Why does the rest of the world not challenge appointments?

By Chandran Nair
Financial Times

Sir, Three international appointments in recent weeks underline a dangerous reality: in spite of all the rhetoric about a world built on sound governance and fairness, entrenched colonial and imperial attitudes are very much still the order of the day.

First, an American was predictably appointed to replace the disgraced World Bank president above calls for the process to be changed. Even if he is highly qualified, the sham of the selection burdens the new president and the organisation with a “legitimacy deficit”. Then, laughably, the British former prime minister, a man stripped of credibility in most eyes of the Middle East – and, indeed, the world – was appointed a peace envoy.

Finally, a European was nominated as the new head of the International Monetary Fund.

To the non-western world all this can be seen only as a slap in the face. It expresses a determined and covert intent to continue to dominate world affairs. It sends a clear signal that can only create more division and mistrust. It perpetuates the view that the old world order finds it impossible to relinquish power and that it has no intention of embracing the lofty principles of good governance and ethical leadership that it enjoys espousing. Yet, the question remains: why does the rest of the civilised world not challenge this hypocrisy?

Three reasons spring to mind: one, it believes it is powerless to change this archaic order through reason and dialogue; two, it understands that these organisations and appointments are meaningless, and deserve no attention, so it goes its own way; three, it fails to understand the implications of the appointments, and remains asleep at the wheel.

For whatever reason the majority keeps silent, it bodes poorly, especially for an increasingly connected world.

Chandran Nair
Founder and chief executive
The Global Institute For Tomorrow