement as to whether or not the basic framework provided by
the charter remained relevant to the contemporary context. It
required, in other words, the panel to take a position on the
proper role of the UN in international peace and security. It
was to this fundamental question that Kofi Annan referred
in September ���� when he suggested that the UN might be
‘facing a fork in the road … [a moment] no less decisive than
���� itself’.45
The report
is attuned
to powerpolitical
There is no fork in the road
In a hard-hi�ing critique of the panel, Michael Glennon
has argued that it ‘treats substantive problems as language
problems, suggesting that a new vocabulary will eliminate underlying differences’.46 To a degree, such fuzziness is inevitable. Yet, in truth, the report is far
more a�uned to power-political realities than most of the products of compa-
�� Mats Berdal
rable blue-ribbon commi�ees. It is true that the label of collective security is
used without much precision, but this is a label that has long been ‘applied
with considerable abandon to any number of recipes for the improvement of
international relations’.47 The real issue is what the report goes on to say or,
rather, what one can infer by way of basic assumptions and first principles
from its analysis. Approached in this manner, it is clear that the report firmly
rejects the suggestion that the UN may be facing a fork in the road.
While new threats have emerged and older ones have resurfaced in
complex, less discriminatory and more dangerous forms, the ‘individual
sovereign State’ remains the ‘basic unit of the international system’ and
the ‘front-line actor’ in tackling the threats and challenges identified by the
panel.48 This applies, the panel notes, also to the sphere of economic and social
development, ‘primary responsibility for [which] … lies with Governments’.49
While important normative shi�s in international relations over the past
decade have made it harder for governments and despots who mistreat their
own people to hide behind the protective wall of sovereignty, the principle
of sovereign equality of states and its associated rule of non-intervention still
provide the bases for international order. In what was anticipated as one of
its key rulings relating to the use of force, the panel rejected the ‘legality of
unilateral preventive action, as distinct from collectively endorsed action’, on
the grounds that the ‘risk to global order and the norm of non-intervention on
which it continues to be based is simply too great’.50
Similarly, while institutional weaknesses in the UN system abound and
the panel considers the time ripe for Security Council expansion, it does not
propose radical charter reform. Whether or not the council is in fact expanded
– the modalities of which, tellingly, the panel itself proved unable to agree on
– it remains ‘fully empowered under Chapter VII of the charter … to address
the full range of security threats with which States are concerned’.51 ‘The
task’, the panel concludes, ‘is not to find alternatives to the Security Council
as a source of authority but to make the Council work be�er than it has’.52
Having carefully dissected the panel’s treatment of council reform, Edward
Luck has persuasively concluded that ‘the case for expansion is argued with
li�le conviction, enthusiasm, or logic in the text’.53 This may simply reflect a
welcome emphasis in the report on the fact that it is as ‘important today as it
was in ���� to combine power with principle’, and that ignoring ‘underlying
power realities’ will simply ‘doom recommendations … to failure or irrelevance’.54 Accepting this reality implies that the UN is not equipped, either
structurally or politically, to meet every kind of challenge. It also implies that
the UN, in order to be truly effective, must work alongside and complement
other actors in the international system, be they regional organisations, NGOs,
‘civil society’ actors or states themselves.55
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
In short, while the report employs the language of collective security,
its basic premise is that the UN does not, and was never meant to, provide
a full or comprehensive system of collective security. The tension between
power and principle was there at the outset; it should be treated as a creative
tension and not as one that can easily be overcome by a simple act of will.
To some, the reassertion of basic charter principles and the realist tone
that informs the analysis will no doubt be viewed as a failure to capitalise on
a golden opportunity for boldness and radical ideas. Such an interpretation
would be wrong for three reasons.
Firstly, the realism of the report makes for a much more convincing analysis of how the UN actually works and of what can and cannot reasonably
be expected of it. The report is thus of a superior quality to the blue-ribbon
reports that dealt with many of the same issues in the ����s, with an obvious
point of comparison provided by the final report of the Commission of Global
Governance issued in ����.56 To take one example: it is just as well to recognise, in a document of this kind, that ‘no amount of institutional reform’ of
the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will give that body a real
‘decision-making role on international economic ma�ers’.57 It is true that
the Commission of Global Governance suggested that the ECOSOC should
be eliminated, but only in the context of creating a new ‘Economic Security
Council’ within the UN – a proposal of questionable realism.58 Of the General
Assembly, the panel notes: ‘Its norm-making capacity is o�en squandered on
debates about minutiae or thematic topics outpaced by real-world events. Its
inability to reach closure on issues undermines its relevance. An unwieldy and
static agenda leads to repetitive debates.’59 This kind of analysis and language
is rare in a UN report and should be welcomed as an achievement, as well as
a prerequisite for meaningful debate and reform.
Secondly, although the report reasserts the importance of sovereign
equality and non-intervention as foundational to international order, this
is everywhere matched by a call for the strengthening of the normative
changes that have taken place since the Cold War, especially in the field of
human rights. Thus, while the panel warns against ignoring ‘underlying
power realities’, it immediately adds that recommendations which ‘simply
reflect raw distributions of power and make no effort to bolster international principles are unlikely to gain the widespread adherence required to
shi� international behaviour’.60 Elsewhere, the report firmly endorses what
it considers ‘an emerging norm [of] a collective international responsibility
to protect’.61 It also strongly urges the Security Council to be far more proactive in exercising its powers to act in defence of human rights, if necessary
by coercive means; and, in one of the few references to ongoing events,
it laments ‘the glacial speed at which our institutions have responded to
�� Mats Berdal
massive human rights violations in Darfur’.62 In all of this, the report treats
the UN as an organic creature and its charter as a living document, one that
does not prevent (and has not done so in the past) the organisation from
adapting to changing circumstances.
