Friday, October 15, 2010

The UN road to decline

I always thought that Lebanon’s membership in the UN Security Council was a bad idea. Sensitive issues (such as the Iran sanctions) were bound to strain our domestic politics, and the tangible benefits are few.

New research by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith of New York University, reported in the November issue of Foreign Policy, supports my view:

  1. Relative to other countries, temporary members of the Security Council see economic growth drop 3.5 percent and score 2 percent lower on the widely used Polity ranking, which measures levels of democracy. 
  2. They also see press restrictions increase 3.1 points on Freedom House’s 100-point scale.

The reason? Security council membership is a great opportunity to practice the type of political prostitution at which the Lebanese excel.

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