tv Inside Story 2017 Ep 260 Al Jazeera September 19, 2017 2:32pm-3:01pm AST
today extending our mandate by six months to september two thousand and eighteen donald trump is due to make his first speech to the u.n. general assembly in just a few hours time he made his debut at the u.n. on monday warning the world body isn't living up to its potential the u.s. president blamed bureaucracy and mismanagement but also promised to help reforms an airstrike has hit a hospital in the syrian province of it libya three hospitals were targeted within an hour civilians and emergency workers were killed. islanders in the caribbean a face in the fury of a category five hurricane for the second time in a month hurrican maria has regained strength and is on track to be the strongest storm in puerto rico for p.t. five years the u.s. territory is preparing for a direct hit the island of dominique has already felt the full force of two hundred fifty five kilometers an hour winds soldiers instant martin are handing out aid to islanders with little access to food or water the other band teacher is also in the
path of hurricane maria more news on the web site al jazeera dot com i'll see you very soon up next it's inside story. world leaders are at the united nations this week on the agenda north korea syria and the range of crisis but as they champion peace and security across the globe what can they actually achieve is the u.n. still a relevant organization this is inside story. hello
and welcome to the program with me today peter davi not once again the international community is getting together to discuss combating global conflicts and humanitarian crises in places like me and mom but as the seventy second united nations general assembly gets underway in new york this week some question the goals of the one hundred ninety three member states and if the u.n. is still a force for global good well that's our guest in a moment but first let's hear from our washington editor james bays at u.n. headquarters and a development every year when world leaders gather in new york in september they listen carefully to the words of the most powerful person on earth but for the first time since the u.n. was created at the end of the second world war the u.s. president will address them from this podium is someone who at times has appeared
to question the multilateral order the united nations represents. diplomats are wary of what president trump will say in his nine months in office he's already attended nato g. seven and g. twenty summits on the global stage he's appeared at times uncertain his actions unpredictable donald trump does not perform well a big international summits when he attended a nato summit he actually managed to physically push another leader out of the way and his advisors must hope that he will be back here because this is his last chance to really convince other world leaders that he is someone they can do business with and that is not just a nativist who wants the u.n. over to china as usual global leaders face a whole host of challenges among them an ongoing humanitarian emergency with the exodus of the rohingya in myanmar then there's the wars in syria in iraq
yemen and libya as well as the future of the iran nuclear deal but this year at the top of the agenda another nuclear state north korea it is a particularly pressing issue because of the provocative timing of the latest missile test which took place just days ago the number of launches the number of tests is much greater even in this year than it's been over the last decades so this is a very immediate very immediate question and yes i think it will be the top question here in this week at the u.n. this is not just the first general assembly week for the new u.s. president and tony terrorists became u.n. secretary general at the start of the year he plans a program of modernization and streamlining president trump is also planning to hold a meeting on u.n. reform but some diplomats fear that may simply be an attempt to further slash the organizations budget. zira at the united nations.