Finally, in terms of bridging the divergences between the three constituencies identified above, the approach taken by the panel is clearly the one
most likely to provide a starting point for a meaningful discussion of threats
and challenges facing member states. The United States remains indispensable to the proper workings of the UN. Ignoring this ‘underlying reality’
would have achieved li�le. At the same time, the war in Iraq and the manner
in which the United States had chosen to prosecute its ‘war on terror’
required a restatement of the norm of non-intervention, without suggesting
that this norm can ever provide legitimate cover for massive human-rights
violations within the boundaries of recognised states.
A new security consensus?
As the panel began its work, there was much talk of arriving at a grand bargain
between the North and the South. While that kind of language was eventually
dropped, the basic idea of reaching a ‘new security consensus’ is at the heart
of the report.63 It identifies six ‘clusters of threats’, ranging from poverty and
infectious diseases at one end to transnational organised crime at the other.64
Terrorism and WMD are treated as clusters in their own right. In short, there
is something here for everyone: a prominent place for
the chief concerns of the United States but also a definition of security wide enough to satisfy developing
countries. But does it all hang together analytically?
The central idea that underlies the panel’s assessment of threats is that none of them can be regarded
as ‘standing alone’.65 Contemporary threats to
international order, so the argument runs, know
no boundaries and, consequently, reliance on ‘selfprotection’ is simply not a viable option, even for the strongest and most
powerful state. It follows further that any a�empt to impose a clear-cut and
strict hierarchy of threats is unhelpful.
Now, the need to adopt an expansive definition of threats was, of
course, politically unavoidable. Indeed, the G�� argued that the range of
issues covered should have been even larger, noting in its formal response
to the panel that it would have ‘welcomed concrete recommendations, on
such ma�ers as desertification and also on natural disasters’.66 Some of the
a�endant dangers inherent in such broad understandings of threat – a lack
of focus, the inclusion of questionable or unproven causal connections, exces-
Reliance on
is simply not a
viable option
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
sive simplification – can be found in the report. The precise causal connection
that the report alludes to between poverty and the ‘outbreak of civil war’,
for example, is less than clear-cut, as many qualitative case studies imply.67
In terms of recommendations, some may also question why the phasing out
of environmentally harmful subsidies for the use of fossil fuel – unquestionably an important issue in its own right – should be covered in this particular
report.68 In all these cases, the report suggests, perhaps correctly, that we live
in an age where what is self-evidently a global challenge will only be treated
with the seriousness and degree of urgency it demands if it has first been
labelled a ‘security problem’ or a ‘threat’. How helpful this is in purely analytical terms is unclear. Surely, addressing environmental degradation, fighting
disease and eradicating poverty are goals whose intrinsic importance exists
independently of any link that might or might not be established to security.
There are also areas that have been largely ignored by the panel, including the
management problems within the organisation.
These cannot, however, be considered fatal flaws. The central contention
of the report – that threats cannot be viewed in isolation and that self-protection is not only of limited value but also potentially counter-productive – is
demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt. Indeed, the connections are
most persuasively argued in those areas that ma�er most to the United
States: WMD, terrorism and transnational organised crime.
With respect to WMD, the report convincingly (and alarmingly) reveals
the danger of a further erosion and ‘possible collapse’ of the increasingly
fragile edifice designed to check the proliferation of nuclear weapons.69 The
complete failure of the ���� Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference
and new revelations about the extent and sophistication of A.Q. Khan’s
proliferation network place the findings and warnings of the panel in still
sharper relief. By drawing a�ention to the widely dispersed stockpiles of
nuclear and radiological material around the world – focusing on the lack
of security for highly enriched uranium storage, diversion of and illicit trade
in nuclear materials, and the possibility that such materials may fall into the
hands of non-state actors determined to cause mass casualties – the report at
once locates the most urgent challenge ahead and underlines the limitations
of relying on national efforts alone to meet that challenge. These limitations
apply equally to the challenges posed by transnational organised crime,
another ‘cluster’ which the panel identified as a growing threat to states,
societies and ‘human security’, global in scope and rapidly evolving to take
advantage of technological change and economic globalisation.70
In exploring these different clusters of threats, the report, rather than simply
providing a checklist of existing and potential dangers facing humanity, seeks
to establish a convincing case for connections between them and for the need
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to strike a balance between global, regional and national responses. This is one
of its strengths and is in contrast to many other studies that have also adopted
a broad understanding of security. This perspective is extended to the discussion of how different parts of the UN system – that is, those parts that work
– can be made relevant to meeting threats emanating from different clusters.
