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The UN's unnecessary crisis

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7 - 32
Number of pages26
Issue number3
PublishedSep 2005

King's Authors


As heads of state and government prepare to mark the 6011 anniversary of the UN with a grand meeting in New York in September 2005, the sense of crisis and uncertainty that has surrounded the world body since the start of the war in Iraq. is: still very much present. The enduring nature of the crisis has contributed to the widely held impression - both mistaken and profoundly unhelpful - that a truly critical moment in the history of the organisation has been reached and that 'make or break' decisions must be made this year. This impression has been powerfully encouraged by Secretary-General Kofi Annan's own insistence that member states are faced with nothing less than,a new San Francisco moment', requiring far-reaching institutional change, including of the Security Council. To present the challenge facing the UN in such stark terms has been a major strategic error and one of its more predicable consequences has been an unseemly and ugly fight among key members about Security Council enlargement. This has diverted attention away from real and more pressing issues. It has also done much to diminish the prospects for a successful summit meeting in September

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