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[P]
The Failure of the United Nations

By GrandWazoo in Op-Ed
Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 09:02:38 AM EST
Tags: UN, UK, US, EU de Mexico, World Peace, Give Peace a Chance (all tags)

There is no doubt that we are in a time of chaos in the world. Wars and genocide are as prevalent as ever.

Misery and suffering are on every continent of the globe we call earth. The world is currently focused on the 'War In Iraq' and the problem of nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea but the sad fact is threats to world peace are as prevalent as ever in spite of the efforts of the UN.

Where do we turn? Our respective governments? Grassroots support? Does genocide on the African continent for example even matter?

It is not unreasonable to look to the United Nations for understanding and problem resolution. Presumably, we expect it to be an unbiased and peace loving organization. Yet at closer examination one begins to realize the fact that the United Nations has been a total failure in terms of world peace. Rarely has the UN brought enough countries together to form an alliance to intervene meaningfully in the affairs of an oppressive and brutal country.

With the exception of the World Health Organization little good has come from the peace making mission of the U.N. I suggest the UN go to what it does best. With its world standing already established, the UN should focus on research, education and health, the missions it does best.


According to UNICEF's own report (located at the very bottom of the linked page):

* Increasingly, wars are fought in precisely those countries that can least afford them. Of more than 150 major conflicts since the Second World War, 130 have been fought in the developing world. The per capita gross national product (GNP) of war-torn countries in 1994 included: Afghanistan (US$280), Angola ($700), Cambodia ($200), Georgia ($580), Liberia ($450), Mozambique ($80), Somalia ($120), Sri Lanka ($640), the Sudan ($480).

* Since the 1950s, more wars have started than have stopped. By the end of 1995, wars had been running in Afghanistan for 17 years, Angola, 30; Liberia, 6; Somalia, 7; Sri Lanka, 11; Sudan, 12.

* The global case-load of refugees and displaced persons is growing at alarming speed. The number of refugees from armed conflicts worldwide increased from 2.4 million in 1974 to more than 27.4 million today, the report notes, with another 30 million people displaced within their own countries. Children and women make up an estimated 80 per cent of displaced populations.

Here Is the Preamble to the United Nations Charter
* To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

* To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

* To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

* To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Unfortunately with minor exceptions, the U.N. has completely failed this mission for almost 60 years. It's relevancy in the 21st century as it is now is questionable.

The above should give us pause for thought. It should give us pause for thought because what alternative is there? The "Might Is Right" cause is as arcane as one country being the leader of world peace. What government would accept that? I am making the assumption that no country on earth has the moral high ground, that the reliance on one government is inherently doomed for failure.

I am not suggesting that the United Nations hasn't achieved some success and I am not suggesting that the United Nations is trying to establish a "One World Government". What I am suggesting is that the United Nations should be either dissolved or reorganized into a modern, 21st century peace keeping body. It's time to start over. The United Nations is obsolete as it stands today. It has become an ineffective highly bureaucratic nightmare. It has a rare opportunity to reorganize into a viable and relevant organization for world peace. An opportunity it most likely will let go by.

The UN came into being at a time when the world was without an Internet and a global economy had yet to emerge. The immediacy that is common place today did not exist when the UN was founded. Much of the activities of the UN were not known to most of the world. This is why in the first 40 years sanctions by oppressive governments were largely ignored.

Although there has not been a world war since the founding of the UN there have been quite a number of wars since its founding. The first being the Korean war. The next war that size will not be fought like any other war ever has. The U.S. tried it in Iraq twice and though it won a conventional war there it quickly evolved into the war of the future: terrorism.

On the second mission statement; "...to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights..." this has not been affected by the UN in the least. Yes, the UN affirms human rights but abuse of human rights are as prevalent as ever. This is not because of lack of effort. However, the track record is less than spectacular. A good example was the "Food For Oil" scam perpetrated on the world.

