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Editor’s note: Reporter Mary Jo Anderson is in New York attending
both the United Nations Millennium Summit and the State of the World
Forum. This is her latest report for WND.
By Mary Jo Anderson
? 2000, WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.
NEW YORK – The answer to the big question being posed at the Millennium
Summit and State of the World Forum – namely, “What is the role of the
U.N. for the 21st century?” – seems to boil down to limited sovereignty
for nations and a vastly expanded power base for the United Nations.
Reputed to be the biggest gathering of heads of state in history, the
twin events yesterday dealt with questions like: Is the power of nations
declining, replaced by multinational corporations and transnational
non-governmental organizations? When civil wars erupt and genocide
ensues, who should be the world’s enforcer of human rights? Should the
United Nations serve its members, the nation states, or move into the
role of guarantor of human rights wherever they are violated, without
regard for the sovereignty of nations?
As questions like these were put to a panel on day two on the United
Nations Millennium Summit, across town, popular British BBC television
host Tim Sebastian brought his crew to New York to film roundtable
discussions with members of the world’s “braintrust” appearing at the
State of the World Forum. The Forum, a project of the Gorbachev
Foundation, is running concurrently with the Millennium Summit.
At the Forum yesterday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public
Affairs James Rubin squared off against Mary Robinson, U.N. high
commissioner of human rights as well as billionaire Canadian financier
George Soros. Other panelists included Gen. Romeo Dallaire, former U.N.
commander in Rwanda and Sir Brian Urquhart, former U.N. undersecretary
Sebastian launched an early salvo, charging, “The U.N. has a rather
tarnished image with its peacekeeping failures.”
Film footage rolled overhead while panelists watched the disastrous
Bosnian engagement where Dutch U.N. peacekeepers stood by as 7,000
Bosnian Muslims were murdered. Clips from the 1994 Rwandan massacre
exposed a visibly distressed Gen. Dallaire, who was in charge during
that mission and had pleaded for more U.N. troops, and got silence for
his pains. When help arrived, Dallaire was disgusted.
“You are all late– weeks and weeks late,” he said at the time. An
estimated one million Rwandans were murdered.
The BBC host moved on to the ongoing strife in East Timor and Sierra
Leone. Dallaire spoke quickly, laying the fault for failure to respond
not on the U.N., but on the nations of the Security Council.
“Every sovereign state that puts self-interest before humanity. That’s
the dogma of the global market,” he said.
Rubin, however, blamed the “collective failure of all the nations.”
Delays, Rubin noted, are natural when no immediate exterior threat is
present and while hope still exists that a country will work out its own
difficulties. The U.S. did finally act in Kosovo,” noted Rubin, and “….
we’re talking about moral interventions [in Kosovo].” Rubin
distinguished between interventions based on national interest and
intrusion into the internal affairs of nations based on a moral
But Soros refused to grant Rubin a hall pass, saying, “The Kosovo crisis
had been brewing 10 years.”
Commissioner Robinson interjected, “The point is… the heads of state
are all here [at the U.N. Summit, and] they must put much more emphasis
on prevention.” Soros insisted that “if the democracies of the West had
paid attention, Milosovic could not have come to power.”
Rubin, exasperated by several remarks unfavorable to U.S. foreign
policy, responded, “But once he was in power, the only answer was
military power,” adding that prevention as a preemptive action requires
a gross breech of sovereignty. Rubin suggested that not every conflict
can be prevented.
Robinson reminded the panel that Kofi Annan, the United Nations
secretary general, had addressed the heads of state about the “crisis of
confidence in the U.N.’s peacekeeping capacity.” She called for greater
capacity for U.N. missions by strengthening financial support, providing
troops and a defined mechanism for taking action.
Sir Brian Urquhart objected to the expectation that the U.N. should
assume the role of a government.
“People compare the U.N. to a government, which it isn’t,” he said. The
problem is the old model of peacekeeping, he added, and that “nations
are extremely sensitive [about intervention].”
Dallaire urged that the position of Annan be taken as the model.
“Humanity is the issue [as opposed to sovereignty]. My ire is at the
Security Council,” said the general.
Robinson agreed that the “focus is on human security . The border of
national sovereignty isn’t a cut-off. We must mainstream human rights.”
Urquhart labeled any attempt to solve every dispute under the U.N.
Charter as it stands as “absurd.” Reminding panelists that the United
Nations was instituted to avoid World War III, he said that to send the
U.N. into full-time peacekeeping would require a “completely changed
structure.” His comment summed up the thrust of the discussion.
The debate unfolded as though it was a choreographed dance, leading the
audience through the horrors of Somalia, Rwanda, Kosovo, the deaths
three days ago of the U.N. peacekeeping personnel, and finally, to the
And that conclusion was that the answer to the central question this
week regarding the future role of the United Nations is limited national
sovereignty and a much larger power base for the global body.
Rapidly, Soros, Dallaire and Robinson weighed in on the necessity to
make “human security the emphasis” of the U.N.’s mission.
Robinson asked, “What needs to be put into the pot to strengthen
Dallaire had said earlier, “You need a new doctrinal base.” Soros
agreed, saying the U.N. Charter was written in terms of states and each
country defending its own interests — an international patronage
system. What is needed now, he said, is a lot more power to the
secretary general — a “centralized power” required for a new, improved
United Nations in the 21st century.
Rubin replied, “Soros is right: Is the U.N. for the member nations? Some
emphasize ‘secretary’ while others emphasize ‘general.'”
“The vision on the table,” said Dallaire, “is in ‘We the Peoples.’. Kofi
says it’s about the Human Family.”
The BBC taping will be broadcast to 170 nations this Sunday.
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