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Of paramount interest?

This year’s session of the UN General Assembly has confirmed the growing ineffectiveness of the world body
the efficacy of the UN in guarantee- to sanction Masood Azhar, whose
ing any deal struck. Other de- release in exchange for hostages in
cisions of the Trump administra- 1999 should have been proof
tion in the U.S., to walk out of the enough of his perfidy.
climate change agreement as well Mr. Guterres’s concerns about
as threaten to cancel its funding what he calls the “dark side of in-
contributions to the UN, have also novation” are valid, and the world
suhasini haidar GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO
seen little comment from the world is seeing an increasing number of
body, which further reduces the cyber-attacks, especially from non-

I
n June 1945, India’s princely respect it is viewed with. state actors. But the UN must do
states sent a single representat- Nowhere is that lack of respect more to act on attacks carried out
ive to sign the Charter of the more obvious than regarding My- by states, especially those that are
United Nations at the San Fran- anmar, where the military junta permanent members of the Secur-
cisco conference, a charter that faced sanctions for years. Despite ity Council. Both Russia and the
realised Alfred Tennyson’s poem inviting former UN Secretary Gen- U.S. have been known to use cyber
where he called for a “Parliament eral Kofi Annan to prepare a report warfare, but equally the use of
of man, Federation of the world.” at the other. Of course, the India- tions only squeezed the country’s on Rakhine state, post-democracy new-age warfare — drones, robotic
“There the common sense of most Pakistan word-war was outdone by poor, as in Zimbabwe (Southern Myanmar has been able to carry soldiers and remote killings — must
shall hold a fretful realm in awe, the U.S. and North Korea who Rhodesia) and DPRK itself, while out one of the region’s most fright- see more regulation from the inter-
and the kindly earth shall slumber, sparred over Pyongyang’s latest not changing its belligerent posi- ening massacres just days after the national community.
lapped in universal law,” Tennyson provocations. tions. In most cases, the misery report was submitted. On the basis
wrote in his work, ‘Locksley Hall’, was heightened by international of satellite pictures, and eyewit- Each one ‘first’
spelling out his vision for a world Secretary General’s list military interventions, from ness accounts, the UN Human Solving the world’s inequalities,
where the “war-drum throbb’d no However, it wasn’t the language Yugoslavia to Libya and Yemen. Rights chief called military action a the last point on his list, where Mr.
longer, and the battle flags were employed that made the UN’s 72nd Even the Taliban regime in Afgh- “textbook case of ethnic cleans- Guterres pointed out that “eight
furled.” General Assembly one of its most anistan, against which the U.S. and ing”, as half a million Rohingya fled men represent as much of the
The poem was famously carried disappointing sessions, but the pic- Russia united to pass a slew of eco- for their lives from Rakhine villages world’s wealth as half of all human-
by U.S. President Harry Truman in ture of the UN’s ineffectiveness on nomic, political and travel sanc- that were then burnt down, with ity”, will be a harder and harder
his wallet, which he called his in- each of the issues confronting the tions in the 1990s, didn’t change landmines laid along the border to task for the UN, where member
spiration as the UN Charter was be- world today, that were spelt out by course on its support to al-Qaeda Bangladesh to prevent their re- countries speak only of putting
ing drafted. A. Ramaswami Mud- the Secretary General António Gu- or its brutal treatment of women turn. The Security Council will themselves “first”.
aliar, then the Dewan of Mysore terres in his speech on September and minorities. The truth is that now meet on Thursday to consider Clearly the vision of the UN
added prose to that poetry as he 19. “We are a world in pieces, we sanctions do not work on rogue the situation, but it is short on dreamt by Tennyson or Mudaliar
spoke on behalf of undivided India need to be a world at peace,” he states; they only help isolate their ideas and late on action, and or any of the leaders over time has
with the words, “There is one great said, listing the world’s seven populations from the world, which restoring more than a million state- far to go. The important issue is the
reality… which all religions teach… biggest threats: nuclear peril, ter- in turn tightens the regime’s less refugees to their homes seems road it employs, and the respect
the dignity of the common man.” rorism, unresolved conflicts and stranglehold on its people, and a daunting task, even for a world- the institution is accorded, not just
violations of international human- strengthens its resolve to disregard body that was set up expressly to as a structure at New York’s 42nd
A word war itarian law, climate change, grow- the UN. ensure that such a displacement Street, but a shared ideal. This was
As the bitterly divided Indian and ing inequality, cyber warfare and would “never again” be allowed to summed up best by the UN’s first
Pakistani delegations stood up misuse of artificial intelligence, Lacking guarantees occur. Secretary General, Trygve Lie,
over the past week to face each and human mobility, or refugees. In addition, to those who may just A similar impotency has been who ran an equally divided forum
other more than 70 years later, Even a cursory glance shows that consider, as Libya did, to relin- imparted to the UN on the issue of and finally resigned from his post
however, all those words rang hol- each of these issues saw little quish nuclear weapons, the fact terrorism. India’s grievances here in 1952 saying, “The United Nations
low. Reality was in short supply, as movement at the UNGA. that NATO destroyed Libya anyway are justified and are a symptom of will not work effectively if it is used
even the photograph brandished To begin with, the UN’s actions is a disincentive. The UN has done the UN’s powerlessness to enforce merely as forum for destructive
by Pakistan’s envoy Maleeha Lodhi in response to North Korea’s mis- itself no favours by failing to cen- even the basic strictures against propaganda. Neither will it work if
as being from Jammu and Kashmir siles and nuclear tests just amoun- sure NATO on violating its mandate terrorists it sanctions, given that it is used only as a convenience
turned out to be from Gaza; reli- ted to another round of sanctions only to the responsibility to protect Hafiz Saeed and associates now when national interests are dir-
gion became cause to divide rather against the Kim Jong-un regime. (R2P) and not for regime change in plan to stand for public office in ectly involved, and regarded with
than build a common understand- Past history points to the slim Libya in 2011. To other countries Pakistan, while others like Zakiur indifference, or bypassed or op-
ing, and the dignity of the United chances of success of this tack. that may enter talks, as Iran did, Rehman Lakhvi, who received bail posed, when the general world in-
Nations, let alone the common Since 1966, the UN Security Coun- the imminent threat from the U.S. despite UN financial sanctions, terest is paramount.”
man, disappeared as each side cil has established 26 sanctions re- of walking out of the Joint Compre- have simply disappeared. Mean-
used its multiple rights of reply for gimes, of which about half are still hensive Plan of Action (P5+1 agree- while India struggles to convince
name-calling and rhetoric hurled active. In some cases, the sanc- ment) would make them question China to allow the Security Council suhasini.h@thehindu.co.in