The third point, "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other source of international law can be maintained." which with exceptions, has also been a miserable failure. Most countries ignore this when convenient and embrace it when convenient. The result being a gigantic gap in credibility. In short, the UN in this regard is largely ignored.

The one area the UN has been somewhat successful is the promotion of social progress and better standards of life. The World Health Organization a UN sponsored effort has made great efforts in world health that otherwise would have been ignored.

One Way To Fix It
* Abolish the Security Council. Can anyone seriously suggest that the People's Republic of China, Ghana and the Republic of Congo adheres to the same principles of human rights as Belgium, Italy and United Kingdom do? In practice the People's Republic of Chine, Ghana and the Republic of Congo do not. Even though the principles of human rights should be universally attainable and understandable, most countries in the world couldn't care less about it. The result is that nothing meaningful gets accomplished in this area. Amnesty International does a better job.

* The UN has never accomplished its goal of abolishing war. It hasn't even come close. It should abandon this. Instead it should have an open forum available to all countries and with equal weight. Passing meaningless resolutions against Israel, China, Russia, most of Africa and the U.S. with political agendas attached, serve no purpose except to expose all the UN's weaknesses, faults and soft political underbelly.

Instead of focusing so much on the political aspects of the UN which should be given a back seat, pour the money into world education and health, something the UN does very well when well funded. Tying humanitarian actions to political sanctions only breeds spite and brutality from oppressive countries.

The UN was designed to prevent the occurrence of another global war. Making the United Nations a more viable organization, more non-political and more relevant for the 21st century is essential for its survival and relevance in a modern world. Otherwise it should be relegated to the bone yard where its present course is now headed.

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Related Links
o UNICEF's own report (located at the very bottom of the linked page)
o Here Is the Preamble to the United Nations Charter
o Also by GrandWazoo


Display: Sort:
The Failure of the United Nations | 113 comments (92 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
maybe this is naive, (2.57 / 7) (#1)
by nononoitaintmebabe on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 11:27:50 PM EST

but i've often wondered why they didn't make it a requirement that a country be a democracy in order to be on the security council.  

a couple of reasons. (3.00 / 5) (#7)
by aphrael on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 03:44:25 AM EST

one of the big lessons of the failure of the League is that the collective security arrangements would only work if all of the major powers were involved.

a UN which excluded Stalin would have been completely ineffective. As was shown once east-west relations broke down in the late 1940s: the security council became, well, completely ineffective. :)


[ Parent ]

i can (3.00 / 4) (#12)
by nononoitaintmebabe on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 12:42:27 PM EST

understand that logic.  but essentially, the security counsel is in effect, ineffective now also.
and well, i guess i think maybe when you allow non-democracies in- you are trading the short term for the long term.  

however there is also much to be said for if you don't deal with the short term, there will be no long term.  

[ Parent ]

50 character limit?! (none / 0) (#65)
by Scott Robinson on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 09:40:03 AM EST

Wasn't the USSR under Stalin a "democracy?"

[ Parent ]
That would be pointless (none / 0) (#68)
by alba on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 10:18:51 AM EST

First of all, "democracy" is a moving target. For example the Apartheid laws of South Africa were little different from the Segregation laws of the USA. And today "one man, one vote" would mean a Palestinian majority in the Knesset.

And then peace negotiations take place between enemies and disarmament treaties are required only with countries you fear. If you fear no one and think that your might makes you right, well, go ahead.

[ Parent ]

Utopian UN (none / 1) (#4)
by michaelmalak on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 01:27:11 AM EST

Let me get this straight.  The idea is to:
  • Pretend we can take away Colin Powell's podium to launch wars while constraining the UN to "helping people"
  • Pretend we can make an organization managing vast sums of money to be embezzlement-proof
  • Increase funding to the WHO contraceptive eugenics experiment and abortion mill
Scratch that -- let's go back to your first suggestion -- abolish the UN.

