October 24, 1945 –
The United Nations is founded in San Francisco as a very well-intentioned check against the excesses of failed states and colonial imperialism.
The Weimar Republic, left to its own devices, had swept Hitler’s Nazi Party into power with a mere quarter of the popular vote. The fanatical regime of Premier Tojo bowled over the moderates in Japan, bringing the military to power with its intent to enslave the surrounding region in the name of the Empire. This recipe left the world ripe for the inevitable collapse into total war.
The United Nations, we are told, must exist as a counterbalance against radicalism if we are to avoid repeating the horrors of the world wars or the threat of nuclear annihilation.
Fast forward several decades to a time when world war seems unthinkable and the threat of nuclear exchange has become a relic of the Cold War.
Right-wing and libertarian parties around the world are still reeling from the United Nations’ latest, if unsurprising, development.
While the United States underwent its much-debated and oh-so-public nomination and general election process for choosing a new President and Congress, the world’s largest government, a sort of government’s government, was choosing its own highest officer without the encumbrance of a vote of the people. Most people had no idea that their government’s government was picking the next world leader.
This process is not a perversion of the founding principles of the U.N. It is exactly as the United Nations Charter was built. The original five charter members are entitled by virtue of their role in founding the UN to sit permanently on the elite Security Council. The United States, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the Republic of France, and the People’s Republic of China preside over the decisions in which the U.N. wields power most freely.
And in the case of choosing the next General Secretary, the Security Council has the sole power to nominate candidates for consideration by the General Assembly. It is customary for the appointed ambassadors of the five permanent members to play the key role in choosing a candidate for Secretary General who will be confirmed with little to no question as the world’s highest ranking government leader.
The U.N. Security Council voted earlier this month to nominate Antonio Guterres for the office of Secretary General, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. The five-year term as Secretary General was expected by many to go to an eastern European, which would have been taken by many as a show of solidarity against Russian expansionist ambitions.
Instead, we see Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, which is reputed by many for being the most far-left of any first world country. He served for a time as President of the Socialist International, a sort of global association for leftist political parties around the world. The most recent office in which he served was the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which of course leaves him in the good graces of the many parties around the world with hesitations about bringing in refugees from the middle east.
But alas, we would not know where the United Nations wants to take us as a country. The ambassadors and academics gathered from around the world in lower Manhattan know better than we do, after all.