INDEPENDENT NEWS AND COMMENT ON THE UNITED NATIONS
number of subscribers remained low because of widespread piracy. So, in 1999 I gave up on the newsletter and began publishing UNDIPLOMATIC TIMES. With a controlled circulation to all diplomatic missions, Secretariat offices, journalists and representatives of non-governmental organizations at the UN, it was beyond piracy. Another transition came when the renovation of the United Nations headquarters building sent me off to India and the publication, liberated from its hard copy existence and New York audience, took new life on the Web. However, much of the new richness was lost in the transition from an Indian Web host to one back in the USA (mid 2015).
As the pun in its name implies, Undiplomatic Times does not beat around the bush. The mix of straightforward reporting, commentary and analysis provides a unique perspective, often dramatically different from that found in mainstream media. UNDIPLOMATIC TIMES makes no money. In the hard copy, paid editorial inserts and advertising usually covered costs, but it was essentially a labor of love. In the online version it is entirely a labor or love for there are no income streams. Since 2007 the paper has also had aseparate blog that has ranged far afield from the UN.
The United Nations is trapped in international power politics. Governments have demonstrated a staggering lack of vision in the way they have used the Organization, and that failure has been kept from public view by mass media that cover multilateral affairs as if it were a football game: who wins, who loses, how many goals are scored. In reality, everyone has been on the losing side, for there's only one team: all of us, regardless of where we live, whether we are rich or poor, or what faith we profess. (Indeed, we have to include all life as part of that team. As my forbears in ancient India put it, vasudaiva kutumbakam: all creation is one family.)
The four decades I have spent thinking and writing about international affairs have led to the firm conviction that if we want a peaceful world, it cannot be left to governments. Every individual has a responsibility to understand the basic unity of the world and to act in its defense. This web site is my bit to encourage such action. It seeks to demystify international issues and the United Nations System, to give readers information largely unavailable in corporate mass media.
Please send in comments on the site and if something needs to be added do let me know.
In 1990, as part of a wave of "reform," the United Nations offered to buy out the contracts of staff who wanted to leave. I volunteered, and my bosses accepted with alacrity. In the emerging post-Cold War dispensation at the UN, my propensity to present the viewpoint of developing countries at staff meetings had become increasingly irksome.
For nearly a decade after quitting as a staff member, I put out a weekly newsletter on UN affairs, the International Documents Review. An eight pager turned out at a copy shop near the UN, and sold for $200 a year, it soon won a following. But the