--
BergamoAcademy.com  Authentic Montessori in Denver
Indeed (none / 1) (#5)
by GrandWazoo on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 01:33:58 AM EST

that in fact is my first choice.

[ Parent ]
i disagree (2.90 / 11) (#6)
by aphrael on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 03:43:04 AM EST

There is no doubt that we are in a time of utter chaos in the world, wars and genocide are as rampant as they ever were.

I would call that a hyperbolic overstatement. Sure, the international arena is still an anarchy; but that anarchy is rimmed around the edges with order, as otherwise it would hardly be possible to exchange currencies between countries, or travel around the globe, or buy oranges that come from other continents.

And within states, the vast majority of them, chaos has long since been tamed.

So I, for one, doubt that we are in a time of utter chaos in the world.

It is not unreasonable to look to the United Nations for understanding and problem resolution.

That's not really what it was designed for. I dunno; is it unreasonable to expect a hammer to function as a screwdriver?

little good has come from the peace making mission of the U.N.

Tell that to the good people of cyprus and Kashmir, where the UN has monitored cease fire lines for decades.

What I am suggesting is that the United Nations should be either dissolved or reorganized into a modern, 21st century peace keeping body.

I wouldn't mind seeing the UN reorganized. But I think it's highly unlikely that a world with no UN at all would be an improvement over a world with the UN we currently have.

a global economy had yet to emerge.

There's been a global economy since well before the First World War; in fact, it was a commonplace in the waning years of the nineteenth century that the global interdependence of economies would render war between the great powers impossible.

Kinda a frightening thought, really.

what about alternatives to the UN? (none / 1) (#9)
by nostalgiphile on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 09:27:29 AM EST

EG, regional multilateral associations like ASEAN and the EU? Granted they're just big trading cartels at the moment, but in the future they have the potential to step in where the UN has failed it. Esp. recently, as ASEAN has done far more to pressure Myanmar to stop crackdown than the UN.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
regional actors (2.66 / 3) (#13)
by aphrael on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 12:46:50 PM EST

are not an alternative to a global actor. they are a more useful tool for certain problems, to be sure.

why do you think it's the UN's job to pressure Myanmar to stop the crackdown?

[ Parent ]

because the UN apparently thinks it is (none / 1) (#34)
by nostalgiphile on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 09:31:32 PM EST

their job (but can't do it because of the minority Soviet/Chi-Com vetos) to stop the crackdown (see 1st link in last paragraph of my China/Myanmar article, et al). I think the silent majority is right, and I hope that if the PRC invaded Taiwan the UN could muster the balls to issue a condemnation and impose a few sanctions.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler
[ Parent ]
Stop it? (none / 1) (#35)
by Troll Hard on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 09:34:31 PM EST

Why do you think they started it in the first place?

I've been to Thailand and I gathered intelligence about Burma/Myanmar which is close to Thailand.

It was the UN that funded the money to start the military Junta that rules Myanmar now. Thailand is pissed off over it because the UN is also funding terrorists in southern Thailand to install another military Junta there.

--------
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it! Mind over Matter Fringe Science for the win!
[ Parent ]

I added more info below the fold (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by GrandWazoo on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 12:50:13 PM EST

that seems to support my claim. It is from UNICEF.

[ Parent ]
Peace and Conflict 2008 (none / 0) (#39)
by levesque on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 11:11:35 PM EST

Executive Summary

(Unicef's numbers on Refugees seem accurate, this report doesn't include them)

[ Parent ]

Even reforms wouldn't work (3.00 / 8) (#20)
by godix on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 05:17:03 PM EST

The UN is broken but it's not something that could be fixed. The fundamental problem is that it has few ways to enforce it's will. The threat of sanctions can help but history shows actually following through and sanctioning a country devastates the average citizen while allowing the ruler to enrich himself on the black market. I can really only think of one case where a country changed it's policies after being sanctioned and even then the sanctions probably didn't have much to do with the change (South Africa). Military force kinda defeats the whole peace idea. Diplomacy only gets you so far.