let's bring in our guests joining us from new york is sally or shetty the secretary general of amnesty international from oxford the author douglas johnson and here in doha in the studio marc fastest and professor of politics and international relations at the doha institute welcome to you all douglas johnson in oxford what was the united nations set up to do all those years ago. will serve to regulate interstate relations to try to promote. negotiations and. avoid into international tensions it was really set up for international or interstate relations rather than for internal political issues of the sort that it's now being asked to do so here shetty from amnesty is it managing still to do
what it's supposed to do. i didn't start to think that the security council which is the most powerful body in the united nations itself is deeply divided on every single issue we have to remember that the united nations is only as strong as its strongest members and allow it to be we know that president jiang. dispensation don't like the u.n. so much so that's a struggle but even leaving aside the chump phenomenon if you look at the un security council. every time there is a vote which is very serious which effects would be fined the bum and five members using the veto indiscriminately so one of the things that amnesty international is really pushing for is that in situations of crimes against humanity like in the case of the rohingya situation now that the bombing in five members should voluntarily not us that we don't because this is one of the additional five anything to do this israel the u.s. we do is anything to do it then allies russia and china so this is a big part of the problem month here in doha what led to the division well i think
it's part of the nature of the system but i'm still actually somewhat a proponent proponent of it if you think about it after the second world war the u.n. was in century set up to avoid a third world war if you want and so the three five major powers or maybe more and someday they need to have these veto powers i think to avoid that and i think of course it is true what our previous guests have said that the united states the other superpowers have run roughshod over the u.n. and of the security council thomas friedman once said he would use the u.n. when it's in our interest and ignore it when it's not our interest use it as an amplifier of u.s. power and that's not of course the right way to use it but you need i think if you look at the conflicts we have today whether it be in syria libya north korea etc you need these super powers to come to the table and to have the veto power of in so that you don't have a world war so to speak but you don't have unilateral action unilateral intervention in conflicts not intervention in other states i think is still i think
a sad. thank principal and it's not just the current administration it's prior demonstrations bear in mind who have violated that time and again douglas johnson in oxford i mean the reality is that some people around the world presidents and prime ministers i assume here they think they can act with impunity in their own country and get away with it of course and that in itself is a problem surely for the un because you then end up in a situation say such as we had in bosnia in the mid ninety's where the un is under incredible amounts of pressure with its people on the ground and they need that all the resolution otherwise it's mission creep and their people begin to suffer. well i think it's absolutely true that. national leaders around the world can act with impunity there are very few cases where they where the un has been in bringing anybody to book for crimes of humanity or even beginning to stop them in the areas where there has been international intervention to stop crimes against
humanity it's been usually other organizations other bodies such as nato or to a certain extent in north east africa. that have been the major players in bringing about any sort of change to internal politics and so set in new york is the system that the un adheres to of resolution followed by resolution followed by resolution inherently flawed because to get a resolution being signed off we've just seen it with north korea it has to be so watered down as to not please all the people all the time. oh absolutely and you know we're talking more micro sort of big picture things which are which obviously a very important and at that level i mean it is also very ironic that you know the five permanent security council members who are supposed to maintain peace are also amongst the biggest producers and traders so we now have a u.n.
arms trade treaty which amnesty international campaign for decades to get and some of the key members of the security council are not part of that process you know how do you make sure that human rights violations crimes against humanity stop if you have a free flow of arms going to the hands of those who like to give yemen i mean you have saudi arabia and the coalition they're abusing massively human rights and there is no regulation of the arms reaching the hands but i've just come back from lima i just landed in new york this morning and then at the local level indigenous people are being attacked by companies by and the government does nothing about it so what does the united nations mean for that woman indigenous persons leader who's fighting for territory fighting for her rights very little i'm a very strong supporter of the u.n. and the need for dialogue but absolutely you know signing more and more resolutions which i never implemented cannot be the solution more course the difference between
resolution followed by resolution not working properly depending upon whatever national interests the people passed in the resolution big to bring to the big round table and an abdication of responsibility i still maintain i mean i agree with the guests before you can the u.n. can only be is as effective as its members at the end of the genesis as the major members united states russia china etc so actually the fact i think that the chinese president and president putin won't attend which is because president trump a president's speech is a bad sign you want to have dialogue at that highest level and resolutions in and of themselves especially the only ones that. some key for security council resolutions and they you know have the prerequisite of a consensus of the major powers so you need that dialogue at the highest level for the un to work in any way form or shape as to solving all the problems of this world you know that is a difficult thing to do i mean you're one man's freedom fighters and the other man's terrorist right so again if these conflicts are allowed to fester in
a way which is not regulated by the un then i think you have a danger of a greater conflict coming and that essentially is the purpose of the u.n. to limit the kind of contagion of these conflict taking that point on a little further douglas in oxford as the time to come if this is a step change for the u.n. given what donald trump's attitude to the u.n. is if nikki haley his ambassador has been saying has the time come for the u.n. to actively anticipates big problems around the world and react accordingly instead of letting it get to the stage where there's mass migration there's a mass refugee movement people are being killed well i don't see how the u.n. can anticipate. problems of that sort because it doesn't have the power to intervene i mean even if you don't have the legislative power or the more power to intervene they don't have the capability to intervene to stop. crimes
against humanity the only thing that they can really intervening is if you have a natural disaster or a famine or. something like that where they ate agencies the u.n. has put food program you know your you know unicef and others might be able to. coordinate with other n.g.o.s and other relief agencies to bring in some sort of relief quite quickly but they can't do it if the host government who is a member state refuses to cooperate so i'm i don't see that the un is in a position to try to anticipate problems or to try to stop them before they ask ali and not here and when the u.n. was launched all those years ago clearly it's starting point was we want to get to an end point which is an end to this crisis as that now shifted into we will go
with a process which is just managing the crisis instead of shouting aloud look we need help where the guy is our nato or a european rapid defense force is there is there a lack of a connects here between those people at the un security council in new york the five permanent members and the people who would stop a crisis happening who would solve it once it had happened. well the what we've seen the passes at the u.n. again has been used by the u.s. as a fig leaf if you want but if that didn't work like in iraq as was the case maybe to some degree in syria and libya even to some degree then nato really as your previous guest said were the real fighting force in the end they filled the void and the un was kind of ignored whatever the resolution may have been so but at the same time if you don't have the u.n.
