Center for Strategic Decision Research



Adjusting the International Structure for More Effective Results

Ambassador Gabor Brodi
Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations

I believe that the wrap-up of such a detailed and good workshop should be brief. Otherwise, there is the temptation to share again all the important views and ideas that were presented during this conference—it is amazing how many developments there have been regarding the ways we are meeting the new global security challenges and providing the necessary capabilities to do so.


It was very impressive to learn how much success NATO has had in adapting to the new challenges, but most of its achievements have been on the military field. The NATO Response Force, the introduced changes in the command and control structure, training, and reshaping the partnerships have been very successful, but when it comes to using this global tool, I am afraid not much has happened, both regarding decision making about how to use these capabilities and regarding the international legal framework. Regarding the latter, unfortunately nothing there has changed.

It seems a bit of a contradiction to develop a missionary capability, with the desire and political will to use it quickly if it is necessary, and then not to have the political machinery that makes it possible to use it. The situation in Darfur, Sudan, which involves several different international organizations, is an excellent example for this problem. The situation there represents a great challenge for the international community, involving the role of the P5, the five permanent representative countries on the U.N. Security Council. But what if there is no agreement within the Security Council? Agreement involves the consent of the government of Sudan, which failed to provide security for its citizens, so it is a partly failed state situation. It involves a regional arrangement that should be supported to meet fully fledged compliance with its undertaking but is not able to do so and in an environment that is rather hostile regarding any international institution, not only NATO but the United Nations as well, to taking any role. I guess that is the real challenge of our time, which suggests that we are not ready or capable of doing the job properly. We need to think about how to collectively adjust the international structure to be able to do so and to live up to the “responsibility to protect.”


Regarding the development of the ESDP and the possible strategic partnership between NATO and the European Union, it has been seen as a challenge and also as an opportunity. I agree with those who believe that Berlin Plus should be implemented and that the new opportunities will reinforce the viability of the arrangement. But when it comes to strategic partnerships and joint political analysis and decision making, we still do not see many results. However, I believe that many of the issues we face together could be solved in partnership, if from the very start our possible courses of action and our decisions are identical. This will develop, obviously, when the EU assumes its global role, but while the battle group concept and other capabilities need to be prepared via common foreign and security policy, the EU, I am afraid, is again lagging behind.


But I do not mean to be only critical of our very important regional organizations. I believe that the United Nations, where I work, has similar problems, because we operate and face global challenges working with a post-Second World War structure. We have just started to think about its possible reform and, in fact, during the last U.N. summit meeting significant reform steps were decided on and some have been implemented, including setting up a peace-building council, a new peace-building commission, and a new human rights commission. However, I am afraid that there has not been much progress regarding the revitalization of the General Assembly and especially the reform of the Security Council.

Reforming the council is not a problem in itself, but its consequence is our real problem. Dr. Fasslabend said that it was Iran and the Iranian debate that caught his eye and it caught mine too—the lack of reform was especially visible there. Dr. Fasslabend also mentioned that the NPT will be at a crossroads if we fail to solve the Iranian problem. I believe it is not the NPT that is at a crossroads but the whole international structure. Last May I attended the NPT review conference and witnessed how the division of states prevented us from addressing the legal background of the Iranian case, which involved, as Ambassador Akram noted, Article10 of the treaty, which discusses withdrawal. There was a proposal that, if a member-state is out of compliance with the treaty, it should not withdraw voluntarily but should understand the consequences, and that the Security Council could then take appropriate actions. But one question was not answered during our deliberation, which is, What are the consequences if Iran walks out of the NPT? The answer is none. Under the treaty, it is Iran’s right to withdraw from the treaty, but you have no means within the framework of the treaty to do anything about it.

To a certain extent, that is also true regarding the reinforced surveillance structure of the IAEA. Iran could take it up but could withdraw easily. The panel was quite united in describing the situation, but clearly the Security Council might be divided and there would be no action.


This brings me to another important lesson of this conference, which is that with international structures under reform, regional organizations such as NATO and the European Union might have increased roles. I fully agree with Ambassador Akram’s suggestion that a regional security structure will be needed to take into account the legitimate security interests of all the countries in the region and to engage them in international cooperation.


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