Here is how I see Helen Clark's bid to be the United Nations Secretary-General.

I'm no fan of the United Nations - it's dysfunctional, it's unwieldy, it's ineffective and its rules are in desperate need of reform. But the tragedy is that the rules can't be changed because of the very rules that need changing.

Any decisions have to be unanimous and any decisions can be vetoed by the five permanent members of the security council. But the five permanent members don't represent the modern world and hate each other. Well, not all of them of course, but take the United States, Russia and China and put them in a room on anything and you will be going nowhere fast.

Ask any of them whether they want to give away some of their power by way of reform and you know what the answer is before you even ask.


In a nutshell, it's a spineless mess that has allowed the world is disintegrate before its very eyes. In the theatre of military turmoil - of which there is much - they do nothing but disagree on what to do on everything. This leaves the United States to play global sheriff, and when the United States is led by a bloke like Obama, his first thought process is to bring troops home, hence you have vacuums, violence and carnage everywhere from Afghanistan to Syria to Iraq to Libya.

But despite all of this, the United Nations isn't going anywhere and it does need someone to run it - so why not Helen Clark? This is why we should all be behind this. Anytime a country our size gets to be at the top table of anything we should take it.

Helen Clark isn't going to transform the UN any more than Ban Ki-moon hasn't or Boutros Boutros-Ghlai or Kofi Annan but that's not the point. It's the influence of the job, it's the doors it opens, it's the access it gives.

Remember that every time a Prime Minister from this country heads off to an international pow wow, it's not the event itself that counts, it's the pull-asides, the dinners, the moments in the corridors. That is where the action is and where the deals are done.

Anything this country can do to get itself front and centre with the genuine global heavy weights, we should be leaping at.

We should also be mature enough to put politics aside at a domestic level in order to see the big picture. When Don McKinnon was running the Commonwealth, no one cared what party he came from same with Mike Moore at the World Trade Organisation. Good political operators do business above and beyond their original political beliefs and constraints in the country from which they came.

A win for Helen Clark is a win for all of us.

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