“…This game can of course be played for a long time. However, the best way to protect minority rights is actually through strengthening the rule of law and strengthening the institutions that promote it.
This is precisely what most institutions of global governance are designed to do. The time has come for the West to work on strengthening, rather than weakening, these institutions. I hope that we will soon see a major debate in Western capitals on the rapidly diminishing wisdom of sticking with the old policies.
The West should not underestimate the value of the trust that the UN enjoys in the hearts and minds of the rest of the world’s population. But the UN can retain this trust only if it is clearly perceived to be serving global, not just Western, interests.
When I visited Beijing in May 2012, I got a firsthand experience of the value of this trust. For many years, the West had been trying to persuade China to pay more attention to its environment and to adopt sustainable development.
Predictably, China reacted with a great deal of suspicion to this unsolicited Western advice. It was seen to be a clever, but transparent maneuver by the West to derail or slow down China’s economic development.
A Chinese policymaker told me that China finally accepted the policy advice when it was given to them by an independent UN agency, the UNDP. No wonder then that, when the Chinese government finally decided to organize a global seminar to address this issue, its partner of choice was the UNDP.
Trust is an essential commodity as we go about restructuring the global system to handle new global challenges. We should try to retain as much as possible all the trust that the UN has accumulated in our world.
One very direct policy consequence of all this is that the time has come for the United States to terminate its zero-budget policies and to invest in the UN constructively.”