Urquhart defends diplomats — and the UN — yet again

Brian Urquhart – British former Under-Secretary General at the UN for ages, who came “on board” the Organization even before its actual founding – is still writing and thinking about his memorable experiences there.

Not everybody who works at the UN gets to have as much fun as Urquhart did. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of UN staff who, at any one time, are using their skills and making a difference in the world. The others are mostly marking time, and waiting for the next paycheck — and the best way to do that is to be quiet — and often, to do nothing.

Anyway, Urquhart has just published, in the New York Review of Books, a review of a new book by Carne Ross, a former British diplomat, who was posted at the UN, and who then worked for the UN in Kosovo.

The Urquhart review of Ross’ book is published here.

In the first two grafs, I think Urquhart takes issue with Ross’ descriptions for the wrong reasons, and misses the point. Later, he defends diplomacy using the exact same arguments that supporters give for their positive view of the UN: if it didn’t exist, where would we be? And, if it didn’t exist, it would have to be created.
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