Hans von Spaneck

Yesterday I went to a forum at the Vancouver library featuring former UN Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq, Hans von Sponeck. What a fascinating discussion. He talked mainly about the fallacies of the UN since the illegal war in Iraq and the reformation of the entity to come. In 2000, he resigned from the UN as a protest against the Oil for Food Programme. He has been a very important figure in the anti-American stance both in the UN and the war. His vision of the UN as an organisation of equality amongst all states was really an eye opener and got me thinking about UN issues and the time we currently find ourselves in. The UN is in a fundamental shift and will undoubtedly be shaped following its crisis since the war.

In an interview in 2000 on National Public Radio, John Bolton (the US Ambassador to the UN) told Juan Williams, “If I were redoing the Security Council today, I’d have one permanent member because that’s the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world.” … “And that one member would be, John Bolton?” Mr. Williams queried. “The United States,” Mr. Bolton replied. (New York Times, March 9, 2005)

Does anyone in the US government question why this uni-lateral fetish individual is the ambassador to the UN? What an insane time in international politics and American government. How strange to be living in an era that will one-day surely be regarded as a very dark period in the history of mankind.

One of the interesting things that I took from von Sponeck’s discussion was his comparison of the UN structure to the caste system in India. Talking specifically about the Security Council and the idea of delegating permanent and semi-permanent and rotating members and vetos, he emphasised the necessity of the UN to create a system of multi-lateral equality. It is rather astounding that the current inequity of the UN system continues.


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