For example, a further strengthening of the World Health Organisation’s
global disease monitoring system, which proved its effectiveness during the
SARS outbreak in ����, would also assist in defending against biological terror
a�ack and improve the capacity of states to deal with outbreak of disease.71
A key example of this effort to connect seemingly disparate issues is
found in the panel’s special a�ention to ‘countries under stress and countries
emerging from conflict’, a politically more correct way of referring to so-called
‘failed states’.72 The importance a�ached to meeting the multiple challenges
posed by such states – and in particular to demonstrate that they represent
an issue of urgent concern to all three of the aforementioned constituencies
– provides an analytical leitmotif for the report. This is also reflected in its
recommendations that define threats to international security as ‘any event or
process that leads to large-scale death or lessening of life chances and undermines States as the basic unit of the international system.’73
The challenges of implementation
Initial comments on the panel report drew a�ention to the daunting list of
proposals. In fact, the list is less impressive than the number of recommendations – ��� – would suggest. There are three reasons for this.
Firstly, quite a few of the recommendations reiterate previous ideas and
schemes. These include efforts to improve the UN’s early warning capacity
and making ‘constructive use of the option of preventive deployments’.74 A
second category of recommendations involve calls for, variously, ‘completing’
or ‘returning’ to negotiations, ‘signing’ or ‘ratifying’ existing conventions,
and ‘reaffirming’ or ‘honouring’ existing commitments and resolutions. This
leaves a smaller number of genuinely new recommendations; some of these,
including the most innovative, raise complex issues that have yet to be fully
addressed. The chief example is the panel’s proposal for the creation, as a
subsidiary organ of the Security Council, of a Peacebuilding Commission
(PBC), designed to deal more effectively with latent and actual state failure.
One of its ‘core’ tasks would be to ‘identify countries which are under stress
and risk sliding towards state collapse’.75 Like other concrete proposals in the
report, this one begs some obvious and thorny questions.76 By what criteria
does one identify a state ‘sliding towards collapse’? More difficult still will
be to persuade a state thus identified to accept the ‘invitation to a�end’ a
meeting of the commission. In view of the highly sensitive character of this
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
issue to G�� countries, Annan’s ���� report ‘In Larger Freedom’ was forced
to modify the original proposal and the commission is now intended to
address only ‘post-conflict activities’, with the Secretary-General explicitly
ruling out ‘an early warning or monitoring function’ for the body.77 Even
so, while the General Assembly has welcomed the proposal in principle,
key issues remain unresolved: what will be the precise relationship between
the Peacebuilding Commission, the Security Council and other principal
organs? How will the proposed Peacebuilding Support Office, intended to
provide the commission with ‘Secretariat support’, relate to the existing UN
departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Political Affairs, the la�er of
which is widely regarded as lacking direction and substantive focus?
The proposal for a Peacebuilding Commission raises a further issue. While
this particular recommendation involves the creation of a new institution, the
UN – as is o�en the case with bureaucratic creatures of any kind – has always
been poor at eliminating institutions, organs and offices that have either
outgrown their usefulness or are plainly under-performing. The panel calls
for the Trusteeship Council and the Military Staff Commi�ee to be formally
wound up and for the UN Charter references to ‘enemy States’ (in Articles ��
and ���) to be removed.78 Apart from this, however, it may well be argued
that the panel stops short of following through on the logic of its analysis of
the workings of UN’s various organs. Certainly, the paucity of ideas offered
by the panel when it comes to the principal organs other than the Security
Council appears to flow naturally from the unsentimental analysis provided
of those organs. The political reasons for treading lightly on the subject of
closing down existing institutions are not, of course, hard to fathom. Still, as
James Fearon has rightly observed, it leaves a wider problem: ‘by creating
new bodies within the UN without ge�ing rid of or fundamentally restructuring old ones, the new bodies will tend to add to the very ”coordination”
and ”coherence” problems they are intended to address’.79
Policy-driven objectives
What aspects, then, of the panel’s recommendations should member states
focus on as priorities? The panel has identified a series of concrete actions
that would, if implemented, undoubtedly strengthen the organisation’s
capacity to carry out its day-to-day tasks in the field of peace and security. These are not headline-grabbing recommendations, yet they address
recurring and well-documented deficiencies. Three examples merit special
a�ention and serve to illustrate the broader point about the level at which
reform ought to be pitched in September ���� and beyond. They are, first,
strengthening UN field operations; second, improving regional capacities
for peacekeeping in Africa; and third, providing the Secretary-General with
�� Mats Berdal
the resources and flexibility to engage more proactively in mediation and
‘post-conflict peace-building’ interventions.
Strengthening UN field operations. With UN deployment levels worldwide
now close to ��,���, and with UN peace operations rotating some ���,���
military and civilian police personnel in ���� alone, the question of how most
effectively to mount, manage and sustain field operations remains as important as ever. With developing countries now bearing the brunt of personnel
commitments to UN operations – Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, the three
top contributors, provide some ��,���, �,��� and �,��� troops respectively80
– long-standing issues relating to logistics support, tactical mobility, force
protection and financing require renewed and urgent a�ention. While both
planning and management of UN field operations benefited from reforms
implemented in the wake of the ���� Brahimi Report on UN Peace Operations,
remediable structural weaknesses continue to undermine the effectiveness of
operations, especially in the early and critical phase of deployments.81 One
persistent problem continues to be the General Assembly’s stranglehold – exercised through its �th Commi�ee and specifically the Advisory Commi�ee on
Administrative and Budgetary Questions – on funds that are o�en desperately
needed in the early phase of a mission. The centrality which disarmament,
demobilisation and reintegration activities has assumed in contemporary UN
peace operations also accentuates the funding challenge. To address these
issues, the panel, building on the Brahimi Report, calls for the Department of
Peacekeeping Operations to make further use of ‘strategic deployment stockpiles, standby arrangements, trust funds and other mechanisms … to meet
the tighter deadlines necessary for effective deployment.’82 It also calls on the
Security Council to mandate and the General Assembly to authorise disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration funding from assessed budgets for
peacekeeping operations.83 Unless the political momentum for reform generated over the past six months is used to address some of these deficiencies,
there is a real danger of severe operational overstretch affecting, in particular,
UN missions in Africa.
