Issues January 2007 Newsletter

We wish our readers a year of personal fulfillment and hope that each of you will make time in 2007 to work for a more just and peaceful world. We appreciate what so many of you are already doing toward that end, but know that much more needs to be done. Although the November elections brought much good news, it appears that many of our elected officials, particularly at the national level, have yet to recognize he necessity of speedy disengagement of American armed forces from the quagmire in Iraq; and we hope that our nation will accept responsibility for the mess we have made there and allocate needed funds for reconstruction under appropriate UN auspices.             CGS, Minnesota

Government Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
--George Washington


Editor's Note: The following op-ed was submitted to the Star Tribune on December 19 with the expressed hope that it would be printed as close as possible to January 1, the date on which Ban Ki-moon officially took over the post of UN Secretary General. As of this writing, it has not been published. Because the piece was kept below the prescribed 800-word limit, the text is rather dense and supporting arguments for the recommendations put forward and other relevant details were necessarily omitted. Still, we think that our readers might wish to see the essay in its original form.

In his final years in office, Kofi Annan devoted considerable energy to promoting United Nations reform. Recognizing that the UN is presently inadequately empowered, insufficiently funded and too poorly staffed to perform effectively many tasks it might ideally undertake, he appointed a High-level Panel to propose wide-ranging reforms and supplemented their 2005 recommendations with a report of his own. These reports were reviewed by the General Assembly, watered down considerably in light of anticipated American opposition, and then hopelessly eviscerated on the insistence of John Bolton, our newly appointed UN representative.

Bolton is now history; American voters have demonstrated dissatisfaction with the neo-con approach to world affairs; and a new Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, is at hand to help guide the reform process, should he so choose. While major reforms will, obviously, not be made during Bush's presidency, it is not too early to lay out a reform agenda more far-reaching than those recently proposed and more in keeping with the world's true needs. From a long list of possibilities, I here offer five:

1. Funding: The assessed annual budget of the entire UN system comes to about $ 7 billion. This is supplemented by another $12 billion or so in voluntary contributions. The total is significantly less than the state budget for Minnesota. Yet, critics complain about the UN's inability to solve all the world's problems! But suppose the present needlessly complicated funding system were replaced by one with a flat assessment of 0.1% of the gross domestic product of all countries. Given the global GDP of nearly $40 trillion, that would yield roughly $40 billion, more than enough to cover all current UN expenses, including those of affiliated agencies (excluding the World Bank and IMF), plus the innovative programs noted below, and to establish an escrow account for use in future emergencies.

2. Preventing Genocide: "Never again!" world leaders proclaimed following the Rwandan genocide. Yet, Srebenica and Darfur mock their rhetoric. But genocide is preventable. A bill to be introduced in the 110th Congress would declare US support for a proposed UN Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS) for rapid response, not only to potential genocides but also to major natural disasters. UNEPS' proponents envisage a standing, elite, all-volunteer, internationally recruited force, under the UN flag, which the Secretary General could dispatch, as needed, for up to six months, pending approval (or termination) by the Security Council. Were such a force available, Darfur would not now afflict our collective conscience.

3. A UN Administrative Reserve: Supplementing UNEPS there could be a UN Administrative Reserve Corps (UNARC, proposed in the UN Chronicle, March 2006). UNARC staff would be an elite corps of men and women, recruited worldwide, but especially from developing counties, all of whom would have gone through a tough three-year training program at a UN Administrative Academy to develop needed administrative skills along with area and language expertise. On graduating they would return to posts in their respective countries, but be available for ten years for service in failed state situations such as those in Afghanistan between Russia's 1989 withdrawal and the Taliban takeover or Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam.

4. Secretariat Staffing: Allegations of staff incompetence are the most common of all complaints by UN-bashers. Recruiting at all levels is highly politicized. Many top jobs have traditionally been the preserve of individual major powers, with minimal professional screening, while middle- and low-level jobs are distributed mainly in terms of geographical balance, often being filled on the basis of cronyism and nepotism. Sir Brian Urquhart, among others, has written extensively on how to overcome those shortcomings. Assuming that innate capability is abundantly available in all parts of the world, one remedy would be to combine testing for merit with the requirement that all successful applicants attend a rigorous one-year administrative training program before commencing work in any entry-level position.

5. Weighted Voting: Does it make sense that Tuvalu, the UN's least populous member, should have the same vote in the General Assembly as China, with a population 125,000 times as great, or the US, whose GDP exceeds Tuvalu's by an even greater ratio? Similarly, leaving aside the unfair privileged position of the five permanent members of the Security Council, why should the SC vote of Qatar (population 750,000) count the same as that of Indonesia (population 225 million)? How does this affect the credibility and legitimacy of UN decisions? The Westphalian legal fiction of the "sovereign equality of nations" is ill suited to 21st century politics and should be replaced by something more realistic. We need an expert panel to analyze existing plans for weighted voting, taking into account both population and economic power, and to recommend workable changes.

How about it, Mr. Ban?

