May 06, 2004

What About the ITU?

With all the talk about killing off the UN, there's an awful lot of things that are inside the UN that are there for convenience sake but may or may not be extricated easily. One of the best examples I can find is the ITU. It predates the UN. It joined the UN as a special agency. And I'm sure that no 1 in a 100 UN replacement advocates knows how to disentangle it from the UN system at this point. Until there is some sort of framework of how to shift such organizations over to a new system without much disruption, the great weight of many of the worlds largest companies are going to be against any UN replacement scheme. It's not that they care about Kofi Annan or the General Assembly or the UN Charter (though they may). What really would steam them is the loss of ability to push forward the synchronization of TV signals, standardize new packet switching telecom services, and the thousand other mundane details that can make, or lose, people billions of dollars.

Personally, at this point, I happen to be one of the 99. I think the UN system is rotten and probably irretrievable at this point but what I don't see is a detailed road map of how to improve things without making a bigger mess in a lengthy, and painful, transition. What I worry about is the others in that same group of 99 out of 100 who not only don't know how to fix it right but don't know that they don't know (Rumsfeld's famous unknown unknown in action). Those are the reformers that truly worry me.

Posted by TMLutas at May 6, 2004 02:23 PM