Strengthening regional capacities in Africa. Since the early ����s, the need
to strengthen and make use of regional organisations as envisaged under
Chapter VIII of the charter has repeatedly been stressed as desirable, though
without moving much beyond rhetoric. The persistence of violent conflict
in Africa, the current focus on the continent, the UN’s deep engagement
there and the initial steps taken by the African Union to develop an African
capacity for peacekeeping all provide good reasons for a concerted effort to
develop regional capacity. The panel calls specifically for African regional
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
and sub-regional capacities to be strengthened, appealing to all member
states to support a ��-year ‘process of sustained capacity-building support,
within the African Union strategic framework’.84 This is a sensibly targeted
proposal and requires specific actions, not generalised commitments,
in areas ranging from funding and pre-deployment training to doctrine
development, information processing, headquarters organisation, strategic/
tactical airli� and geospatial support. Existing resources and proven expertise should be used to meet operational requirements and established needs.
Sadly, the recent and unseemly squabble between NATO and the EU (or,
more precisely, between France and Belgium on the one hand and other
NATO allies on the other) over the provision of airli� for African Union
troops to Darfur has again shown how difficult this can be.85
Enhancing the capacities of the Secretary-General. The ability of the SecretaryGeneral and his staff to engage, when political circumstances permit, with
greater flexibility in ‘post-conflict’ se�ings, whilst generally welcomed,
has also long been hampered by in-built constraints. There are, at least,
three aspects to this. The first is funding, or rather the ready availability
of funding in response to contingencies. The panel seeks to address this in
part by calling for a standing fund, established at the level of ‘at least ����
million that can be used to finance the recurrent expenditures of a nascent
Government, as well as critical agency programmes in the areas of rehabilitation and reintegration’. In theory, the proposed Peacebuilding Commission
should also address the critical issue of bringing resources much more
effectively to bear in ‘post-conflict’ operations. A second long-standing
obstacle to effectiveness relates to UN personnel policies in general, and the
selection of key political staff with expertise in mediation activities and a
demonstrated capacity to lead complex missions. The record of UN competence in the field of mediation and leadership is far from all bad, though
truly outstanding competence has tended, at least since the early ����s, to
be associated with a relatively small number of names, including the late
Sergio Viero de Mello, Lakhdar Brahimi and Alvaro de Soto. There have
also been some disastrous appointments to the post of special representative of the secretary-general. Again, a more systematised and issue-driven
process is called for. The proposal to establish ‘a facility for training and
briefing new or potential special representatives and other United Nations
mediators’ may go some way towards addressing this need.86 Thirdly, as
important as funding and personnel policies is the need to rebuild and give
the Department of Political Affairs a much clearer sense of purpose.87 The
panel suggests that the department ‘should be restructured to provide more
consistent and professional mediation support.’88 Although it does not spell
�� Mats Berdal
out what this may entail, it does identify key requirements, including a fieldoriented mediation support capacity and ‘competence on thematic issues
that recur in peace negotiations, such as the sequencing of implementation
steps, the design of monitoring arrangements, the sequencing of transitional
arrangements and the design of national reconciliation mechanisms.’89
These examples all concern existing and long-recognised problems
to which the panel offers genuinely useful initiatives for improvement in
the short to medium term. The proposal for a Peacebuilding Commission
now seems certain to be agreed in principle in
September, and some progress may be achieved
in overhauling the UN’s antiquated and credibility-deficient human-rights machinery.90
If progress can also be made with respect
to Security Council working methods and,
possibly, some of the other new areas identified by the panel – a good example being the
proposals for addressing challenges in the field
of bio-security – the current momentum for
reform will have been put to good use. This
requires, however, that the idea of packages
and ‘far-reaching institutional reform’ is downplayed, even if doing so runs
counter to the Secretary-General’s insistence that ‘we cannot be content with
incomplete successes’ … or ‘incremental responses to shortcomings’.91 The
��-year history of the organisation powerfully suggests otherwise.
The proposal for
a Peacebuilding
Commission seems
certain to be agreed
in principle
Ideally, the panel’s main achievement will be the framework and the categories
that its report offers the deeply divided UN membership as it seeks to engage
in a meaningful dialogue about the proper role of the organisation in international security. If the dialogue starts in earnest in September, the summit
should be considered a success. Whether or not this will happen is far from
certain and the a�ention given to Security Council reform has done nothing to
bring member states closer together in a debate about common challenges. In
issuing ‘In Larger Freedom’ in March ����, Annan warned about and pointed
to ‘declining public confidence in the UN itself’.92 By imbuing the September
meeting with such importance and, in particular, by concentrating a�ention
on the subject of council enlargement, the danger is that, should the summit
turn out to be rather less than the promised ‘New San Francisco’ moment,
disillusionment with the organisation will deepen further.
