News / Middle East

Former UN Official Says Mideast Uprisings Long Overdue

Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown explores 'Unfinished Global Revolution' in his new book

VOA's Faiza Elmasry interviews Mark Mallock-Brown about his book, 'The Unfinished Global Revolution: The Pursuit of a New International Politics.'
VOA's Faiza Elmasry interviews Mark Mallock-Brown about his book, 'The Unfinished Global Revolution: The Pursuit of a New International Politics.'

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

Mark Malloch-Brown has been involved in international affairs for more than three decades.

The former journalist-turned-economist served as vice president of the World Bank before being named Deputy Secretary General and U.N. Chief of Staff under Kofi Annan. In that position, he drew controversy for his outspoken criticism of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy and what he called its "UN bashing."

Now out of public and political office, Malloch-Brown has written a book, "The Unfinished Global Revolution: The Pursuit of a New International Politics."

Tidal wave

Millions of demonstrators filled the streets of Cairo and other cities around the Arab world recently, voicing their opposition to the old order, corruption, inequality and the lack of freedom.

As a former UN official who helped draft the first "Arab Human Development Report" a decade ago, Malloch-Brown says the tidal wave is long overdue.

"The economy was not creating the jobs that the increasingly young inspirational Arab youth wanted,” he says. “That was a hugely popular message, which really touched a chord across the coffee shops and souks and streets of the Arab World, yet the regimes were deaf to this."

Now, he says, the international community has an important role to play as citizens in these countries begin building more democratic political systems.

"In many countries, you would never get successful development, if you didn’t have democracy," he says. “Unless the poor have a vote, have a voice in the affairs of their country, they would never get a fair deal from the country’s rulers they needed. That kind of accountability comes from democracy. So I think it’s hugely important for the international community to provide that support now. They need to do it with a certain modesty and humility which acknowledges that, for years, it has been on the side of stability not democracy. Our job is to help them with the modern tools, let’s say technical assistance to allow Egyptians, Tunisians and others to build their own democracy."

However, moving a nation towards democracy is challenging.

"More often than not, what unites people at the beginning is the common enemy, the regime of Mubarak for example, who they want to see go. But once he's gone, all these groups have very different economic and political agendas. I’m sure we will see initially a very bumpy ride. It will take time to get a decent constitution in place. It will take time for proper parties to form and for elections to produce the kind of coherent results, which will allow a strong reformist government to take office with a clear democratic mandate behind it."

'Unfinished Global Revolution'

In his new book, "The Unfinished Global Revolution," Malloch-Brown shares his experiences as both witness to and participant in the process of democratization and globalization. Part autobiography, part political tract and part history, the book also offers a vision for the future, in an increasingly globalized world.

"You could no longer just - within the national boundaries of your own country - fix and manage your banking sector,” he says. “Your banking sector was intimately linked with global banks. And unless they too were regulated, you couldn't protect your banks against the storms of the financial crisis. Similarly, the public health of your people is no longer just a national issue. We saw it with the way, two years now, the flu strain started in Mexico, but came through Kennedy Airport and other air connections straight to the U.S. and from there quickly spread across the world."

He says the world needs to find global solutions to what are global issues.

"National governments have to learn how to arrive at those solutions, how to share a little bit of each other’s sovereignty and negotiate and compromise to find global public policy solutions," he says. "This isn't easy. National governments are very protective."

But, he says, that does not mean the world needs a global government.

"The last thing you want to do is create some global government version of the national governments, some great, big, unaccountable edifice. I don’t believe in that at all."

To complete the global revolution, Malloch-Brown says the world needs to redefine the U.N.’s role and involve voices from a broad range of civil society.

"What I've seen in my career is all global problems, which have been successfully tackled in recent years, it's not just been states that have done it. It's usually been because a bunch of social activists from non-governmental community, foundation chiefs, business leaders and others have joined in to drive policy forward."

Malloch-Brown challenges private citizens everywhere to play a role in the global revolution and become a force for change.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlies her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid