Model Bureaucrats

Back when I was 15ish, my school sent me to a “Model United Nations” in Dublin. This was the beginning of my decades-long distrust for bureaucrats.

I don’t think they sent me because I exhibited any particular interest in politics, I think it was because I wouldn’t shut-up in class, so naturally I might be well-suited to such an environment. I was Mexico’s ambassador, a country I knew next to nothing about at the time. That year it was Mexico’s turn to be on the Security Council.  I noticed that most of the other students seemed to view the UN as some kind of all-powerful genie, all they had to do was vote for something and, lo-and-behold, it would happen.

So I took particular pleasure in disagreeing with whichever idea seemed to be popular with the rest of the group.

There was one guy from Chicago, he seemed to be a very experienced model-UN participant. I imagined him flying around the world by private jet, from model-UN to model-UN, part of some kind of American model-UN “dream team”.

During one debate he gave an eloquent and widely-applauded speech compared India and Pakistan to two fighting children, and thus proposing that we resolve their decades-long conflict by taking away their “toys”, their nuclear arsenals.

I pointed out that comparing two nuclear-armed nations to squabbling children might not be an entirely apt analogy, it might even be a little patronising, and there may be some practical difficulties in depriving them of these “toys”. I was unanimously outvoted, the United Nations would disarm India and Pakistan.

Needless to say, I didn’t make many friends. There was a daily newsletter, mostly contributed to other student-attendees. One of them took the time to anonymously write an entire poem about me – comparing me (unflatteringly) to Mr. Bean. “Ode to Mexico on the Security Council”. Unfortunately the poem itself is lost to history.

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