Sunday, March 19, 2006

The UN and the current world order

Out of the many imbalances in the World Order today, two things stand out. One is the structure of Security Council Permanent Membership and the other is the possession of nuclear weapons by select countries. An ideal path in both these issues would be to move towards giving them up by the countries which hold them now -eventually.

And yet on the contrary - we are hearing about a reformation of Security Council that would end up enlarging the number of permanent members rather than do away with them altogether. Japan, Germany, India and Brazil are the new wannabes. On the nuclear issue, wherease NPT (signed in 1967) called for moving towards elimination of nuclear weapons by ALL countries over a period of time, we see no sign of it. US, Russia and other countries continue to strenghten their arsenal - if not in numbers, certainly in their potency.

India - which had largely been idealistic on these issues for many years - is showing signs of hypocrisy. It wants to be part of Security Council as permanent member and having not signed NPT - wants a special deal for itself on the nuclear issue.

The argument in both the cases would be 'realpolitik'. It is the 'if you cant beat 'em, join 'em' mentality. How powerful a voice India's would have been - had it said no to its own candidature for Security Council Permanent Membership - alongside an equally vocal no to supporting any other country's candidature. This would have exposed the abuse an important body like UN had been subjected to by major powers. Alas, these days - it is not fashionable for countries to be idealistic. Idealism is for individuals, not nations (Venezuela may be a sort of exception to this).

On the nuclear issue, India's stand (though denied) against Iran on the nuclear issue exposes another new trend in Indian foreign policy: Soviet bear hug of the Cold War era giving way to American bear hug of the 'post - 911 world'.


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