tv Quadriga - Germany Joins the Security Council But Is the UN Broken Deutsche Welle January 10, 2019 6:30pm-7:00pm CET
i'd return to. to visit friends i don't think i'd ever go back there to live you know what i live there again i don't know so i'm not sure. bearing witness global news that matters. make for mines. following a very warm welcome indeed to the first edition of parker acre in twenty nineteen and it's the new year get some the way germany house alongside four other countries become a norm permanent member of the united nations security council now there are high expectations about what germany can achieve but two year stint on the council comes at a very difficult time with the devastating ongoing conflicts in both syria and in ukraine
the u.n. is also gravely divided chronically underfunded and my it in inefficiency not to mention the aggressive challenge posed by us president donald trump to the rules based international order on which the u.n. is built so a question here on quadriga this week is germany joins the security council but is the u.n. broken and to discuss that question i'm joined here in the studio by three astute observers and analysts beginning with gunter ploy. who was germany's ambassador to the u.n. between two thousand and two and two thousand and six he ses and increasingly interdependent world we need the un is the only organization that can find global solutions and set new international. goals and with us is crystal form marshall chief diplomatic correspondent for the berlin based daily targeted legal who argues that being nice is not enough for germany must show that it can exercise pressure to achieve its goals. and a very warm welcome to two hundred shallow senior correspondent with the reuters
news agency and traveling. is that the united nations has longstanding institutional problems that have been magnified by i don't trump some very confirms policies but she maintains it will survive. thank you all three for being here today on couric about to begin with you ambassador ploy who has you who you've served at the united nations for four years a couple of years ago just tell us what the mood is like at the united nations at the moment it seems that it's the worst that it's being for a long time well i think the united nations has always struggled with certain inefficiencies that emanate from its structure but it is certainly. been successful in many cases just to give you one example i remember when in two thousand and four the buy a lens broke out again in height the on
a sunday morning the president of the security council called the members and said we will have a meeting at four o'clock this afternoon by seven o'clock we had taken all the necessary decisions and by ten o'clock in the that day two airplanes with french and american soldiers airborne on their way to eighty so that's possible too but on the other hand right now of course the u.n. is in a particularly difficult position because not only because of trumps policy but because we trouble in practically all corners of the world and the un can solve these problems only was a corporation of the member states and without the member states corporation the u.n. is powerless let me just to come in on the on the through the challenge to the united nations if you so well posed by the us president donald trump andrea when he was
still president elect in two thousand and six he said when do you see the united nations solving problems they don't they cause problems do you agree. you know i think the united nations has. a problem in that if it isn't properly represented i mean look most of the countries of the world don't you know we only have five permanent members of the security council so there's been a lot of calls for that structure to be revamped to increase the representation if you don't if you have a body that purports to speak for the whole world but but there are many countries that are not represented that creates these kind of imbalances that we see and i say you know yeah i think the u.n. i would say is trying to solve problems but often unintentionally and use an exaggeration of magnifies the problems that are going to sit at the united nations how does he make any for the problems whether this of offending offending for operations is very heavily weighted to the united states when the united states pulls out its funding of programs like the u.n. d.p.
or the. organization what happens is that those imbalances become much more evident so he sort of you know you see basically the you know unilateral actions that the united nations is taking and the rejection of the u.n. structures are in fact kind of you know revealing these problems that have been there all along. christopher marshall you are one of those who say that the united nations is a good idea in principle but the reality is something completely different tell us about that troubling reality well the united nations con be more democratic and more rules based than its member states are and c majority of member states are dictatorships or at least authoritarian regimes democracies and the states of law are in the minority and that of course limits the possibilities of the united nations to be what they are supposed to be which is somehow the government or of a rules based welt order and this is
a special challenge to germany germany is used to put to him. in point on diplomatic. on diplomatic solutions and also being nice and talking people into solutions and if we have partners which just don't agree on that and say well if you block a certain solution it's much better for us than germany is not up to the task and that's i think what germany has to do now it has to show that it's not only able to be nice but also to apply pressure it's the fourth biggest economic country however the world so we have a lot of pressure even without taking military action we can put pressure on member states and we should do that and unfortunately the first what the federal government said and so now as he sees a role in the security council doesn't point into that direction it's more of being nice again what needs to change well our foreign minister for example that he want
to put the focus on climate change on the role of women in conflict and on diplomatic preemption of conflict that is all nice and fair but it's not enough means a real big problem how do we deal with ukrainian law or crisis how do we deal with china's behavior in the chinese cease putting pressure how do we deal with huge humanitarian crisis and civil unrest in yemen in sudan wherever you look and that you can't just solve by talking nicely and trying to persuade the bill do worse to behave a little bit better you have to put pressure on those regimes and you have to stand up against china and russia in a certain way and i don't see that willingness until now in the german to more diplomacy and i think have to go to follow up that we have to make sure that the trial is being recognized and and we do speak
out if things are going wrong for example. remember as iran. agreement that was an agreement worked out by five member states and it was adopted by the security council by a unanimous vote so at that time it became international law because a decision of the security council and the article twenty five of the trial is binding not all member states that means it has become international law now you can or you can this draw from the treaty but you cannot withdraw all from international law and we have to make this sure that it is known all over and also in the security council ok never heard about this going to you can well i was just going to say you know germany keeps saying it wants to play a bigger role in the world and you know there's deep skepticism about whether it