Even so, the question remains whether the work of the panel – both in
terms of its analysis and the concrete proposals it has put forward – will
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
succeed in bridging the ‘deep divergences of opinion’ between the first two
of the constituencies identified above. As for the US reaction to the panel, it is
clear that the report will not (nor was it ever likely to) satisfy those elements,
neo-conservative or otherwise, who have convinced themselves that the UN
is necessarily an obstacle to the pursuit of US national interests in an ‘age of
terror’.93 Against this, however, the reaction of key US administration officials to the report has been less scathing than some had feared. The pragmatic
and more conciliatory tone evident in the second Bush administration’s
initial dealings with allies has been reflected in its comments on the UN,
and parts of the administration – most notably the Office of the Coordinator
for Reconstruction and Stabilization under Carlos Pascual – has engaged
constructively with UN on the panel, specifically by convincing the administration that the proposal for the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission
merits support.94 Even on the delicate issue of the use of force, a change in
tone is discernable. While the immediate reaction to the panel’s findings on
this issue noted, rather sternly, ‘serious concerns about some of the proposals’
relating to self-defence, Shirin Tahir-Kheli, appointed senior advisor on UN
reform by Condoleezza Rice in March ����, placed a more positive spin on it
in her comments on ‘In Larger Freedom’ before the General Assembly in early
May ����.95 These signs of a more pragmatic US position, following a low in
US–UN relations in December, stem in part from a renewed awareness of the
continuing value of the UN to the US. Thus, while the recent turbulence in
US–UN is relations is usually traced back to the US failure to obtain Security
Council endorsement for its decision to go war in ����, this has not prevented
the administration from showing greater eagerness than its European allies
to refer Iran and North Korea to the Security Council (a body whose ‘irrelevance’, according to Colin Powell, was supposedly brought home once and
for all by the events of ����).96 It would also appear that in looking more
closely at the reform proposals currently under discussion – especially in
Kofi Annan’s text, which includes a more explicit commitment than the panel
to democracy promotion, a favoured theme of the Bush administration, and
proposes the creation of a Human Rights Council – administration officials
have found much that they approve of. Nonetheless, signs of rapprochement
can easily be exaggerated. Above all, this administration remains intellectually and temperamentally averse to viewing multilateralism as a value in
itself.97 Additionally, a significant proportion of the US Congress remains
reflexively hostile towards the UN; an impression that is strongly suggested
by the tone, if nothing else, of The United Nations Reform Act of ���� introduced by Henry Hyde in June ����. Hyde’s bill proposes to withhold ��%
of US assessed dues ‘if certifications [that reforms have been enacted] are
not made in the key areas’.98 Finally, it must be added that the nomination in
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early March ���� of John Bolton (whose past hostility to the UN is well documented) to the post of US permanent representative to the UN, whatever the
outcome, can only with extreme difficulty be seen as enhancing the prospect
for an improvement in US–UN relations.99
As for the other constituencies whose concerns the panel has sought to
address, Muchkund Dubey’s remarks show clearly that the analysis offered
by the panel will not be embraced by all segments of elite opinion in developing countries. Of the panel proposal for a Peacebuilding Commission – one
of its more innovative suggestions – Dubey observes that it will ‘have the
effect of institutionalizing continuing interventions in the domestic affairs
of the developing countries members of the United Nations’ and provide a
‘means of bringing independent sovereign states from the developing world
under a new form of colonization’.100 Official reactions among key developing
countries, however, have been more positive, though some have suggested
that ‘In Larger Freedom’ made unnecessary concessions to US priorities.101
There is one final consideration. Li�le a�ention has been given to what
is certain to be a truly important decision facing member states in the near
future: the choice of a new Secretary-General to replace Kofi Annan as he
retires in December ����. The process for selecting the Secretary-General
of the UN is – some would say not unlike the organisation’s recruitment
and personnel policies more generally – arcane, secretive and highly
unsatisfactory.102 Formally ‘appointed by the General Assembly upon the
recommendation of the Security Council’,103 the process has always been
highly politicised and has never involved a systematic search for appropriate candidates. It is also deeply susceptible to political manoeuvring from
member states, especially the most powerful ones. This will not change. Still,
whatever the outcome of the September summit, it would wise to give early
thought in capitals around the world to the person who should inherit that
thankless but still vitally important job.
The article is an extended and substantially revised version of ‘Reconciling the Irreconcilable?’,
Behind the Headlines, vol. ��, no. �, ����. An earlier version of it was prepared for a workshop
on UN reform at the Yale Centre for the Study of Globalization in February ����. The author
is most grateful for the comments provided by Edward Luck, David Malone and Wegger
Christian Strømmen on an earlier dra� of this article.
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
Kofi Annan, Address to General
Assembly, �� September ����.
Report of the High-Level Panel on
Threats, Challenges and Change,
A More Secure World: Our Shared
Responsibility (henceforth HLP) (New
York: United Nations, ����), p. ��.
In addition to the resignation of
Ruud Lubbers as high commissioner
for refugees in February, following
allegations of sexual harassment,
the first half of ���� has also seen a
number of high-level departures from
the Secretariat in New York. These
followed the replacement in early
January of Iqbal Riza as chef de cabinet
by Mark Malloch Brown. Since his
arrival on the ��th floor, Malloch Brown,
formerly United Nations Development
Program administrator, has assumed an
unusually high public profile, at times
eclipsing that of the Secretary-General,
and clearly generating a high level
of friction within the higher echelons
of the organisation. While Riza’s
departure had been agreed with the
Secretary-General some time ago, two
other high-level departures evidently
were not: Kieran Prendergast, undersecretary-general for political affairs,
and Elizabeth Lindenmayer, deputy chef
de cabinet and one of Annan’s longest
serving and most loyal aides until her
sudden resignation in February ����.
