Thursday, September 7, 2023


The UN looks nowadays like some former grand hotel in a Wes Anderson movie. There are more rooms than guests. Even the location fails to attract.

The grand idea has been killed by the onslaught of Russia's veto power which paralyzes the machinery. Only the specialized agencies continue to function, for now. The General Assembly has yet again shown its lack of grip on situations, as was demonstrated during the Ukraine debate.

The diminishing appeal of the larger gatherings model is unstoppable for now. Many leaders no longer show up or pay little attention to what's happening, and the public at large only retains limousine headaches. The routine has outdistanced the function.

Other large, often overstretched fora start to suffer, too, from an attention deficit. The G20 and the EU hardly move hearts and minds. Newer and more scrutinizingly focused models fare better, the BRICS being a good example. Washington's strategic pooling in Asia and its Five Eyes arrangement with the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand is another example of the new Anglosphere diplomacy.

NATO experiences a second lifespan but it remains shaky and totally unbalanced, given the shortcomings of many members and the usual French illusions.

The UN is for an unforeseeable time mostly a symbolic reminder of past times. The West should stay clear of hastening its demise by neglect.

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