will ever make that promise. true because it keeps saying these things you know since two thousand and fourteen at the munich security conference we've heard the same mantra over and over again we're hearing it now from heiko moscow and the question is how exactly does germany plan to do that and so i was just you know struck the skepticism is present not just internationally but here in germany as well and what has to probably happen is that there has to be a title shift in terms of education of the german public because one of the biggest barriers to germany. you know being more powerful is that it doesn't carry a big stick so it has economic might but it won't engage in military action that it won't do that because of massive political resistance in germany but the times are changing ok we'll talk about that point you just a minute but first of all christopher christopher from marshall what. to what
extent does the veto power of the p five of the hearts of many of the problems that face the you know it's a patience of the security can. so you know of course that is a very. powerful measure which they can take and of course i would say when i when i advocated for germany putting pressure also on china or on russia that would mean that we can overcome the beach of china or four of russia but we can feel let them feel the consequences for the time being russia for example just made it impossible to talk about your current crisis in the security council in the un should we agree to that should we just let it happen say oh well we can't do anything about it we could also tell them you know we have a lot of economic possibilities what to do with you if you don't agree that at least we can discuss these problems with you and these steps should be taken i also have no illusions that china will change its behavior in the seas or when it comes
to trade politics or whatever but we can let them pay a certain price if sea misbehave at this willingness has to emerge so it's not only about the military stick it's also about using or economic power as the economic power stick and for the time being in germany is a normal reaction as well you know we don't want to let that business go it's much better to play nice with china or to have our energy contracts with russia and we never seriously talk about that because change this kind of politics ok let's stay on the veto because the last you saw the greatest number of vetoes in the security council since nine hundred eighty nine mostly over syria the impact as we see now has been tragic. the images that shocked the world victims of an alleged chemical attack on duma need to mask as many of them children . and the international community for them must get used to power in the un
security council to defend science regime against western interests. sanctions investigations cease fire agreements all blocked in the russian ukrainian dispute over the status of the crimean peninsula as well the u.n. could offer a little more than symbolic support. as feared russia and the u.s. stopped any productive resolution from getting underway. the u.s. has also made active use of its vetoing privileges to towards the end of twenty seventeen it blocked a resolution criticizing trump's decision to recognize jerusalem as israel's capital now and the american embassy is moving from tel aviv to jerusalem. what good is the security council with the telling power. deployed there is the security council being reduced to a blocking shop. to a certain extent yes because of the vetoes of the five. members who have
a vital veto and whenever their interests are involved you know they tend to to block a decision but on the other hand i think we should not discuss whether we could have wallace a veto because that's not possible because the veto cannot be removed unless you have a change of the trotta and a trained of the top needs a two thirds majority in the general assembly that means that the security council is frozen in time it's frozen right back to the end of the second world war it was stuck there forever in the us the problem is that the train drove the trotta removing the veto all would require the the as the consent of the p five that's put in the shadows so it's in vain to discuss whether we could abolish the veto but what we can do in there i agree is christopher we can put pressure and by
good arguments. you mentioned already the case of ukraine i mean the situation there is that the two agreements that have been worked out in the. in minsk have been made into a national goal by a unanimous decision of the security council now. why not send a un mission including the p five in threat presented to the of the p five to ukraine to the ukraine as a whole not just to the west and ukraine and if we for example would suggest that. the russians might veto that but if they do that they would prevent the implementation of their own decisions in the security council and thereby lose a lot of credibility so this is a. kind of saying how we could put pressure on the security council to take of
reason the before fission international do you want what perspective do you see from broadening the representative nature of the security council well i you know i think that there there is a possibility of some kind of a race that we have you know any time that there's a change in the structure of the security council you have an opportunity for a new conversations we have a u.s. president that is going to be increasingly limited by the democratic majority in the house he's facing a lot of pressure at home china is facing economic pressure russia's facing economic pressure the pressures on those permanent security council members are increasing outside of even what can be done diplomatically just economically and that will create a different environment it creates opportunities and i agree i think germany could play a really good and positive and constructive role if it stands up and really speaks
with one voice germany's had a very dysfunctional couple of years elections governments infighting perhaps too that will change now with new leadership at the scene. i will leave it skeptical because it's not only a question of the political leadership it's also a question of the public debate in germany and at the moment still this public debate is very much dominated by all these happy talking ideas about pacifism about playing nice and we don't have a real open debate that sebald is a dangerous place that you should have said you have national interest that you should also admit that you have a national interest and that every country is fighting for its national interest and we should do so and we should also have no illusions about european unity in some cases we have european if you know others not so we have to to play in this play box and we have to analyze very. sorely where we can achieve
