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Why the West needs the UN Development System


In a recently published briefing paper Kishore Mahbubani writes "As we move into an era of great convergence, the West must fundamentally rethink its policy that its long-term interests are served by keeping institutions of global governance weak. With only 12 percent of the population of the global village and a declining share of economic and military power, the West’s long-term geopolitical interests will switch from trying to preserve its "dominance” to safeguards to protect the West’s “minority” position in a new global configuration of power."

The paper was published in a briefing series by the Future United Nations Development System project of the Ralph Bunche Institute, sponsored by several European governments, Wilton Park and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

May 28, 2013 | Future United Nations Development System

Kishore Mahbubani (2013): Why We - Especially the West - Need the UN Development System. Briefing 4. New York: Future United Nations Development System.

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From the briefing:

Western countries have created a UN development system that is underfunded and hamstrung by politics. As the relative power of the West declines, these countries should invest more in the UN to ensure global stability.

Institutions of global governance are weak by design not default. As Singapore’s permanent representative in New York, I encountered senior members of the American establishment who lamented the UN’s poor condition. The explanation was the domination by the poor and weak states of Africa and Asia and the poor quality of its bureaucrats.

To the best of my knowledge, no one seemed aware of a long-standing Western strategy, led primarily by Washington, to keep the United Nations weak. Even during the Cold War, when Moscow and Washington disagreed on everything, both actively conspired to keep the UN feeble: selecting pliable secretaries-general, such as Kurt Waldheim, and bullying them into dismissing or sidelining competent and conscientious international civil servants who showed any backbone; squeezing the organization’s budgets; and planting CIA and KGB agents across the UN system. [...]


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