By Vivek Pattanayak in Bhubaneswar, October 14, 2021: Human civilization is under threat of unprecedented pandemic and rapidly changing climate increasing temperature with melting of glacier, and likely submergence of coastal areas, floods, and cyclones and drought.

At this stage it must be also stated that in addition to growth of inter-governmental bodies there have been also creation of private international bodies which are not intergovernmental bodies like INMARSAT, IATA etc. which play role in economic and technical relationship among countries. International Red Cross, Doctors’ Without Border, OXFAM and many civil society bodies have been active in philanthropic and humanitarian activities having global dimension.

In last seven decades multi-national corporate bodies have proliferated having their footprints across the world and in addition innumerable trade related bodies have sprung up. Veritable globalization has not only taken place but has taken firm roots whether some like it or not. This was visible and clear during pandemic generated lockdowns which immeasurably interrupted global supply chain creating shortage of essential goods including much needed medicines and rising prices consequently disruption of manufacturing process and employment.

In the light of these developments, one should review how the world order is being shaped. First the UN system is based on the principle of equality of status of sovereign states. At the same time, five States are permanent members of Security Council. Each one enjoys veto power. Although there are ten non-permanent States who rotate every two years, except in few matters even if five members agree, unless there is required majority decisions cannot be taken.In the General Assembly in some matters specified majority is required for passing of resolution. In the Specialized Agencies there is no veto power.

Financial contributions of States are not the same as has been indicated earlier. USA, Japan, Germany, Russia, UK and France make lion share to budget expenditure. No wonder they have greater political influence in the UN system. They manipulate with chief executive by delaying their contributions.While small countries have the numbers; the big countries have control over finance.

For last three decades financially strong big powers make extra-budgetary contributions and then insist on recruiting their own nationals in management of those programs funded by them. In the past USA, Japan, Russia, France, and UK used to resort to these practices. Now China has started doing the same. International civil service is expected to be neutral. In addition to this practice, for awarding of contracts of projects political pressure is also exerted on the chief executives in the UN system.

From time to time there is demand from some member countries mostly from US for reforms in UN.While Germany, Japan, India, and Brazil expect a permanent seat in the Security Council as part of UN reform, USA and Western countries pressurise for reduction of the size of the budget under the strict principle of zero nominal growth or at best zero real growth.

In addition, USA in particular prods the chief executive for outsourcing of activities to outside consultants and reduction of bureaucracy and increasing dependence more on information technology and digitization. While developing countries insist on equitable geographic representation in the secretariat the West Europe would expect the merit should be sole basis of recruitment.

In the fifties and sixties there was elan towards internationalism although the rivalry due to Cold War dampened this. After dissolution of USSR, USA emerged as sole super-power. Senior George Bush after the first Gulf war talked of New World Order after the spectacular victory over Saddam’s Iraq driving his troops from Kuwait in 1991. He formed an excellent coalition of countries with contribution of armed forces with financial resources to fight this war. He even got support from President Gorbachev of Soviet Union and also tacit support of China although it was still a developing power. Many thought the USA would become the global policeman. Prestige of USA improved immensely which emboldened it to take coercive action against Yugoslavia under NATO umbrella.

9/11 also generated immense amount of sympathy of people around the world towards USA which gave moral courage to Junior Bush to take decisive punitive action against Al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan. In no time he lost the support in the world when he attacked Iraq under Saddam calling it as a part of axis of evil and making allegation that he had weapons of mass destruction. Both Bush and Blair could not get the support of France and Canada. His so-called victory became elusive when Iraq after Saddam became play field of Islamic terrorists ending with Al Baghdadi leading terrorist outfit to the creation of ISIS holding large territory.

Misadventure of the West to destabilize Syria and Libya have created new monster of armed instability. Now Russia under Putin has a robust presence in the Islamic region.

UN as a body has lost its role in peacekeeping. Peace is no longer negotiated in UN level but at level of involved powers. Nationalism is growing in the world in a more virulent manner than before after Trump’s assertion of America for Americans and America First. Brexit is an example of this trend after Greece having failed to meet its international financial obligation talked of Grexit, and now it is the turn Polexit. Europe is gripped by anti-immigration sentiments particularly after wave of Islamic terrorist attacks.

In other regions and countries there is a new trend of “not mining the present but chewing the past” which has not escaped even in countries like China and India.This explains why President Xi Jingping is repeatedly threatening Taiwan and stating seizure of Taiwan is inevitable.India also expects POK along with Aksai Chin would come within its control eventually.

Sub-nationalism has surfaced in Scotland in UK and Catalonia in Spain and simmering in Ethiopia and many other parts of the world. Pandemic exposed deficiency in internationalism. Trump first stopped funding WHO and then withdrew from it and made derogatory remark about relevance and efficacy of UN at New York. Although Biden has reversed it, but one must recognize that Trump represented a substantial voice of America, world’s largest economy and global political superpower.

Continuance of wars, conflicts and hostilities, traumatic experience during pandemic and impending danger posed by climate change would make many thinking people to believe that safety of human civilization demands greater international understanding, larger cooperation and more robust global action.

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