Both departures were messy and badly
managed, with Prendergast’s departure
leaving the Department of Political
Affairs profoundly demoralised and
in a state of dri�. For his part, Malloch
Brown recently observed that ‘the
place [the Secretariat] is entirely like
revolutionary France, where the level of
backstabbing and betrayal would make
Shakespeare wince’. Quoted in ‘UN
backstabbing would make Shakespeare
wince, says Annan aide’, Sunday Times,
�� June ����.
The Millennium Declaration commi�ed
member states to a series of goals – the
Millennium Development Goals – in
an effort to stimulate development and
substantially reduce world poverty
by ����. The UN Millennium Project,
an advisory body led by Jeffery
Sachs, presented its ‘blueprint’ for the
implementation of the goals to Kofi
Annan in January ����. See ‘Investing
in Development’, h�p://www.
Kofi Annan, ‘“In Larger Freedom”:
Decision Time at the UN’, Foreign
Affairs, vol. ��, no. �, May/June ����, pp.
‘In Larger Freedom: towards
Development, Security and Human
Rights for All’, h�p://www.un.org/
largerfreedom. The report expands
most notably on the panel in the area
of human rights, rule of law and
democracy with a separate section
entitled ‘Freedom to live in Dignity’.
‘In Larger Freedom’, p. ��; Richard
A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside
America’s War on Terror, �nd ed.
(London: The Free Press / Simon and
Schuster, ����), p. ���.
In announcing the creation of the High
Level Panel, Kofi Annan expressed his
‘hope’ that the work of the panel would
result in ‘far-reaching institutional
reforms’. Annan, Address to General
Assembly, �� September ����.
Germany and Japan have joined with
Brazil and India to form the Group of
Four (G�) all seeking a permanent seat.
While the G� would have liked two
African candidates to join the group,
agreement among African countries on
suitable candidates has so far proved
elusive. At the African Union (AU)
summit in Libya on �–� July ����,
African leaders again failed to agree on
which two African candidates should be
put forward for permanent seats.
‘Statement by Ambassador Günter
Pleuger’, � April ����, h�p://www.
�� Mats Berdal
Japan’s contribution to the regular UN
budget is close to ��%, making it the
second largest contributor a�er the
United States, with Germany in third
place accounting for over �.�%.
For a compelling case of why council reform is unlikely to succeed, see Edward
Luck, ‘Rediscovering the Security
Council: The High-Level Panel and
Beyond’, in Reforming the United Nations
for Peace and Security, Proceedings of a
Workshop on UN Reform Yale Centre
for the Study of Globalization, March
����. Luck persuasively shows that
‘those calling for substantial reform’ of
the Security Council have yet to ‘clarify
both their diagnosis of what is wrong
with the Council today and how their
favoured reforms would remedy these
failings’ (p. ���).
James S. Su�erlin, ‘Some Thoughts
– Mostly Cautionary – on the
Recommendations of the HLP’, in
Reforming the UN for Peace and Security,
p. ���.
See ‘If �� Million Chinese Prevail at UN,
Japan Won’t’, New York Times, � April
����; ‘China Pushing and Scripting
Japanese Protests’, New York Times, ��
April ����; and ‘China Fights Enlarging
Security Council’, Washington Post, �
April ����.
‘The Passion Sours for Latin America’s
“Romeo and Juliet”’, Financial Times, �
May ����.
David Malone, rather less charitably,
has observed that substantive issues
regarding the workings of the Security
Council have been ‘largely obscured in
an orgy of influence-peddling and selfserving posturing dressed up in claims
of moral rectitude and the common
good of the membership’. David
Malone, ‘The High Level Panel and the
Security Council’, Security Dialogue, vol.
��, no. �, September ���� (forthcoming).
Position Paper on Security Council
Reform – ‘United for Consensus’, ��
February ����, h�p://www.un.int/
htm. See also h�p://www.italyun.org/
A set of proposals was put forward in
���� by then-President of the General
Assembly Razali Ismail. In brief,
the Razali Plan envisaged five new
permanent members without veto
powers and four new non-permanent
members. For details see Sam Daws
and Sydney Bailey, The Procedure of
the Security Council, �rd ed. (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, ����), pp.
Statement by Ambassador Enrique
Berruga (Mexico), General Assembly,
� April ����, h�p://www.un.int/
Private interviews, May/June ����. See
also, ‘Payback for Germany in Wrangle
over UN Top Seat’, The Times, �� June
See ‘Uniting for Consensus’, �� April
����, h�p://www.italyun.org/docs/
For an excellent assessment of possible
consequences of enlargement along
these lines, see Edward Luck, ‘The
UN Security Council: Reform or
Enlarge?’, conference paper, Centre for
International Governance Innovation,
Ontario, April ����.
For specific details of how progress may
be achieved in this area see ‘non-paper’
prepared by Edward Luck for the Swiss
Government and its Permanent Mission
to the UN, ‘Reforming the Security
Council – Step One: Improving Working
methods’, �� April ����.
Annan, Address to General Assembly,
�� September ����.
