Segments in this Video

Introduction to Debate About United Nations (01:56)


Zeinab Badawi introduces the motion; the UN is terminally paralyzed and the democratic world needs its own forum. In favor are Radek Sikorski, Robert Kagan and Denis MacShane. Against are Shashi Tharoor, Jeremy Greenstock and Lord Malloch-Brown.

Radek Sikorski: Representation of International Governments (02:48)

Radek Sikorski, Poland's foreign minister, believes that the work of the United Nations is essential. He says that as a body it reflects the variety of worldwide political systems, but that democracy should not be taken for granted.

Shashi Tharoor: Benefits and Adaptability of Current UN Model (03:51)

Shashi Tharoor argues that the accomplishments of the United Nations are great and that it has proven itself extremely adaptable to changing times. He suggests that paralysis is in the minds of people who do not see the UN in action.

Robert Kagan: Globalized Democracy (03:06)

Historian and Commentator Robert Kagan discusses the possibility of an organization that will compliment the UN, to avoid deadlocks at Security Councils. He mentions the need for a forum that addresses the globalisation of democracy

Jeremy Greenstock: UN Members are Ineffective (03:41)

Former ambassador and diplomat Sir Jeremy Greenstock argues that it is the United Nation's members that are paralyzed, not the institution itself. He admits to certain UN failures but highlights that it is a global forum that can be built on.

Denis MacShane: Failure of UN (03:08)

Labour MP Denis MacShane argues that the United Nations is a hindrance to the promotion of democracy around the world and that it has failed as an international peace keeping body.

Lord Malloch-Brown: Individual Nations Inhibit the UN (03:28)

Lord Malloch-Brown explains that the existing body of the UN should not be taken for granted, and that democracy does not translate into the backing of human rights because national interests prevail.

Q&A:Is the United Nations Effective? (02:54)

Zeinab Badawi gives the results of the initial audience poll on the UN motion. Sir Jeremy Greenstock responds to a question about the ineffectiveness of the United Nations, specifically in relation to the conflict in Gaza and Israel

Q&A: Will a New U.S. President Strengthen the UN? (01:24)

Robert Kagan responds to a question about whether or not the Barack Obama administration will make the United Nations more forceful. Marc Malloch-Brown hopes the Obama represents a new chapter of American engagement.

Q&A: Right to Disagree (02:10)

Robert Kagan addresses the fundamental problem that all nations do not agree on important issues. Shashi Tharoor argues that a league of democracy would not fix this issue. Denis Macshane brings up UN Charter Article II in relation to Israel.

Q&A: Strengthening the Existing UN (00:54)

Radek Sikorski says the caucus of the community of democracies already works as a caucus in the United Nations and it should be strengthened. He argues that democracies are more peaceful that dictatorships.

Q&A: Role of the UN (02:21)

Radek Sikorski responds to an accusation that he is on the wrong side of the debate on whether or not the United Nations is terminally paralyzed. He says countries who hurt their own people should be shamed

Q&A: Are You Afraid of the Community of Democracies (02:24)

Robert Kagan has says th UN is paralyzed on some of the most important issues facing the world and the current configuration of power is incapable of fixing the problem. Lord Malloch-Brown discusses the key to success of world democracies.

Q&A: Future of the UN (01:48)

SIr Jeremy Greenstock says the UN is growing slowly in the right direction and should not be abandoned. Robert Kagan responds to Shashi Tharoor assertion that problems the UN can't solve will not be solved by a league of democracies.

Q&A: Addressing Global Tensions (01:38)

Denis Macshane responds to a question about whether or not a league of democracies would exacerbate global tensions rather than assuage them. Sir Jeremy Greenstock discusses whether or not the UN vito is the underlying problem.

Summation: Lord Malloch-Brown and Denis Machshane (02:42)

While audience members cast their second vote about the state of the United Nations, Lord Malloch-Brown and Denis Machshane make their final arguments on opposite sides of the debate over the UN's state of paralysis.

Summation: Sir Jeremy Greenstock and Robert Kagan (02:06)

While audience members cast their second vote about the state of the United Nations, Sir Jeremy Greenstock and Robert Kagan make their final arguments on opposite sides of the debate over the institution's state of paralysis.

Summation: Shashi Tharoor and Radek Sikorski (01:59)

Shashi Tharoor and Radek Sikorski make their final arguments on opposite side of the debate over whether or not the United Nations is terminally paralyzed.

Final Poll Results (01:35)

Debate chair Zeinab Badawi reminds the audience of the initial results of the poll before the debate and announces the results of the final vote.

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The United Nations Is Terminally Paralyzed: A Debate

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As a peacekeeper, the UN has had dubious results. It did nothing for Darfur. Its 17,000 blue helmets have failed to stop the violence in North Kivu. And it never reached a resolution on whether to intervene in Myanmar. Is the United Nations terminally paralyzed—and does the democratic world need a new forum of its own? That is the two-part question in this Oxford Union-style debate as panelists make their case. Speakers for the motion call attention to repeated deadlocks in the Security Council as an obstacle to resolutions on humanitarian crises and extol the potential benefits of a league of democracies; those against emphasize that the UN is the only universally acknowledged seat of collective legitimacy and justice and express concern over the potentially ostracizing and polarizing effects of a “club of democracies” in a world with cross-cultural problems. Questions from the floor follow. The final vote? Significantly against. BBC World News anchor Zeinab Badawi presides. (47 minutes)

Length: 47 minutes

Item#: BVL40530

ISBN: 978-1-61616-088-3

Copyright date: ©2009

Closed Captioned

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