IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 17th Oct 2020
You don’t need to be better than anyone else, you just need to be better than you used to be.– Wayne Dyer
EDITORIAL HUNT #193 :“Platinum Jubilee of United Nations | UPSC”
Manjeev Singh Puri
Platinum Jubilee of United Nations | UPSC
Manjeev Singh Puri is Former Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations.
China’s rise and fall at the UN
It’s an opportune time for New Delhi to push for institutional changes and reformed multilateralism in the global system
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : 3 : United Nations : Multilateralism
Three defeats and a near defeat for China in elections to UN bodies post-COVID-19 will send a negative message as UN turns 75 this year. Discuss -(GS 2)
- UN at 75
- Chinese Fall at UN
- Chinese Strengths
- Institutional Reforms
- UN @ 75 : The United Nations turned 75 this year.
CHINA FALLS AT THE UN
- UN SEAT FOR COMMISSION OF WOMEN : The UN season, though, started on an auspicious note for India, with India besting China in the elections for a seat on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
- UN STATISTICAL COMMISSION SEAT : To add to China’s woes, soon after the CSW vote, it lost another election, this time to tiny Samoa for a seat on the UN Statistical Commission.
- UNHCR SEAT : China just about managed to get elected to the UN High Rights Council, coming fourth out of five contestants for four vacancies.
- WIPO SEAT : China’s candidate had lost to a Singaporean in the race for DG World Intellectual Property Organization.
- ONE ON ONE ELECTION : In 2011, India defeated China in a one-on-one election at the UN for a place on the Joint Inspection Unit.
- DOMINANCE : Taking advantage of its position as a member of the P-5 and as a huge aid giver, China made itself invincible in UN elections.
CHINESE HAVE CAPTURED TOP POSITIONS IN
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
- The International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
HOW DID CHINA RAISE TO TOP?
- MULTILATERALISM : It all began, as is the case with India and multilateralism, a century ago with World War I.
- LEAGUE OF NATIONS : India was one of the largest contributors of soldiers in the war against Germany and Turkey and became a founding member of the League of Nations even though it was a colony.
- INDIA AT UN : At the end of WWII, India participated in all the three UN conferences becoming a charter member of the UN even before Independence.
- PAKISTAN’s ENTRY AT UN : Pakistan, on the other hand, joined the UN in September 1947 on application.
- CHINESE OPPORTUNISM : China saw an opportunity in World War I to rid itself of German occupation from some of its territory and allied with the United Kingdom and France.
- TREATY OF VERSAILLES : Things, however, did not turn out well as the West sided with the Japanese and China refused to sign the Versailles Peace Treaty.
- A SYMPATHETIC CAUSE : The United States, though, was sympathetic to the Chinese cause, and a few years later helped reach a peace deal between China and Germany.
- SECOND WORLD WAR : World War II saw strong U.S.-China collaboration against the Japanese, including U.S. operations conducted from India.
AMERICA’S ‘FORGOTTEN ALLY’
- THE FORGOTTEN ALLY : These old trans-Pacific linkages of the U.S. and China, including the presence of a very large Chinese community on the west coast of the U.S., are not well known, especially in India.
- HEROES OF WORLD WAR TWO : WorldWar II, along with the real victors of World War II — the U.S., the USSR and the U.K. This number morphed into the P-5.
- UN CHARTER : With France being added to P-5 by the UK at the San Francisco conference held in 1945 where the UN charter was finalised.
- US MULTILATERALISM : The U.S. also thought that China would act as a bulwark against the USSR.But that was the Republic of China who soon routed on the mainland by the communists .
- BLINDFOLDED SCHEME : This is important as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) would have us believe that it was a founder of the UN.
- QUICK SHIFTS : Republic of China retained the UN seat of China till 1971 when it was expelled from the UN and the PRC admitted as a member giving it a de jure pole position at the UN.
- THE TWO PARALLELS : Multilateralism is under unprecedented stress fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic and a certain disenchantment with globalisation.
- GLOBAL HEGEMONY : At the root, of course, is the rise of China and its challenge to U.S. global hegemony.
- INSTITUTIONAL REORGANISATION : This demands institutional reform and not just engagement, Perhaps most important reforms in UNSC leverages the capabilities of the major players among both the developed and developing countries.
- PERMANENT SEAT : In this context, it is good that recently India, Germany, Japan and Brazil (G-4) have sought to refocus the UN on UNSC reform.
A WINDOW OPENS
- BACKGROUND : Earlier in the year, India was elected as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for a two-year term.
- GLOBAL COOPERATION : These are openings for India in coalescing the world in critical areas that require global cooperation especially climate change, pandemics and counter-terrorism.
- FUNDING IS IMPORTANT : India also needs to invest in the UN with increased financial contributions in line with its share of the world economy and by placing its people in key multilateral positions.
It is also an opportune moment for India and a Reformed Multilateralism.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Platinum Jubilee of United Nations | UPSC