"If the UN is to be a vehicle through which states can meet the challenges of today and tomorrow, it needs to strengthen its relevance, effectiveness, and accountability." Kofi Annan, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2005 (p. 72).
And then there's this, from Reuters, via Yahoo! News:
A group of countries known as the Non-Aligned Movement and a bloc of 132 developing nations and China have formally protested that the council, chaired this month by U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, was trespassing on U.N. General Assembly turf by scheduling meetings this week on procurement fraud and sexual abuse by peacekeepers.
The two blocs argued these were General Assembly matters rather than the council's, a stand Annan supported.
Bolton dismissed their concerns, saying the two U.N. bodies shared jurisdiction over the matters and the assembly was free to hold its own meetings.
"While others talk, the United States will act to solve problems," Bolton told reporters on Monday. "When we uncover problems, we want to solve them. The Security Council is perfectly capable of doing that."
Sounds like a moot procedural disagreement, but it brings to mind so many ways in which the UN allows turf wars, internal corruption, and contrarianism to keep the organization from accomplishing anything, especially when the West in general and America in particular just might have a point.
Small, messy, troubled nations seek stature in the world not by helping to fix the world's problems, but by creating stumbling blocks for those who would: If a cynic were to write the mission statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, the preceding sentence would be it.
It is the history and membership of the Non-Aligned Movement that elicits more than a raised eyebrow in this dispute. Originally an unofficial partner of the Soviet Bloc, it is now the Islamic Bloc, and its agenda, that gives direction to the movement, while maintaining solidarity with other member states through a shared distaste for the US, and mutual aid in resources and technology, most notably between the Mideast and that other distinguished NAM member, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Of course, what that agenda includes is better described by a visit to Jihad Watch on any given day, than anything I can summarize here.
But it seems to be largely underappreciated by the "man on the street" that the remaining Axis of Evil and its satellite countries are united in that larger "Axis of Anklebiters" (as I like to call it) known as the Non-Aligned Movement. And despite Annan's lip service to reform and renewal of purpose, it is rather clear which side he is on, and how determined a reformer he is.