Then there's the question of is an effective UN even a good idea. Just look at Israel. Without getting into the whole Israel/Palestine thing it's pretty clear UN resolutions are being used as weapons against Israel by the very nations that tried and failed to defeat Israel militarily. Where's the sense in making that type of petty bureaucratic warfare actually effective?

Also note, the number of countries that are actively killing segments of their own population far outnumber what we would call 'civilized' nations. For every England there's a China running over people with tanks. For America there's a Timor. For every France there's a Rwanda. If you had a true democracy among nations what you'd quickly learn is that the tin pot dictators gunning down women and children can easily outvote the nations that want to stop it.

I suggest we leave the UN as it is, a giant podium for nations to bitch at each other instead of shooting each other. After all, while nations are trying to enact toothless sanctions against Iran they aren't bombing the shit out of Iran. So that part of the UN works as intended and leave it be.

For all the other parts of the UN outsource it. Disband the IMF and in the future just have the announce they would like country X to be aided and let the rich countries do it directly. Work with Amnesty International for human rights concerns, the Gates Foundation for health concerns, etc. The UN sucks at that sort of thing (well, except for WHO) so quit having them try doing it.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.

Wow, I mostly agree (3.00 / 4) (#21)
by tetsuwan on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 05:48:46 PM EST

"I suggest we leave the UN as it is, a giant podium for nations to bitch at each other instead of shooting each other."

This is the most important role of UN. It brings international politics out in the open, and this is a great benefit for minor nations. Without the UN or anything like it, the foreign policy of the major powers would only be public when it suits them. Consequently, the UN is less popular in the US (this we all know) and China (this I guess).

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Mild disagreement (none / 0) (#64)
by godix on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 09:10:12 AM EST

I often wonder how many US/everyone else disagreements can be explained by the fact the US has never been conquered by a foreign power while most EU countries have been within the last 100 years. I suspect this difference is at the heart of why the US doesn't like the UN much, subjecting ourselves to the will of other nations just isn't something we're used to doing. The fact the US is powerful enough to tell the UN to go fuck itself probably doesn't help either.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
Sweden hasn't been invaded the last 500 years (none / 0) (#69)
by tetsuwan on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 10:41:38 AM EST

I think the less imperialistic a country, the more its citizens support the UN.

Put in other words - a country like Sweden has no power on the internationla scene on its own. It can only work through organizations like UN and EU. We also remember our own Dag Hammarskjöld, an idealistic person who led the UN for eight years before being shot down in Zambia.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

sorry (none / 0) (#71)
by tetsuwan on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 12:01:54 PM EST

"shot down" should be replaced with "died in a possibly arranged plane crash"

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 0) (#80)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:38:04 PM EST

Sweden was invaded several times during the 30 years war.

[ Parent ]
Not really (none / 0) (#81)
by tetsuwan on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 02:10:00 PM EST

Sweden defended it's newly conquered territory against Denmark successfully. Your statement is comparable to saying that Mexico invaded the US when they fought over Texas, when they tried to recover what they were about to lose.

The last time a foreigner force killed Swedes in the core of Sweden was 1520, or during the uprising the following years, but that was mostly diplomatic power play.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

foreigner -> foreign (none / 0) (#92)
by tetsuwan on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 06:40:36 PM EST


Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Actually, I think for the most (none / 1) (#23)
by GrandWazoo on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 06:06:32 PM EST

part the UN should be dissolved as it is.

[ Parent ]
what harm is the UN doing? (3.00 / 5) (#24)
by aphrael on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 06:15:01 PM EST

it's doing some good, even if it's not doing as much good as you'd like it to. if it's not doing harm, and it's doing some good, why dissolve it?

[ Parent ]
I should have been more (none / 1) (#30)
by GrandWazoo on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 08:13:40 PM EST

clear and wasn't. I think dissolving the political functions would at least allow it to focus more on what it does well which is research, education and health.