as a framework then right will be might and then you know you will have a very dangerous situation which we're seeing now in north korea and other conflicts which might escalate so yes it's true that the u.n. doesn't except for chapter seven in the security council have has any real you know force of an forcible executive power but at the same time i don't think that one should you know cast by the wayside and i think that the current rhetoric we're hearing in washington towards the u.n. is a very precarious one so here in new york when we hear the relatively new u.s. ambassador to the u.n. nikki haley saying look we want you to work small not and to quote we are taking names it's not actually something that maybe the u.n. should be told if only just to shake them up a little bit and say look you are accountable you have a duty of care and you're not doing it properly. i'm completely in support of what
the master nikki haley's points out about you know sharpening the u.n. making it more efficient the problem is that nobody really trusts the current u.s. government that you know when nikki haley speaks we're not sure who she is even speaking for but the underlying issue for them seems to be reducing the costs which is fine we need to get the u.n. to become more efficient but cutting back on crucial peacekeeping operations is not going to be the answer to the problems that trying to identify sufficiency is yes but cutting back crucial peacekeeping operations no but just to go back to the previous point you know i actually think that the u.n. does have a very key role in anticipating and preventing crises and conflicts because every single major crisis even the ones we're dealing with now where there's a rowing issue the syrian issue yemen all of these there's very clear early warning signals and the early warning signals are human rights violations and the u.n. should detected and escalated and make
a noise much before we get to this point to syria now it has become such an intractable situation when a surge started attacking the peaceful protesters in aleppo there was a possibility of solving it at that time so i think we should understand that the u.n. has a very crucial role to escalate and there's a real crisis of ethical leadership in the world so i always have been saying that the u.n. has to play that role of the ethically i was at the g twenty in hamburg you look at the twenty faces around the table you know john bolton. and then you know why the situation when it comes to human rights in the world dogs johnson in oxford let's just pick up that idea of how ethical the u.n. is this idea of the five permanent members having the power of veto how do you stop them using the power of veto as a shield because they in effect want to safeguard their own national. that's a very good question and you have to remember that the the five permanent members
were the victorious allies in the second world war and they had only really a temporary. common goal at that time and of course with the change of government in china you have you have. taiwan was for a long time representing china mainland china has changed so i don't. i'm not sure you can really think of the security council reforming itself because those countries are there to protect their own interest for a while you know you have the majority of them having very similar interests but that is not the case now and as we've seen with the. sure or should i say the heating up of a new cold war or freezing of relations between the main western powers and russia
and you come back to the sort of stalemate that you used to have during the height of the cold war so i don't think that you're going to find any sort of real change in the security council. i think that the real cost ability of some sort of difference that the u.n. can make is through the relief agencies or the agencies that are i mean. you know it's not a relief agency it's there to improve. recall should throughout the world it's these sorts of agencies that might make a real difference in. preventing humanitarian disasters or containing them in the future so this is in part about relevance and about transparency. here in the studio the process that got the job given to terrorists
was undoubtedly more transparent he was basically interview but picking up on a point that kofi annan has made he's basically said the next u.n. secretary general should be a woman. well yeah but i think the real problem with the jet secretary general again his his purview or his is remick is very limited and he's still very much beholden to the superpowers i mean what can kofi annan what can detect as anybody do without the green light of washington moscow and beijing so i you know whether it's a woman or a man might have been good right but i don't think it would have really changed fundamentally and i think attenders has also on his agenda issues such as women's rights etc so i don't think necessarily gender is as important as the actual power of these positions so new york is just awful flame when you talk to people at the other end of your journey do they still think the u.n. is relevant to them. i mean this is the pile of docs rights for the poorest people
