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Senator Percy. Finally, a four-point question for my friend, Mr. Buckley.
Do you feel, first, that the United Nations should play a role in restraining trade in armaments, and we are certainly the largest arms supplier in the world.
Second, do you trust the process of détente?
Third, do you believe there should be any change in the law providing for public members as well as Members of Congress to serve in the U.S. delegation?
And, fourth, would you care to comment on a Reagan-Wallace ticket in 1976? [Laughter.]
Mr. BUCKLEY. Well, to answer the question in the order in which you put them I think
Senator PERCY. You can reverse the order if you want.
U.N. ARMS CONTROL ROLE
Mr. BUCKLEY. I think that the U.N. would find it difficult, extremely difficult, to take an aggressive role in the matter of restraining the direction of arms because it would be too likely interpreted as encroachments on the sovereignty of the individual members. As Professor Dallin has pointed out, the assertion, discovery of nationalism, is one of the great dynamic discoveries of this generation and to suggest by U.N. that a particular country can't buy tanks is something which I think he would find it very difficult to get the U.N. to accept.
ATTITUDE TOWARD DÉTENTE Do I have a confidence in détente? The answer is negative. Do I believe that there ought to be reform in respect of the public members? Yes, for the reasons I gave.
I think that the United Nations would be better off and the United States would be better off to encourage the detachment as I put it, of the idealistic agencies from the formal diplomatic agencies so that they could continue to pursue their goals, the maximization of human freedom most promptly among them, without reference to détente which is a diplomatic as distinguished from idealistic goals.
As regards your proposal for a ticket, it seems to me that the anxiety to co-opt Mr. Wallace would probably be one by the Democrats and I wouldn't be surprised, having observed the traffic of pilgrims from Washington, D.C., to Alabama, that a bill has been introduced providing for rapid transit.
Senator PERCY. Maybe I could propose a choice, a Buckley-Buckley ticket.
SHOULD UNITED STATES PARTICIPATION ACT BE CHANGED ?
Finally, do you think there should be any change in the provision in the law requiring two Members of Congress and three public members on the Delegation?
Mr. BUCKLEY. Senator, I really think it makes not much difference. I don't like to disparage any public member, myself included. Mostly I think we are automatons and if the proposition before the House is,
do two Congressmen do less damage to Americans spending their time in New York than in Washington, I would say the question is moot.
Senator Case. That can be turned against the writing profession, too.
The CHAIRMAN. May I say just this with reference to that question, Senator. I understand there is no law.
Senator PERCY. No.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a custom. Senator Lodge and I happened to be the first to be appointed under the custom.
Any further questions?
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, gentlemen, both of you. We appreciate it and you have been most helpful.
Now we will hear from Mr. Richard A. Falk on the second topic that I mentioned a while ago, the impact of the third world on the United Nations.
He is professor of international law and practice at Princeton University, and writer on that subject. Among his books is the "Neutralization and World Order, Future of the International Legal Order,” both of which are highly pertinent to our discussion of the third world.
I might say that we had arranged for former Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan to be on the panel with Dr. Falk but a funny thing happened to him on his way to the hearing.
Senator Case. May I add a word of welcome. Dr. Falk is one of our distinguished citizens in New Jersey. I did not want any of my constituents to have any sense of my failing to recognize that.
Nice to have you here again.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD A. FALK, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL
LAW AND PRACTICE, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
Mr. FALK. Thank you, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Falk, may I say we have your statement. I do not believe you can pack that into 10 minutes. It will be printed in full in the record, and if you will, summarize it or discuss it, any way you wish.
Mr. Falk. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had not intended to inflict the entire statement on the committee and was going to request permission just to try to highlight what I think are the principal points that are made in the statement.
[Mr. Falk's prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PROF. RICHARD A. FALK, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY*
There is no doubt that the United Nations has become something very different than what its founding members had in mind when they assembled in 1944 at San Francisco to draft the Charter of this new institutional attempt at overcoming the hazards of life in a world of sovereign states. Of course, by itself, the process of change that has occurred since 1944 is neither beneficial nor detrimental; it is, however, inevitable given the depth of change going on in the world as a
*This statement is a revise and expanded version of an essay scheduled to appear in the "Harvard Journal of International Law.”
whole. Indeed, the capacity of the Charter to accommodate these changes within a global setting is an impressive achievement. As Secretary General Kurt Waldheim notes: "It is not surprising that the United Nations itself has been transformed indeed, it is the fact that it has changed which demonstrates that the Founders were right to give us a framework for collective action and not a precise constitution. For the United Nations reflects the realities of the world. Many of these are unpleasant and even frightening. But it would be when the United Nations did not reflect these realities that we should become alarmed."1 Not everyone agrees with the two-part analysis contained in Mr. Waldheim's statement: first, that the United Nations does indeed reflect the realities of the world it inhabits; second, that it should reflect these realities. And it is the lack of agreement on these points that has generated controversy, especially among Americans who had grown used to calling the tune in the early years of the United Nations but who in latter years have had progressively less influence over U.N. policy and actions. In recent years the United States Government has frequently seemed at odds with the substance of UN positions.