The other thing from an American point of view, is the fact that were someone like Hitler were in the U.S. today he would have total diplomatic immunity. Granted diplomatic immunity is necessary but I am not sure I like that.

[ Parent ]

A few points (none / 1) (#63)
by godix on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 09:03:32 AM EST

A) The UN is good at political functions. The fact Iran hasn't been bombed yet shows that.

B) The UN record on health is pretty good. Their record on education and research, not so much.

C) In regards to diplomatic immunity you may want to read up about Yvonne Fletcher. There can be severe diplomatic consequences regarding what someone with diplomatic immunity does. Diplomatic immunity isn't the free ride the movies portray it as.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

what's more (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by livus on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 10:09:49 PM EST

I'm not so convinced the nations that supposedly "want to stop it" really want to, except selectively. For every America a Timor or a West Papua, but also a Freeport mine.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
IMF & World Bank nothing to do with UN (none / 0) (#41)
by bodza on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 11:29:23 PM EST

apart from draining the UN's funds. But you're right. They do need disbanding.
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]
Effectiveness of sanctions and other points (3.00 / 2) (#43)
by bodza on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 11:44:12 PM EST

The problem with sanctions is that companies can and will use whatever means open to them to keep dealing with unpopular regimes. Witness many Anglo-Australian mining companies happily operating in sanctioned Zimbabwe. And every arms-producing nation's sales to just about anybody who has the money.

The difference in South Africa was that activists invested a lot of time and effort unmasking those who were taking part in these activities and organising secondary boycotts.

The people who make money from unpleasant regimes have learnt from that experience and are not so easily outed. In addition, we the sheeple are not as interested in changing our habits based on bad things occurring far away.

On your other points, how will Amnesty International take over the work of the UNHCR and UNICEF when they're not even allowed into about half the countries of the world?

And eradicating smallpox from the world really showed the UN sucking at health concerns, didn't it? The WHO is the UN doing healthcare.
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]

Amnesty International (2.00 / 2) (#61)
by godix on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 08:44:35 AM EST

would at least not put nations butchering their citizens on their board of directors. Lets look recent human rights history at the UN. The US kicked off UNCHR ( United Nations Commission on Human Rights) because Europe disagrees on some of it's policies, and these aren't even human rights policies that got it kicked off. Sudan was put on the council and Libya was head of it for awhile. And just to give the concept of human rights one more kick to the teeth the commission never bothered much about what was happening in Darfur, it took the security council to get the UN involved in that. Eventually the UN scrapped the commission and replaced it with the United Nations Human Rights Council. This was done specifically to keep human rights violators off the council and is so effective that China, a nation running over it's own people with tanks, is on it. As is Egypt, a nation frequently accused of torturing suspects. Plus there's Indonesia, the country that brought us the massacres in Timor. And lets not forget Bosnia and Herzegovina, fresh off of ethnic cleansing just a decade or so ago and ready to fight for human rights worldwide. Despite the presence of such noble bastions of human rights as these; to date the Human Rights Council has criticized Israel multiple times but not once said a thing about Darfur, North Korea, Burma/Myanmar, etc. There's a certain irony about a group founded mainly in response to the holocaust to turn around and bitch about jews while ignoring state sponsored mass murders around the world.

So long story short, the only positive thing I could say about UN human rights record is that at least the UN isn't actively out fucking over people themselves. Except UN peacekeepers are busy raping the people they're supposed to protect so I guess I can't even give them that much. That's why any UN human rights concerns should be left to almost anyone except the UN. Amnesty International may not have access to all places in the world but at least they aren't a sick joke like UNCHR and the Human Rights Council are.

