Monday, June 2, 2008

Excerpt from "Chasing the Flame"

I just started reading Chasing the Flame. It's good so far, but I may be the target demographic - it is, after all about a career civil servant in the UN. Exactly my cuppa tea. Anyway, here's the best line so far, which is a quote from Sergio Vieira de Mello:
The UN is such a statist organization. If we played by UN rules, wouldn't have a clue what the people with power and guns were plotting.
This is from 1981, with regards to the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon at the time, and it's incredibly relevant today. One of the fundamental problems with the UN, it seems to me, is that it was built to prevent another WWII, a war which was not all about states, but was largely about states. The political necessity has changed and requires the UN (and nations in conflict in general) to move away from a simple nation vs nation understanding of conflict.

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