Friday, November 19, 2004



How to encourage widespread security is the subject of a report that the S-G of the UN has requested.

On December 1st, he will receive a report by a high-level panel on collective security in the face of the new global threats. It is a report that may help in deciding the organisation's fate.

The principle at stake is whether the world accepts that its armed actions should be governed by commonly agreed rules of international law. Strobe Talbott, a deputy secretary of state under Bill Clinton [and panel nominee], cynically notes the alternative: "The sheer pre-eminence of American power could, in itself, be the ordering and taming principle of a disorderly and dangerous world."

Delegates at this summer's Republican convention erupted in deafening applause when Dick Cheney, the vice-president, said that Mr Bush would "never seek a permission slip to defend the American people".

This last attitude may well be common in all five of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Nevertheless only one such official attitude would collapse the UN system, and globalisation; the world might then fracture into security zones, each with its own military and central banking system. There would of course be a knock-on effect for the G8.

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