As for WHO, I did say that is the one exception to the UN's long record of fucking things up. WHO is the only thing the UN has ever done which actually had results. They're the sole UN offshoot I'd keep around. However I think they should work closely with the Gates Foundation or any of the dozens of other health related NGO's to be really effective. Currently it seems that each group acts like it's tackling AIDS, malaria, etc. all alone so I imagine there's lots of work being duplicated which doesn't have to be. Fortunately if you follow NGO's much over the last several years there has started to be the close cooperation like this so that's heading in a good direction.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

Bitching about Israel (none / 0) (#67)
by bodza on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 10:15:06 AM EST

Unfortunately, you're right about the various Human Rights Councils and Commissions. And as long as the US refuses to participate in the council, it's unlikely to move its focus away from Israel. I'll concede that replacing that mess with Amnesty couldn't make things worse. But it's still an insignificant part of the UN as a whole.

It's interesting that the Security Council rejected Kofi Annan's proposal for a UN Security Council where voting rights are proportional to the financial and military contributions of member states. Maybe then peacekeepers could be deployed who have sufficient food, equipment and training so as not to make things worse than before they arrived.

Finally, the Gates Foundation does a lot of great work, but you cannot effectively tackle TB, Malaria and HIV transmission and treatment and insist on respecting intellectual property law.
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 0) (#110)
by kromagg on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 03:24:44 PM EST

Then there's the question of is an effective UN even a good idea. Just look at Israel. Without getting into the whole Israel/Palestine thing it's pretty clear UN resolutions are being used as weapons against Israel by the very nations that tried and failed to defeat Israel militarily. Where's the sense in making that type of petty bureaucratic warfare actually effective?

I must be missing something here. China, France and the UK failed to defeat Israel militarily? When was this war fought?



[ Parent ]
War of aggression (2.33 / 3) (#27)
by alba on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 07:16:44 PM EST

Waging a war of aggression is a crime under customary international law and refers to any war waged not out of self-defense or sanctioned by the UN.

Problem is, the invasion of Iraq by the US is no different than the invasion of Poland in 1939. And the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg did actually hang people for this.

So any American crying for "reform" or outright abolishment of the UN are really just a preparing the grounds for future war crimes.

Why do they hate you so little?



Well, (2.00 / 3) (#31)
by trhurler on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 08:18:44 PM EST

Another way to look at this is, the UN would have sanctioned wars when it was created that it would never sanction now for purely political reasons, and has thus outlived its usefulness - it has become an obstacle to dealing effectively with tyrants rather than an instrument to help deal with them.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Typical Permanent Seat line (2.33 / 3) (#40)
by bodza on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 11:22:24 PM EST

The UN is redundant because it:
  • Won't sponsor our resource wars
  • Gives a hard time to our puppet kleptocrats
  • Gives a voice to Cuba/Venezuela/Taiwan/Chechnya/Algeria and all those other malcontents we don't approve of
I assume you'd prefer to see the UN replaced by coalitions of the cowed and self-interested?
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]
Sir, (1.50 / 2) (#42)
by trhurler on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 11:34:47 PM EST

Your moral relativism is appalling. A voice is one thing; letting Fidel Castro's government have a seat on a human rights committee is like asking the KKK to provide security for an NAACP rally. The UN has no decency whatsoever, regardless of any political squabbles you care to expound upon, and as such is the enemy of any decent person.

What "voice" is being heard when the UN refuses for YEARS to do anything about a genocide, and then finally agrees to augment an AU force that has been totally ineffective AFTER years of slaughter and rape?

What "voice" is being heard when those "malcontents" decide it isn't necessary to help Afghanistan in previously promised ways because the US "committed procedural errors" along the way?

What voice is being heard when the UN would rather let Iraqis die in huge numbers than risk being seen by Algeria or Venezuela or someone as "condoning" the Iraq war (which is a ridiculous notion since everyone knows better?)

