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The UN Secretary-General Must Tread Cautiously in Africa

Thu, 2 Feb 2012 Source: Bokor, Michael J. K.

(Part II)

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Monday, January 30, 2012

We insist that the UN has more questions to answer than its Secretary-General will admit. When he poked African leaders to be soft on gay/lesbian/queer issues, Ban Ki-Moon was looking for dung where no cow grazed. He has no moral justification to pontificate. His own UN is guilty of wrongdoing and failing to function impartially. Here is the second aspect of its shortcomings.

The UN’s Political Improprieties

The UN has failed at the political level too. We know how the US and its allies treat states that they consider to be pariahs, North Korea being an obvious one. As a South Korean, Ba Ki-Moon must know more about the factors that have kept his country separated from North Korea and why the immense support given it by the US and its allies won’t help solve the problem but will continue to worsen the situation in the Korean Peninsula.

The Korean crisis cannot be resolved because of the one-sided approach that the US and its allies have adopted—putting pressure on North Korea (to abandon its nuclear programme, especially) while pampering South Korea and positioning it to threaten its neighbor.

The Armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 wasn’t a true peace treaty to ensure stability and re-unite the two Koreas, which suggests that any effort to resolve that crisis must be devoid of suspicion and mistrust (distrust) if it is to be accepted by both parties. But the situation is not so.

There is no indication that the UN is interested in helping these two countries re-unite for mutual benefits nor is it seriously interested in ensuring peace in that part of the world. Why will the UN work against the interests of the very powers that finance and handle it, anyway?

After all, for as long as the tension exists there, the better chances are that the US will continue to retain its military and strategic presence there as a way to peek into China, which it considers as its major threat on the global stage.

So, any talk of the Korean crisis being resolved soon is inconceivable. Resolving it means closing the door on the US which, in turn, means its losing that geopolitical peeking node. The US won’t allow its interests to be endangered that way. The Korean crisis, then, must continue to exist so it can remain close to China’s borders. The benefits of the sneak peek are too tempting to be sacrificed through a suicidal move for the reunification of the Koreas.

The question, then, is: If the UN could help bring down the iron curtain for the two rival German states to reunite, why isn’t it doing so for the two Koreas too? Or, what is it about the UN’s own political, strategic, and ideological interests that is hampering its peace-making efforts there?

We know that the circumstances surrounding the German case are far different from those straining the relations between the two Koreas. But what can’t the UN do to command respect and trust from both countries if it genuinely seeks an impartial resolution of the conflict?

The UN can’t do anything beyond issuing statements in support of threats against North Korea that periodically emanate from the corridors of power in the US and its European allies because it is nothing but an appendage of those systems.

Now, we see how Myanmar (Burma) is gradually easing itself into what the West sees as democracy for which the US has already fallen head-over-heels in love with its leaders and is re-establishing diplomatic ties with that country. The efforts being made to ease tension in that country can be extended to others too if the UN is indeed genuinely interested in helping solve crises dispassionately.

But it is not, having allowed itself to be manipulated and dictated to by its financiers and handlers. Such is the sad state of affairs, which makes the UN a laughing stock to serious observers of its manouevres all over the world.

We can infer from how Iran is rebuffing the UN’s approach to its nuclear programme that the world body’s credibility is on the line. It seems to be at the crossroads as far as its operations are concerned.

Against this background, the UN itself needs serious reforms to claw back credibility and goodwill. Until it does so, it will continue to be at the beck and call of those financiers and handlers to be manipulated to satisfy their self-serving agenda. In that vein, it risks becoming anachronistic. An organization that comes across as such will not be allowed to dictate to Africans how to live their lives.

There is no profit for Africans to derive from accepting practices that conflict with their socio-cultural norms but are promoted as the best ideals elsewhere, especially in the West. The West has already done much harm to Africa’s interests. Now, it is attacking the very bastion of the continent’s socio-cultural and moral integrity.

Africans know best what their moral precepts and injunctions are and should protect what best defines them. They don’t need a Ban Ki-Moon to ram anything down their throats and shouldn’t give him that elbow room. They do so at a greater risk to their very being and survival.

Ban Ki-Moon must know where to tread so he doesn’t add more worries to what is fast eroding his credibility. Africans will do better without his pontification on moral issues that don’t help them solve their existential problems. Africa needs better measures to solve its problems of under-development, not to encourage immorality at the highest level unimaginable.

As the National Geographic channel’s disclaimer to its programme (“Worlds Apart”) says, “Every society has its own standards for judging what is socially acceptable.” I wish the UN Secretary-General and all others thinking and behaving like him will take a cue from this disclaimer.

• E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.