U.N. Reform Bid Exposes Its Woes: The near collapse and dilution of Annan’s bold plan point up the world body’s flaws. The chief calls the outcome a solid start for change. (Maggie Farley, September 14, 2005, LA Times)

The U.N. World Summit on poverty and reform that opens today was supposed to be a watershed moment that breathed new life into the troubled world body and shored up its beleaguered leader, Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

But as diplomats approved the summit’s centerpiece document Tuesday after weeks of bitter negotiations that eviscerated many of Annan’s boldest reform proposals, many delegates expressed dismay that the meeting was highlighting the U.N.’s core problems rather than solving them.

Though U.N. officials tried to put the best face on the watered-down package of goals and structural changes concerning issues including human rights and terrorism, even Annan called the deletion of a section on nuclear disarmament “a disgrace” and an example of how the United Nations had failed.

How Annan’s ambitious plan nearly collapsed and why says much about the way the U.N. works, and doesn’t.

There was a funny bit on NPR yesterday with the press gaggle confronting John Bolton — as if the failure to get meaningful reform would cow him — which gave him the opportunity to point out that the UN is so dysfunctional that this is the kind of garbage it produces instead of real reform.

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