Unvanquished: A U.S.-U.N. Saga
The US government had come to the conclusion that it did not want an independent spirit on the 38th Floor of the Secretariat and thought that ‘BB-G’ would make a useful scapegoat for the failures of US policy in the Balkans and Somalia. However, it had tried to avoid having to use its veto by going to extraordinary lengths to persuade his supporters to drop him. The State Department barnstormed an OAU summit, sent the Secretary of State himself on a trip to Africa, spread disinformation, and arm-twisted the other members of the Security Council. His official phone lines were tapped – or so he believes. The State Department even tried tempting him to stand down voluntarily with the offer of his own US-financed foundation and a new title – ‘Secretary-General of the United Nations Emeritus’. (Since this would signify ‘honourable discharge’ it was presumably intended to distinguish him from Kurt Waldheim, the predecessor with the somewhat questionable war record.) And yet, when it came to the vote on his future in the Security Council, not even the British supported the Americans – which tells us just what a diplomatic debacle for them this was.
But so what? As Boutros-Ghali says, ‘Only the weak rely on diplomacy [which] is perceived by an imperial power as a waste of time and prestige and a sign of weakness’ (p. 198). Of course, he exaggerates – as the half of his own book that I have summarised above amply demonstrates – but there is a kernel of truth in this observation. And this book, by any standards, is a quite riveting account of how and why the United States tried diplomacy but in the end shrugged its shoulders and cast its veto against Boutros Boutros-Ghali – even though its vital interests were not at stake. It is also likely to make angry anyone who thinks – as I do – that the world diplomatic system can only suffer from the political emasculation of the UN Secretariat. I have added some references to this valuable memoir, with its account of the ‘UN-vanquished’ but its Secretary-General morally ‘Unvanquished’ (the title is a clever pun), on the Updating Pages for my textbook.
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Book review by Geoff Berridge
Reforming the Working Methods of the UN Security Council: The Next ACT
ACT is a new group of 22 UN member states that is pressing for reform of the working methods of the UN Security Council in order to improve its accountability, coherence and transparency. To achieve its aims, ACT will have to avoid being caught up in the stalled debate over Council membership reform. The group, currently dominated by small states, will also need new partners from different geographical regions, and with more political weight. Moreover, if ACT wants to involve the permanent members of the Security Council, it may have to limit its emphasis on the role of the veto. ACT aim...
How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance
Culture and Organizations: Software of the Mind
The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action
Democratic Intergovernmental Organizations? Normative Pressures and Decision-Making Rules
At first sight, the very choice of the title of this book may indicate that the author, Alexandru Grigorescu, was not sure about the existence of such thing. Indeed, to be or not to be democratic is not a top concern on the internal agenda of international organizations. Therefore, Grigorescu’s fresh endeavour to find an answer to such a purposeful question is ab initio a praiseworthy academic démarche.
Modernising Dutch Diplomacy
Multilateral Aid 2015: Better Partnerships for a Post-2015 World
5th MIKTA Foreign Ministers’ Meeting: Joint Communiqué
Small States in International Relations
The IberoAmerican System and its Influence in the Ibero-American Regional Summit Diplomacy
Humanitarian intervention and international society
Berridge, G. R. (1996) 'Funeral summits', in David H. Dunn (ed.), Diplomacy at the Highest Level: The evolution of international summitry (Macmillan - now Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke).
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting (ASED)
The Role of the United Nations in Making Progress Towards Peace in Burundi
The challenge of regionalism
Work Programme on Electronic Commerce
Diplo: Effective and inclusive diplomacy
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