The White House, The National Security
Strategy of the United States of America,
September ����.
See Bob Woodward, Plan of A�ack
(London and New York: Simon &
Schuster, ����); Evgenia Peretz, David
Rose and David Wise, ‘The Path to
War’, Vanity Fair, May ����; and James
Fallows, ‘Blind into Baghdad’, The
Atlantic Monthly, January/February ����.
See The White House, National Strategy
to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction,
December ����.
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
‘War on Terrorism at the Top of White
House Priorities’, Financial Times, �
February ����; ‘Budget Message of
the President’, � February ����, h�p://
The budget request proposes a �.�%
increase in defence spending and an
�% increase in spending for homeland
security. See The White House,
‘FY�� Budget Priorities’,h�p://www.
‘Guantanamo Bay trials unfair, says
A�orney General’, Daily Telegraph,
�� June ����. See also debate in UK
Parliament in January ���� following
the return of four British detainees from
Guantanamo, h�p://www.publications.
Steven E. Miller, ‘Terrifying Thoughts:
Power, Order, and Terror a�er �/��’,
Global Governance, vol. ��, ����, p. ���.
Ibid., p. ���. Miller’s excellent and
sobering review article provides a
powerful corrective to those who have
sought to downplay the lasting impact
of �� September on US strategic policy.
He suggests persuasively that Richard
Perle and David Frum’s An End to Evil
– usually dismissed in Europe as a neoconservative rant – provides the true ‘key’
to understanding US policy ‘in the recent
past, immediate future … if not longer’.
Richard Perle and David Frum, An End
to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror (New
York: Ballantine Books, ����).
David Malone and Lo�a Hagman,
‘The North–South Divide at the United
Nations: Fading at Last?’, Security
Dialogue, vol. ��, no. �, December ����,
p. ���. As Malone has noted elsewhere,
the North–South divide at the UN
may be ‘anachronistic’ but ‘trade off[s]
across [the divide] characterize many
interactions of member states at the
UN’. Malone, ‘The High Level Panel
and the Security Council’.
‘Remarks by the Permanent
Representative of India, � December,
����’, h�p://www.un.int/india/
ind����.pdf. For a similar emphasis
on development issues in responding
to the panel, see also ‘Ambassador
Enrique Berruga Filloy (Mexico),
informal session on the HLP, ��th
UNGA, �� February ����’, h�p://www.
htm; and ‘Ambassador Ronaldo Mota
Sardenberg, (Brazil), informal session
on the HLP, ��th UNGA, �� February
����’, h�p://www.un.int/brazil/speech/
Muchkund Dubey, ‘Comments on the
HLP’, Reforming the UN for Peace and
Security, pp. ��–�.
See ‘Final Document of the XIII
Conference of Heads of State or
Government of the Non-Aligned
Movement Kuala Lumpur, ��–��
February ����’, ch. �, para. �, h�p://
and the declaration issued on �� June
���� following the meeting of ministers
of foreign affairs of the NAM in Doha,
Qatar, h�p://www.un.int/Malaysia/
Kanti Bajpai, ‘Indian Conceptions of
Order and Justice’, in Rosemary Foot,
John Lewis Gaddis and Andrew Hurrell
(eds), Order and Justice in International
Relations (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, ����), p. ���.
Mohammed Ayoob, ‘What Transatlantic
Crisis?’, International Herald Tribune, ��
February ����.
Ibid. The argument is developed
more fully in Mohammed Ayoob and
Ma�hew Zierler, ‘The Unipolar Concert:
The North–South Divide Trumps
Transatlantic Differences’, World Policy
Journal, vol. ��, no. �, spring ����, pp.
For a most useful overview of African
perspectives on the panel, echoing the
aforementioned concerns of developing
countries, see A More Secure Continent:
African Perspectives on the UN High-Level
Report, Seminar Report, Centre for
Conflict Resolution, University of Cape
Town, ��–�� April ����.
HLP, p. �.
�� Mats Berdal
Kofi Annan, Address to General
Assembly, �� September ����.
Michael J. Glennon, ‘Idealism at the
UN’, Policy Review, no. ���, February–
March ����, p. �.
Inis L. Claude Jr, ‘The New
International Security Order: Changing
Concepts’, Naval War College Review,
vol. ��, no. �, winter ����, p. ��.
HLP, pp. �–�.
Ibid, p. ��.
Ibid., p. ��.
Ibid., p.��.
Luck, ‘Rediscovering the Security
Council’, p. ���.
HLP, p. ��.
Ibid., p. ��.
Our Global Neighbourhood: The Report
of the Commission on Global Governance
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, ����)
HLP, p. ��.
Our Global Neighbourhood, p. ���.
For those interested in pursuing the
comparison further, see the relevant
sections in each report dealing with
the threat posed by WMD. The
Commission on Global Governance
called on the ‘international community’
to ‘initiate a programme’ that would
make the goal of eliminating ‘nuclear
and other weapons of mass destruction
from all nations … a reality in ten to
fi�een years’ (p. ���).
HLP, p. ��.
Ibid., p. ��.
Ibid., p. ��.
Ibid., pp. ��–��.
Talk of a ‘single grand bargain’ to be
struck in September persists in much
of the media. See ‘Under Fire: the UN
struggles to meet the challenges of a
changes world’, Financial Times, � June
HLP, p. �.
Ibid., pp. ��–��.
