United Nations Reform: Beyond the Blame Game

Capitol Hill Briefing
September 26, 2005 12:00PM
B-354 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring Christopher Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute and moderated by Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute

On the heels of the United Nations summit, controversies and obstacles surrounding UN reform will remain. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has put forward an ambitious slate of reform issues – including foreign aid, potential changes to the UN Security Council, humanitarian intervention and human rights, a permanent peacekeeping force, and progress on an approach to terrorism. Notwithstanding Annan’s enthusiasm for reform, efforts to change the world body have proved difficult.

Accusations of obstructionism have been made against US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a corrupt UN bureaucracy, and a variety of other sources. As a result, the United Nations is in disarray at a time when it could potentially be a useful forum for helping to resolve a number of pressing international issues.

Why have UN reform efforts largely failed? What are America’s interests in UN reform, and what should be done to advance them? Can the United Nations be a useful vehicle for advancing America’s interests, or has it degenerated into a hopelessly corrupt and ineffectual talking society?