This change in the United States position within the Organization, although central to the concerns of this hearing, should not be exaggerated. Probably no nation other than the United States could have stopped the United Nations from taking an adverse position on a policy as widely and vigorously opposed as the U.S. involvement in Indochina. Only American opposition to the admission of China to the United Nations could have kept that issue unresolved for more than twenty years after an effective change in political power had taken place in Peking. The United States today continues to be the most influential and sig. nificant Member of the Organization, exerting a far more pervasive influence across the board of UN activities than any other state and playing an incomparably greater role than its main geopolitical rival, the Soviet Union. Therefore, in adjusting to our loss of influence, we should still appreciate its extent.
Sometimes, especially with regard to spectacular issues of the day, it is difficult to grasp the persistence of American leadership within the United Nations; it is also true that such leadership will not endure if we ourselves lose confidence in its existence. It is, indeed, in the context of Third World claims that the whole issue of America's role is most problematic, and deserves the closest scrutiny. These claims of Asian, African, and Latin American states are directed at reforming the international order as it has evolved over several centuries. If not aserted within the United Nations, these same claims would be asserted elsewhere, perhaps in a hasher, more destructive form.
The Indian nuclear explosion of May 1974 is an ominous warning, even if not so intended, of this possiblity. I believe that our interest as a nation lies not only in understanding these claims but in facilitating their orderly and peaceful satisfaction, through the promotion of fundamental reforms in the existing world system. Such a course of reform will require both a renewal of the vision of America as a benefactor of mankind and an assertion of domestic leadership that promotes an enlightened national self-interest based on the central truth of our age—that the security and prosperity of the United States depend increasingly on the attainment of justice and peace throughout the entire world. From this perspective, what's good for the world is good for the United States. However, to grasp such a reality from the apex of the geopolitical pyramid is no easy matter, and presupposes a larger measure of humility and empathy than our leaders have displayed in recent years. It is within this wider context that I would like to consider the impact of the Third World on the United Nations, and on the General Assembly in particular.
One should approach this topic with the standard caveat-namely, that the “Third World” label covers a whole range of economic, political, psychological, and cultural diversities, even antagonisms. In fact, for many purposes it is more misleading than illuminating to lump together the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. At the same time, for a variety of purposes these countries do perceive themselves as a group, a perception made more impressive because it overcomes an underlying, undeniable diversity. It is, then, as a group that the Third World has mobilized its membership on a series of key issues that have appeared on the global agenda in the 1970's, the very issues that constitute the raison d'être for this session of these hearings.
Prior to the 1970's Americans were frequently disillusioned by the inability of the United Nations to implement the great purposes proclaimed in its Charter,
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especially those of keeping the peace and mobilizing the community of nations against military aggression. This disillusionment arose primarily because the United Nations was regarded as enfeebled. It could rarely act. It did little.
Defenders of the Organization pointed out that it was unrealistic to expect very much from the United Nations, given its miniscule budget, its lack of police or military capabiliites, and its dependence on Great Power unanimity to reach decisions in the Security Council. These realists argued, in effect, "Why blame the United Nations for being unable to accomplish more than it was intended to do," i.e. very little. Of course, the realists had a point. On the other hand, if so little was intended, then why did the Charter promise so much in the way of peace and justice? The answer is that the draftsmen wanted to have the best of both worlds: lofty rhetoric in response to world public opinion clamoring for a reliable peace system, but no significant dilution of sovereign prerogatives. Thus, the weakness of the United Nations as an independent actor was built into its very structure, as was inevitable disappointment for those who read the Charter as a series of promises to future generations on the great questions of war and peace. In earlier years, then, the liberals' dilemma was that the United Nations was a well-intentioned experiment, but one too feeble to maintain world peace. Hence, they sought to marshal public support for the United Nations in order to strengthen the organization's ability to realize its potential.
Toward the end of 1974, however, the direction of criticism suddenly swerved sharply. Now, far from complaining that the United Nations was doing too little, its former supporters were concerned that the Organization was doing too much, and that its activities were in fact doing harm to world order values. It seems important to take account of this harsh new line of criticism, to analyze its character and interpret its significance. First, however, let us appreciate the fact that the United Nations moves now being criticized falls primarily in the category of symbolic rather than substantive activity. The United Nations remains a weak actor when it comes to battalions, but it has an until now improperly understood capacity to shift the balance of legitimacy in ongoing international conflicts and controversies. It is because this symbolic role does have a certain potency that there has been a sudden upsurge of serious concern in the United States over what the United Nations does and doesn't do. It can hardly be accidental that last November the largest demonstration in the history of New York City was occasioned by a symbolic event-namely, giving the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization a forum to reiterate within the halls of the General Assembly what he had repeatedly said in many other parts of the world, including Moscow—a locus of material power incomparably greater than that possessed by the United Nations. U.S. Ambassador John Scali, in a widely noticed speech delivered in the General Assembly on December 6, 1974, summed up the present mood when he noted that “. . . many Americans are questioning their belief in the United Nations. They are deeply disturbed." 3
A series of actions taken by the 29th Session of the General Assembly in the fall of 1974 offended a broad spectrum of American public opinion. Among the most significant of these were :
The suspension of South Africa from all rights of participation in the General Assembly Session;
The invitation to the Palestinian Liberation Organization to take part in the General Assembly debate on the Middle East conflict, and the related treatment of its leader, Yasir Arafat, as virtually a Head of State;
A series of parliamentary rulings by the Algerian President of the Assembly that restricted Israel's right to fully present its case during the debate on the Middle East, as well as parallel actions in UNESCO that withheld funds from Israeli cultural projects; and
The adoption of a much heralded Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, despite vigorous opposition by the United States to several key provisions.