in the world for the you know the untouchables in india for the indigenous people for women you mention women. u.n. offers media hope i'm feeling a country which is led by a repressive dictator i mean of course these days we don't have only an elected dictators we also have elected dictators if you're in one of those countries the un offers just about the only hope you have so so i mean i am absolutely in favor of there being something which is supranational i think a key challenge is also for the international u.n. bodies to work wary much in sync with the regional bodies and we've had some important successes like for example the gambia which is a small country in west africa we've had a completely peaceful change of regime a course which is the west african member states work with the u.n. system and you have a brilliant outcome of a positive outcome so i think it's you know i think there's a lot of expectation from the u.n. and i think you know having women leaders in key positions is important it's not
you know just symbolism so i think it was a missed opportunity and i do hope the u.n. can get a woman sector jan the next time around douglas johnson in oxford it seems to me that the u.n. is going to be pulled in many different directions over the coming five to ten years is it relevant today will it be relevant in say five years from now. well it's always been pulled in different directions i think that it is relevant today despite the criticisms that i've made another people have made there are places in which it makes a real difference but it has to makes a difference in places for instance if you look at what happened with the un mission in sudan at the end of the civil war in two thousand and five it was very important to have a peacekeeping mission in sudan in south sudan in that transitional period in that interim period but that was possible because both sides in that conflict consented to were willing to have
a will and it willing to have it there even though they may have had some disagreements or problems with the unit u.n. mission but it was something that eventually when you do have an internal conflict about sort if both sides are get to the point where they really need a way out of their own. inability to do to bring their own conflict to an end that is for an international body like the u.n. is useful and where it can organize or be an umbrella for. other governments to become the main mediators and give that support so there is a role for it and there is a role for it not only in conflict situations but in other areas where there are natural working monitoring disasters but i don't think that we should have. very high hopes that it's really going to fulfill the original. purpose of the u.n.
of course there hasn't been a third world war and we hope there won't be another one but it's possible i mean i think that the reasons i don't think that we can think of the u.n. is as a transformative body it is important as a talking shop and it does have these other functions where it can be brought in and make some difference let's give the last point to mark ok it is not. a dead documents it's a living document the u.n. by definition how does it stay relevant what does have to do to make that happen i think first of all this be a taking of stock as was said of why it was established to be the overarching goal again to throw venter third world war and actually inching towards major conflict with russia with this new cold war which is concocted to some degree in north korea and in syria and other theaters and so on that front are taking stock in
a remembrance of the notion of interdependence of the nations which president kennedy and others spoke about a lot in the sixty's should be top on the street top the agenda then i think there might be thoughtful consideration of adding further countries to the security council has been discussed before india as the balance of powers have shifted in the world but fundamentally i think it is still is the prime arena for dialogue and for actually adhering to the fundamental principles of international relations and violating them in public too if you want to do that in certain cases but i think for that i would i would really dreaded the situation in which there would be no un for discussion and let us hope that president putin them trump and china and everybody else comes to their senses and forestalls a third world war and recognizes the common interest indeed they have on all these major issues despite all that's being said about national interests their major common interests and all these issues. a positive note to end discussion on today
thanks to all our guests douglas johnson and thank you to you too for watching you can see the program again any time via the website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion go to our facebook page facebook dot com forward slash inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter handle at a.j. inside story or tweet me i'll switch back i'm at peta don't be one for me and everyone on the team here in doha thanks for watching we'll see you soon.
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