Joseph E. Schwartzberg, PhD
President, Minnesota Chapter
Citizens for Global Solutions

Not to Be Missed !
January 30, 2007, at St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537, Third Avenue South, Minneapolis
6:30 pm, Social Hour and Display Tables, 7:30 Presentation and Q&A.
$10.00. Order tickets now by calling 651-429-9562. It will likely be a sell-out.
Organized by Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers.

We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well being is dependent on the well being of other nations, We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.
--Franklin D. Roosevelt

Third Thursday of each month, 7:00 - 9:00 pm.
Free and open to the public.

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January 18, 2007, 7:00-9:00 P.M.

Part of CGS-MN's Third Thursday Global Issues Forum
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale and Hennepin, directions)
Free and open to the public.

The world awaits US re-engagement in the fight to prevent irreversible damage from climate change. Absent action at the federal level, leaders from around the world are focusing on significant sub-national initiatives such as the new California global warming solutions act. The new make-up of the US Congress and the Minnesota legislature also suggest new possibilities, as does the recent meeting in Nairobi, Kenya of the parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. We will discuss the results of that meeting and the forthcoming report of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, with particular reference to the economics of taking action to mitigate the problem.

Presenter: J. DRAKE HAMILTON. As Science Policy Director for Fresh Energy, Ms. Hamilton is responsible for scientific analysis, policy development and outreach on renewable energy, global warming, and the promotion of clean technology. She is a Board member of the US Climate Action network and the principal author of FE's Playing with Fire: Climate Change in Minnesota. She spent the summer of 2005 in Europe studying global warming policy solutions, participated in the UN-sponsored international climate change negotiations in Montreal in December 2005, and gives many talks each year on global warming and cost-effective energy solutions.

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February 15, 2007, 7:00-9:00 P.M.

Part of CGS-MN's Third Thursday Global Issues Forum
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale and Hennepin, directions)
Free and open to the public.

This presentation will deal largely with the US government's approach to the issue of failed states .The first speaker (Kahl) will examine how 9/11 transformed the perceived threats posed by failed and failing states, the ways by which the issue of failed states moved from being denigrated as "foreign policy as social work" to becoming a central security challenge of the new century, and how, in light of our experience with "nation building" in Iraq, the US government is moving toward new strategies, doctrine and bureaucratic architecture to better address complex governance challenges in weak states. The second speaker (Schwartzberg) will suggest an alternative approach relying heavily on a UN Administrative Reserve Corps.

Presenters: COLIN KAHL and JOSEPH SCHWARTZBERG. Colin Kahl earned his PhD at Columbia University in 2000 and is now a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, teaching courses in international relations, international security, American foreign policy, and civil and ethnic conflict and terrorism. His current research focuses on US military compliance with the Law of War. Earlier research was on the causes and consequences of violent conflict in developing nations. His book, States, Scarcity and Civil Strife in the Developing World, was published by Princeton University Press in 2006. As a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, he conducted research on the Law of War at the US Department of Defense and also in the field in Iraq. In 1998 he was a National Security Fellow at Harvard University. Schwartzberg, a professor emeritus of geography at the University of Minnesota, is President of the Minnesota Chapter of CGS. Both speakers have served as consultants to the US government's State Failure Task Force.

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March 15, 2007, 7:00-9:00 P.M.

Part of CGS-MN's Third Thursday Global Issues Forum
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale and Hennepin, directions)
Free and open to the public.

Presenter: Dr. BHARAT PAREKH. Details will be presented in the March Newsletter.

If the United Nations is to survive, those who represent it must bolster it; those who advocate it must submit to it; and those who believe in it must fight for it.
--Norman Cousins, past President, World Federalist Association


The Minnesota Chapter of CGS has voted to give its formal endorsement to the efforts of Do Peace, Minnesota to promote the establishment of a US Department of Peace, the initiative for which comes from Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. The requisite legislation will be put forward in the 110th Congress. For more information check If you would personally like to take part in this effort, please contact Mary Jane La Vigne by e-mail at maryjanelavigne [at]

Isn't it odd that Washington, DC, the capital of this "peace-loving nation," abounds in war memorials, but does not have a single public memorial to those who have worked for peace? The Minnesota Chapter of CGS as well as several of its members acting in their individual capacities are proud to have become founding sponsors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation and to be inscribed thereby in the US Peace Registry. To learn more about this effort, please consult and/or contact Foundation Chair, Michael D. Knox by e-mail at Knox [at]

Our Chapter's Board is looking for new talent and ideas. If you would like to be considered for membership, please contact Joe Schwartzberg at 651-429-9562 or by e-mail at schwa004 [at] Even if you are not a Board member, you can still make a contribution to our work, say by submitting a letter or essay for our Newsletter, with a high probability (but no guarantee) that it will be published, or by submitting an item for our website, We'd love to hear from you.

CGS National

Citizens for Global Solutions-Minnesota Chapter
5492 Bald Eagle Blvd. E.
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
info at
Posted January 7, 2007