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Bill Richardson: Is the U.N. still relevant?
Bill Richardson is the Governor of New Mexico and former candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Of Hispanic descent, Richardson was born in Pasadena, California, but spent most of his childhood in Mexico City. Richardson graduated from Tufts University, from which he also received a Masters in International Affairs. In 1982, Richardson was elected to the United States House of Representatives. During his time in the House, Richardson focused on foreign affairs as well as on issues of importance to the Native American community. In 1997, Bill Clinton appointed Richardson United States Ambassador to the United Nations; Richardson left that post in 1998 to become Secretary of Energy. Richardson is known for his "shuttle diplomacy" and has been nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Richardson was first elected the Governor of New Mexico in 2003; he was reelected in 2007 in a landslide, earning 69% of the vote. Richardson is the author of two recent books: the campaign autobiography Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life, and Leading by Example: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution.
Question: Is the UN still relevant?
Bill Richardson: Yeah it is relevant. It needs to improve itself. It needs to be more fiscally responsible. We can’t have those oil for food scandals. But on the whole it represents the nations of the world, particularly the Third World. Another positive element about the UN is that when there’s a crisis, the members of the UN Security Council can respond immediately. There’s a mechanism called the UN Security Council where Russia, China, France, the United States and Britain can converge and deal with a problem. To modernize the UN, I would emphasize more its humanitarian side, its issues relating to international peacekeeping. But I’d expand the size of the UN. You know this is . . . The UN today is an instrument of a result of the Cold War. But there are more powers around the world. I’d add Germany to the Security Council, not a veto power. I’d add Japan. And I’d add one country from the Third World. One from Asia, probably India. One from Latin America, possibly Mexico or Brazil. Each of these countries would select themselves in their regions. One from Africa, possibly Nigeria or South Africa. We need to expand the membership to the Security Council so that more countries feel that the United Nations responds to them, and thus goals that the United States pursues by building international support; by caring about issues like genocide in Darfur; by caring about issues like dealing with AIDS, and pandemic diseases, and refugees around the world, and international poverty issues, and micro lending. That’s how we build international support for our national security goals and our objectives as a nation that should again be the conscience of the world, not the world’s policeman.
Recorded on: 11/20/07
A worthy organization in need of reform, says Richardson.
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