Perhaps even more serious than this bill of particulars, however, was, the growing American perception of the General Assembly as a generally hostile arena. For many Americans, this hostility had been epitomized several years ago by the sight of African delegates dancing in the aisles of the Assembly after the 1972 vote granting the People's Republic of China full rights to represent the state of China in the United Nations. While such feelings may be considered paranoid by some, these Americans, who apparently included President Nixon, were convinced that the joy of the Africans had less to do with the issue of
Chinese representation than it did with the feelings of potency that came from gaining a Third World diplomatic victory over the United States. In fact, it does not seem unreasonable to imagine that such victory celebrations are made all the more ardent by the Third World's inability to challenge the United States in more direct geopolitical ways. In particular, the failure to protect the Indochinese peoples from the American military onslaught has over the years undoubtedly provoked a subconscious sense of guilt and powerlessness on the part of countries who themselves have struggled to assert a national identity after decades of colonial servitude. A further confirmation of this conjecture is the extent to which leaders of the South Vietnamese liberation forces, such as Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, have been hailed and cheered (reportedly more than any Head of State) at principal Third World conferences of the non-aligned bloc during the last three years.
It is worth noting that, even after all the years of the Cold War, the negative American reading of recent United Nations actions is directed not at the Soviet bloc or even at the socialist Members of the United Nations, but at the Third World. Clearly, the capacity of Asian, African, and Latin American countries to control the General Assembly agenda and to dominate the debate and resolution process is at the heart of American disenchantment. This disenchantment deepened as the Afro-Asian ranks at the United Nations swelled in the 1960's, and has intensified still further as Third World positions have solidified in opposition to American policy on such critical issues as the comparative equities in the Middle East, the status of foreign investment, the use of coordinated economic pressure on the developed world (e.g., OPEC actions since late 1973), and the overall insistence on a new international economic order that reflects the demands of the poorer, less industrialized countries. Ambassador Scali warned that "the pursuit of mathematical majorities can be a particularly sterile form of international activity" and, further, that “[p]aper triumphs are, in the end, expensive even for the voters." 5 In effect, Scali was arguing that without support from states with actual power, the formal claims of the General Assembly are rantings and ravings. However, I believe that a growing anxiety about a shift in real power was lurking in the background. The oil weapon employed by OPEC since 1973 had brought more than “a paper triumph” for the Third World, even if only a small portion of Asia, Africa, and Latin America received benefits from the confrontation. The shift in influence and wealth had been dramatic.
Third World solidarity had seemingly paid off both in relation to the ArabIsraeli conflict and with respect to prospects for restructuring the world economy. Therefore, just as the African dance after the China vote might have been partly bravado, Scali's denunciations of the Assembly seem more like a political gesture than an exercise in diplomacy. Although the Assembly has no aircraft carriers or missiles, its judgments increasingly represent more than mere rhetoric because of the increasingly formidable strength of the social forces that stand behind that rhetoric. Scali's speech appears to be associated with the threat diplomacy directed at OPEC by American leadership inside and outside of government, conjuring up military scenarios about seizing Arab oil in either the Persian Gulf or Libya. Beneath the denunciations lies a growing American anxiety that “the barbarians are at the gates," that “the West" or "Western civilization" is under siege and the world is running out of critical resources needed to fuel growth-oriented market industrial economies.Thus, the anger directed at the United Nations is part of a wider loss of confidence by American leadership in its capacity to cope with a series of difficult challenges. These American outbursts can be seen partly as expressions of frustration because the tide is turning, and partly as exhortations to stem the tide. Just as the Third World in general and the Palestinians in particular symbolize the barbarians at the gates, so the United Nations serves as a temporary scapegoat, along with OPEC, for focusing American anger and for distracting attention from more structural issues related to a crisis in world capitalism.
A somewhat more academic and narrower critique of the United Nations, especially of the General Assembly, contends that the Organization is worse than nothing, that it is "a dangerous place” where the formal action consistently contravenes the high purposes of the Charter. Indeed, the authors of one study assert that “the United Nations contributes about as much to peace as a battleship or an atomic bomb. Disputes are brought to the United Nations in order to weaken an opponent, strengthen one's side, prepare for war, and support a war effort.” 10 This perception emerges, they argue, if one examines "the objectives of those who
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