alliances and where we condoms and we have to go for it and we should also not be afraid to talk about see dysfunctionality of see united nations where it is dysfunctional and not being afraid that somehow destroy see the whole idea in germany we have been too idealistic picture of the united nations as if this would be swell to government and the representation of a rule of law all over the world and then we have had instances like libya being at the head of the human rights council and we had tehran being at the head of the women's rights council and and now we have young men the head of c denuclearization councils these are examples where you see it's absolutely ridiculous but it's sometimes ridiculous and that we should admit and on the other hand we should try to use the united nations where it can be constructive and we have to do something in order to make it more constructive than think we have
a good chance to do this in the coming two years in the security council because as you know we will soon have a. treaty number two with france and that means that we can draw on our hands with france in the security council and in the un in general to push things ahead and i think i can say from my own experience when i was best at it was the united nations in two thousand and three in the security council the then french ambassador myself we've made a promise to go together in every case nobody would go without nobody would do anything against the other and we would always take joint action and this that has of course a certain effect because. it makes it easier to. get the majority of nine votes
in the security council to come to a decision and it is also then together was france easier to get a blocking minority of first seven votes so that the other side cannot get the nine votes necessary for a decision so i think there is a good chance in these two years we will make our influence felt together as friends ok thank you for those optimistic observations the un currently has fourteen peacekeeping operations in crisis regions mostly it's about maintaining a tenuous peace between two or more conflict parties here are just two examples of the challenges that the blue helmets face. part of the un peacekeeping missions are in africa one is in mali fifteen thousand u.n. soldiers and civilian workers including several german aides are there to support the twenty thirteen peace agreement between the government and rebels since then war hasn't officially broken out but violence hasn't ended. terrorist
attacks still occur the u.n. mission to mali and the new smart is one of the most deadly so far over one hundred u.n. personnel have been killed and the u.n. observer mission on dauphine the golan heights was long considered a quiet job. that is until the syrian civil war erupted suddenly the buffer zone between israel and syria was swarming with rebels terrorists and the syrian army. the u.n. had to retreat now israel has raised concerns that a rainy and troops could encroach upon their defense line. are the blue helmets fighting a losing battle. a losing battle how good is the the un peacekeeping. well you know it has some successes and i think that you could argue that without the u.n.
peacekeeping efforts there would be more violence so even if it doesn't necessarily lead to peace it prevents further outbreaks of violence and the situation in mali could be a whole lot worse and for that matter so is this you know the situation throughout the middle east without the presence of the u.n. peacekeepers and you know i think they can they can play a constructive role. it's not a panacea it's not a band-aid when you talk about mali and we talk about germany's role in general of the united nations on peacekeeping missions and i'm interested to come back to the point of both of you mentioned the legacy of germany from the second world war that it is still largely a country that has a pacifist streak very sort of central to german society and german politics is germany going to have to overcome that process history consider is germany going to have to shed that legacy it has to overcome it does it has to show its legacy in the sense that we shouldn't think about it and keep it in mind of course we should
keep it in mind it's a responsibility but it's not their responsibility not to act it's a responsibility to act in order to find solutions and such cases like in mali is that even suggested peacekeeping troops are only very limited functions that they don't want to do anything which is connected with the risk that the other one has to do as that is not the right solution and but i have my doubts that this whole german society is really so peaceful it's often a set that is a belief in the political class that this is a real you can't overcome if you're talking to german citizens all over the country and i'm doing that quite often they are very realistic and they understand that of course it's not the role they are looking for to have more trouble for german peacekeepers but the understands that we can't plays a special role where different rules apply to the germans and to all of the nations and that is just an excuse to have a more well not so difficult job and as this international concert. well i i
agree that there is a certain difficulty in public a bit opinion on how damn and he should engage in military action abroad but i think if it comes to peacekeeping operations this has nothing to do with enlarging the german influence and some other parts of the world it is i think a measure to bring more peace and to bring more justice to certain areas in the world that otherwise it can't be done and the last point the united nations that is often criticized as being inefficient can only act if the member states are willing to makes a contribution without that nothing will work and therefore i think it is absolutely necessary that the big country like germany that is the second largest donor of resources for human environment for development etc in the international context
and the force largest contributor to the cause of the united nations that we should engage if necessary also in military action to secure peace or to reestablish peace and security in other countries. ok we're running out of time slowly but surely and i'd like to get from each of you a proposal for the best way to move forward at the united nations a package of reform for the united nations that germany could push christopher mucha not an unrealistic wish list so we don't talk about reforming the security council but what germany could do is trying to be more active in building alliances of countries which subscribe to the multilateral and later list and what would also give more support and financial support and political support to the united nations solutions. i agree i think you leverage those
areas where there are common interests whether it's climate change whether it's opposition to president trump whether it's you know anywhere you can get common interests together leverage that to get those blocking minorities and to get those votes together to move for a change and a more brazen. but i think what else the biggest problems for. decision making in the security council is to p. five if he told. that the veto cannot be removed. we could perhaps do something that makes it easier to take the necessary decisions. and i think. the try to convince people not to made from p. five. any cases full cross violations of human rights and the second. and.
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