This week’s announcement that North Korea has become the chair of the UN Conference on Disarmament should become the peg for euthanizing this body, giving it the burial it deserves, and getting real about the current state of global nuclear disorder.
The international community’s acceptance of this absurdity is appropriately incomprehensible to observers who take nuclear dangers seriously. Supporters of multilateral initiatives and the establishment of international organizations to address international challenges that states cannot possibly solve by acting alone should also take this as an occasion for reflecting about what UN efforts such as the Conference on Disarmament contribute, or fail to contribute, to international problem-solving. In three decades, what meaningful actions has this body taken to reduce nuclear dangers?
Other states’ acquiescence in North Korea’s ascendancy to this post is a bolt of lightning that illuminates otherwise hazy realities. What lessons does this hold for analogous UN-hosted annual or quadrennial talk fests including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change?