The annual Plenary Debate of the U.N. General Assembly kicks off tomorrow morning with an address by Kofi Annan (hopefully the last time I will ever have to hear the words “unique legitimacy” again as long as I live).
The Plenary begins with a good omen for the United States. Mexico today announced that “for strategic reasons and because of the alliance with other Central American countries, Mexico will not only support but also promote the candidacy of Guatemala” to fill the Security Council seat allotted to the Latin America region, soon to be vacated by Argentina. The other candidate is Venezuela, and Hugo Chavez has been campaigning furiously to win the vote, which will be in October. The crucial horsetrading-and-lobbying begins tomorrow, as heads-of-government start flooding into Manhattan.
The announcement by Mexico is important because its choice of words “support” and “promote” is being reported by Venezuelan press as meaning that Mexico is now openly opposed to Venezuela, and will actively lobby other nations to vote for its rival. This could mean that Mexico intends now to emerge as a pole around which non-aligned opposition to Venezuela can start to coalesce. It puts Hugo Chavez on a collision course with a universally popular, and very powerful, Latin American country. Look for a public clash between Chavez and Mexican president Fox in the next few days. More to come…
Meantime, I will in the next few days be absorbing this timely series of reports by the Heritage Foundation, which examine whether and how the United Nations can continue to serve the interests of democracy. The Heritage papers are especially timely now, because the United Nations has increasingly used the tropes of representative democracy (one country one vote, universal rights, etc.) to accomplish the most antidemocratic things, and the problem is quickly getting worse.