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Gorman: U.N. deserves DWI for its raucous budget process

The United Nations, right foreground, and the midtown

The United Nations, right foreground, and the midtown Manhattan skyline are shown in this aerial photograph in New York. Credit: AP, 2007

Picture this: a room full of distinguished United Nations delegates busy at work—debating, dealing and drinking. Not just a casual cocktail over dinner, either. Falling down drunk. Pretty soon, a DWI will stand for “delegating while intoxicated.”

At least that’s the suggestion behind a “modest proposal” made by American diplomat Joseph M. Torsella. Earlier this week, Torsella proposed banning drinking from negotiation rooms – a surprisingly controversial request aimed to speed up budgetary proceedings.

Before we pass judgment, let’s step back and put ourselves in the diplomats’ shoes: they work for a post-WWII organization based on the world order as of 1945. The General Assembly is essentially as effective as our Congress in 2010. So, as you can imagine, not much gets done. Speed and timeliness aren’t typical either.

What else are these distinguished, cultured, extraordinary men and women supposed to do in the middle of New York City?

Have another. Top it off. Figure out the rest tomorrow. Apparently the city that never sleeps only drives these folks to drink.

To gain popularity, maybe the delegates should post videos to YouTube of the shenanigans that ensue. It can’t hurt the cause.

On the off-chance that Torsella’s proposal is accepted, the next time the United Nations delegates meet, they should start with introductions.

“Hello. My name is – and it’s been – days since I’ve drunk-delegated.”