‘Statement by Ambassador Stafford
Neil (representing G��) on HLP’, ��
January ����, h�p://www.g��.org/
HLP, p. ��. For discussion of the
connections between poverty and war,
see Morris Miller, ‘Poverty as a Cause of
Wars?’, Interdisciplinary Science Review,
vol. ��, no. �, ����, pp. ���–��.
HLP, p. ��.
HLP, pp. ��–�. For a succinct account
of the ever more apparent weaknesses
of the existing non-proliferation
regime, echoing many of the findings
of the panel, see Strategic Survey
����–�� (Abingdon: Routledge for the
International Institute for Strategic
Studies, ����), pp. ��–��.
HLP, pp. ��–�. For an assessment of
the threat from transnational organised
crime is evolving, see Mats Berdal
and Monica Serrano (eds), Business as
Usual? Transnational Organised Crime
and International Security (Boulder, CO:
Lynne Rienner Publishers, June ����).
See HLP, p. ��.
Ibid. p. ��.
Ibid, p. �
Ibid, p. ��. See An Agenda for Peace, June
Ibid., p.��.
For further discussion see ‘Discussion
Paper on the HLP: Recommendation to
Establish a Peacebuilding Commission’,
Center on International Cooperation,
NYU, January ����; and Su�erlin,
‘Thoughts on the Recommendations of
the HLP’, p. �.
‘In Large Freedom’, para. ���.
HLP, p. ��. Even these proposals
have met with resistance as China,
for reasons unclear, has expressed
‘serious reservations on the abolition
of the Military Staff Commi�ee’.
See ‘Ambassador Wang Guangya on
Cluster IV of the Secretary-General’s
comprehensive report at GA ��th
Session (�� April ����)’, h�p://www.
James Fearon, ‘Comments on the Report
of the HLP’, Reforming the UN for Peace
and Security, March ����, p. ���.
These are followed by Ethiopia, Ghana,
Nepal and Nigeria. The figures include
military observers and police in
addition to regular troops. h�p://www.
The UN’s Unnecessary Crisis ��
Panel on United Nations Peace
Operations (see A/��/���-S/����/���).
HLP, para. ���. The value of drawing
upon these mechanisms was one
of lessons to emerge from the UN
deployment to Liberia in ����–��.
See Peacekeeping Best Practices Unit,
DPKO, Lessons Learned Study on the
Start-Up Phase of the UN Mission in
Liberia (New York: United Nations,
HLP, para. ���.
HLP, para.���.
Interviews, Brussels, � June ����.
NATO’s Allied Movement Coordination
Center (AMCC) is ideally suited for
managing such operations, a fact that so
far has not weighed heavily in French
and Belgium calculations.
HLP para. ���.
For a good overview of the challenges
facing especially the DPA, see Bill
Durch, ‘Strengthening the UN
Secretariat Capacity for Civilian PostConflict Response’, prepared for the
Centre on International Cooperation,
NYU, June ����.
HLP, para. ���.
For support to the proposal for a
Peacebuilding Commission, see ‘Dra�
Outcome Document of the High-Level
Plenary of the General Assembly of
September ���� Submi�ed by the
President of the General Assembly’, �
June ����, UN document A/��/HLPM/
‘In Larger Freedom’, para. ��.
Ibid., para.��.
For a view along those lines see Perle
and Frum, An End to Evil, pp. ���–��.
‘Love at Second Sight’, The Economist,
�� March ����, and Kim Holmes, ‘Why
Multilateral Orgnizations are Important
to the US’, � March ����, h�p://www.
See Holmes, ‘Why the United Nations
Ma�ers to US Foreign Policy’; and
Statement by Ambassador Shirin TahirKheli, senior advisor to the secretary of
state on UN reform, on the SecretaryGeneral’s Report on UN Reform, in the
General Assembly, April �, ���� posted
in full at h�p://www.un.int/usa/��_���.
‘US Weighs going to UN Council on
North Korea’, International Herald
Tribune, � June ����.
Miller, ‘Terrifying Thoughts’, pp. ���–�.
‘Hyde Introduces UN Reform
Legislation’, h�p://www.house.gov/
The analogy drawn to Paul Wolfowitz’s
World Bank appointment seems to me
misplaced, as Bolton’s record reveals a
far more consistent, long-standing and
unremi�ing pa�ern of hostility towards
the UN. The best guide to Bolton’s
views on the UN and its proper place
in US foreign policy is probably his
‘The Creation, Fall, Rise, and Fall of the
United Nations’ in Ted Carpenter (ed),
Delusions of Grandeur: the UN and Global
Intervention (Washington DC: CATO
Institute, ����).
Dubey, ‘Comments on the HLP’, p. ��.
See note �� and also views expressed
by the G�� as a whole, South Africa and
China, the la�er associating itself with
the official G�� position. ‘Ambassador
Stafford Neil (Jamaica), Chairman
G��, Informal Meeting on the HLP, ��
January ����, UNGA ��th Session’, h�p://
‘Statement by Xolisa Mabhongo (South
Africa) on the HLP, �� February ����’,
pmun/; ‘Statement by Wang Guangya
on the HLP, Informal Consultations of
UNGA ��th Session’, h�p://www.chinaun.org/eng/xw/t������.htm; interviews,
May/June ����.
Daws and Bailey, The Procedure of the
Security Council, pp. ���–��.
UN Charter, Article ��.
�� Mats Berdal

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