The UN is a weak, pathetic obstacle to progress. Sure, it gives a voice to dictators, communists, and mass murderers the world over. Is that really your priority?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Strange but telling example (none / 0) (#45)
by bodza on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 12:02:25 AM EST

I can think of 50 countries with worse human rights records than Cuba's. Why do you object so strongly to their presence? Cuba's medical aid to other nations is legendary to all nations of the world except the one which has done everything in its power to prevent Cuba's humanitarian work. Do the US' admitted efforts to perform false flag terrorist attacks in Cuba and Florida deny them a right to a seat when human rights are discussed?

Why Cuba should have a voice in humanitarian issues

A BBC Business version in case you don't trust the socialists at the Guardian
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]

Yeah, moral relativism had you pinned down (none / 0) (#49)
by Blond Treehorn Thug on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 12:55:32 AM EST

in the first place

I am amused by the simplicity of this game. Bring me your finest meats and cheeses.
[ Parent ]
How? (none / 0) (#52)
by bodza on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:20:15 AM EST

Moral relativism asserts that particular actions are only good or evil based on context. I don't see how anything I've said supports that. I've said that Cuba has done some good things alongside the bad, much like every other nation on the planet. I also pointed out Cuba's extraordinary efforts in providing health care, doctors and more recently biotech to other developing countries.

Some moral absolutes for you:

  • Providing free medical education for doctors from developing countries is good
  • Providing drugs and drug making technology to countries that don't have the ability to make them is good
  • Sending thousands of fully trained doctors around the globe every year is good.

You seem to be saying that a country is good or evil and that a country's right to speak on any issue is dependant on them having never performed any questionable actions. The UN building would be empty if this was the case. In fact, this is the very same argument people try to use to attack the US who I also put in the category of flawed state which also makes extraordinary efforts to improve the lot of people around the world.
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]

You have deduced quite a bit of (none / 0) (#53)
by Blond Treehorn Thug on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:22:21 AM EST

what I "seem to be saying" based on one very non-specific sentence

I am amused by the simplicity of this game. Bring me your finest meats and cheeses.
[ Parent ]
I apologise (none / 0) (#55)
by bodza on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:50:13 AM EST

Can I ask then how I'm pinned with moral relativism for pointing out that Cuba has made some positive contributions to global health?
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]
That's not why you're being pinned (none / 0) (#57)
by Blond Treehorn Thug on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 02:21:28 AM EST

with moral relativism

I am amused by the simplicity of this game. Bring me your finest meats and cheeses.
[ Parent ]
YHBT (none / 0) (#70)
by tetsuwan on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 10:48:01 AM EST

ignore the idiot

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Bwahahaha (none / 1) (#51)
by trhurler on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:18:46 AM EST

First of all, you can't "think" of 50 such nations - you can read them off a list made up by people like, say, Cuba. You probably can't name 50 nations off the top of your head at all.

Second, medical aid aside (and see below,) their human rights record is awful. Criticize the government, go to prison. Try to earn a decent living, go to prison. Start any sort of business, they seize it. Earn specialized training, you are now a slave of the government and will do what you're told or else. And so on.

Third, "Operation Northwood" was never attempted, moron. It was a plan that got scratched because it was insane. Why do you feel the need to lie to make your "point?"

Fourth, Cuba's "medical aid" is a lot like the former USSR's "economic assistance" or the US foriegn aid program (which is admittedly fucked up.) It is self serving, has much less impact than its proponents claim, and always comes with strings attached even if you don't see them in the news articles.

Fifth, if I don't trust the socialists at the Guardian, why would I trust the socialists at the BBC? And even if I trust them, why does developing one vaccine mean they're a human rights leader? Hey, let them sell their medical breakthroughs. That's hardly the same thing as believing they treat their people properly. Conflating the two is a sign that you're a complete and utter fucking retard.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
OK, here's a few (none / 1) (#54)
by bodza on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:46:21 AM EST

Iraq under Saddam, Myanmar, China, Sudan, Bhutan, Colombia, Syria, Central African Republic, DRC, Kurds in Turkey, the Ogoni in Nigeria, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Jordan, North Korea, The Diego Garcians, Sri Lankan Tamils, West Papuans in Indonesia, Australian Aboriginals, West Saharans in Morocco.

