Pierre-Edouard Deldique is a journalist.
After his studies in history in Tours and in Paris, he began his career as a reporter on the regional level and then went on to Agence France-Presse (AFP, France’s national and international news service). Before taking on editorial responsibilities at Radio France International (RFI), he completed an exchange program of several weeks compiling broadcasts in French with Voice of America (VOA) in Washington, D.C., where he contributed a long article to the French magazine Télérama. He then was anchor for news programs, and after that he went on to report worldwide for RFI. It was at the time of his reporting from U.N. headquarters in New York that Pierre-Edouard Deldique became interested
in that international organization, on which he produced two books, Faut-il Supprimer l’ONU? (Should We Abolish the U.N.?), Hachette, 2003, and Fin de Partie à l’ONU (End Game at the U.N.), Lattes, 2005. He now follows the U.N. for RFI, where he moderates two news shows. The first is entitled Une Semaine de l’Actualité (Week in Review), in which, every Saturday he looks back on the previous seven news days along with some guests. The second, Signes Particuliers (Distinguishing Marks), provides audiences with portraits of those in the news. An ardent follower of jazz, Pierre-Edouard Deldique, 47, has often traveled to the U.S., both professionally and for pleasure.
1. IS THE UN AMERICA’S ENEMY ?
The United Nations is often seen by the American public, and especially by Congress and the White House, as being an institution which is hostile to the United States. As overstated as it is, this sentiment bandied about by certain members of the national media is, nevertheless, based on a truth: over the course of the years, the U.N. has, indeed, become a forum for anti-Americanism.
However, the organization sought by President Roosevelt in 1945 and whose headquarters was built on a New York site donated by John Rockefeller, benefitted in its early days of existence from the support and esteem of America and the entire world.
Unfortunately, the Cold War, the wars in the Middle East, the struggles for independence have transformed the General Assembly of the U.N. where every member state has a seat into a body destined to put on trial American policy. This occurred to such a degree, that one New York mayor proposed sending U.N. officials packing.
This anti-Americanism, moreover, has been aggravated by the arrival these past few years in the White House of George W. Bush and the neoconservatives, who, with the war in Iraq serving as background, have expressed the desire to do away with the U.N.
In this conference, Pierre-Edouard Deldique intends to explain and put into perspective, the relations between the U.N. and the U.S. Even if the United States has real weight in the organization (for which they are the primary backer), it is not true to say, as you frequently hear, that the real name of the U.N. is the Organization of the United States.
2. SINCE ITS CREATION IN 1945 UNDER THE AUSPICES OF AMERICAN PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, TO WHOM WE OWE ITS VERY NAME, HAS THERE BECOME ONE VERSION OF THE U.N. ON ONE SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC, AND ANOTHER ONE ON THE OTHER SIDE?
We pose the question. The diplomatic crisis in 2003 regarding Iraq actually brought to the foreground in the most blatant way two conceptions of the United Nations. On the one hand is the one of the Bush administration and the neoconservatives concerned first and foremost with advancing the interests of the Americans and the military power of the U.S. Then on the other hand, the European conception and especially a French one which is, officially, to defend multilateralism.
In Washington, the U.N. was thus considered at the time to be an obstacle to a policy based on the use of force, while for Paris nothing could be done without the resolutions vote by the U.N. Security Council. Diplomacy first.
Beyond this antagonism, which then reached its fever pitch, is it legitimate to talk about two divergent conceptions of the U.N.?
In this lecture, Pierre-Edouard Deldique intends to dwell upon this theme. Is France the U.N.’s best friend, and the U.S. its inside enemy? The answer is obviously a much more qualified one than the question implies.
3. IS IT NECESSARY TO ABOLISH THE U.N.?
According to certain American congressmen, simply abolishing the U.N. would be desirable. Are they correct? Since it was founded in 1945, the U.N. has been the target of sharp criticisms from certain member states, starting with the most powerful among them. Certain ones would even like to see it disappear. Is it necessary, then, to deconstruct a U.N. seen by some to be too bureaucratic and costly, too quick to spend and too critical toward Western governments? The U.N. would be seen by some as being a forum for countries from the Southern Hemisphere pitted against those of the Northern.
But if it is indeed necessary to destroy the U.N., what should be done afterwards? Should the world try to exist without an international organization or rebuild another one? Should there be an organization created which is reserved for democracies, as the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright proposed with The Community of Democracies? Or should the existing U.N. be remade in order to produce a more efficient one?
In fact, everything depends on what is meant by reform.
The year 2005, marked by the 60th anniversary of the organization, has shown that the 191 members of the U.N. do not share the same idea of it.
In this lecture, Pierre-Edouard Deldique will consider the future of an international organization like the U.N. Will it be able, one day, to hold its own with the great powers or is it condemned to remain in their shadow? Will it be able to play a more political role in international relations?
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