I sat there mesmerized. Here is a man, Mr T.P. Srinivasan, who breathes UN in every breath. I think every little memory, every little incident has been permanently etched in this amazing mind. He has the capability to look at UN critically from India’s point of view, philosophically as a Global citizen and even though he is tree in the UN forest, is able to separate forest from trees. I would love to read his book “Words, Words, Words”. He got me interested in world bodies and their dynamics immensely. Previously the talk of UN, IMF, G20 would bring out a yawn. Not any more.
I learned a lot more about UN in less than an hour, than I ever knew. It came from an eminent Indian who was part of UN for over 20 years of his life. It will be great to get 193 (the number of nations in UN now) views and look at them in a philosophical manner.
There is no way I can capture the breadth, depth and spirit of his speech. Here are the snippets as I rapidly tried to keep track a flowing river of knowledge
- Goal of UN was to rid the world of scourges of war. Yet, after UN was formed there were more than 800 wars. So UN really did not do what it set out to do. However, they argue that they stopped the Third World War. Only history can prove that.
- We need UN. It is the only truly global organization to look at world problems. It started with 52 nations. But now it has 193 nations.
- The participating nations feel that it is a symbol of sovereignty. We need that.
- How does India look at UN? Taking Kashmir to UN was one of the biggest mistakes. Since its initial idealistic model of UN, India has reset its expectations of this world body
- Centers of power in the world are changing. The current permanent members have to rethink their position
- US pays 22% of UN expenses while India pays only 0.4%. So we cannot justify being members based on our financial contributions. However, India’s contribution to UN has been enormous. It has been part of (almost) every peace keeping force UN has ever formed
- On the future of UN - Unless the power structure of UN changes, UN will not be relevant in future
One warning, though. You need to apply a bias filter. These observations are from an Indian ambassador to UN. No single country can really be objective about UN or other global organizations. I wonder whether there are any true global citizens.