You got me, I'd have to do some research to find more. Where did I argue that Cuba treats its people decently? I've argued that their contribution to world health is out of proportion with their size and GDP and that they would likely have a positive contribution to make in this area, particularly if the pointless embargo on medical exports was lifted.

I don't discount the US' many contributions to economic development and human rights because of their actions to protect their economic interests over the human rights in affected countries. I'm asking for the same consideration for other states.

Castro's no saint, but I'm curious as to why he attracts so much venom from Americans.
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]

Bhutan? (none / 0) (#79)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:37:21 PM EST

What's Bhutan doing on that list?

[ Parent ]
places with worse HR records than cuba (none / 0) (#78)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:36:55 PM EST

Clearly: North Korea, Myanmar, Congo-Zaire, Tajikstan, Sudan, Somalia.

Arguably: Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan.

Not fifty, to be sure. And nasty company. But it's not at all difficult to come up with some examples.

[ Parent ]

Revisionism (none / 1) (#60)
by alba on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 06:42:24 AM EST

By design the UN is a place for governments to talk to each other. It never was a democracy, a world-police or a world-government. The unconditional veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council takes care that no utopian resolution backed by a majority of members goes against the reality of military might.

For example any resolution conceived by Israel to be disadvantageous has und will be vetoed by the USA. This is not failure of the UN but the correct reflection of reality: anyone messing around with Israel will anger Congress and the Administration. Fortunately this fact can be checked by mere words in the UN assembly instead of military action.

Being willing to ignore the UN really means that the US doubts that vetoes from other permanent members of the Security Council are backed by military power. "Sure, Russians and Chinese don't like it, but these chickens are to weak to interfere".

[ Parent ]

revisionism? (none / 0) (#77)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:35:14 PM EST

the UN was not designed as a place for people to talk to each other. It was designed as a place for the great powers to come together for collective security in the hopes that collective security would reduce the dangers inherence in a multipolar state.

It was intended to fix the problems of the League of Nations, one of the most important of which was that it had no enforcement power.

It turned into a place for people to talk to each other because, once the USSR and the US stopped considering each other allies, the collective security mechanism collapsed.


[ Parent ]

seem to recall vaguely (none / 0) (#111)
by kromagg on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 03:29:39 PM EST

that the general assembly can pass a resolution over the security council's veto with some sort of ridiculous majority. Or am I misremembering this?

[ Parent ]
eh? (none / 1) (#76)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:33:20 PM EST

i can think of lots of ways the invasion of Iraq was different from the invasion of Poland:

  • Iraq had been a pariah state for more than a decade before the invasion; Poland was not.

  • Iraq was in violation of numerous standing resolutions of the international community's governing body; Poland was not.

  • Iraq was ruled by a brutal dictator; Poland was not.

I wasn't in favor of the decision to invade Iraq, and spoke out against it here, among other places. But your comparison is absurd.


[ Parent ]
Pariah state, right (none / 1) (#82)
by alba on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 02:21:10 PM EST

Both Poland and Iraq
  • did not threaten their attackers
  • did not have the means for such a threat, anyway
  • were nevertheless attacked under the pretext of imminent danger
  • were looted by occupying forces
  • were considered inferior societies; just substitute "pariah state" with "slawische Untermenschen"
  • featured political systems despised by their attackers
Ironically the "numerous standing resolutions" were in consequence to a war of aggression (the invasion of Kuwait). Since it committed the same crime the US should really suffer the same consequences. But then might does make right.

[ Parent ]
eh? (none / 1) (#83)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 02:29:52 PM EST

were considered inferior societies; just substitute "pariah state" with "slawische Untermenschen"

"pariah state" is a comment about the system of government. "slawische Untermenschen" is a comment about the people.

They're not analagous terms whatsoever.

The closest equivalent to 'slawische Untermenschen' in the American lexicon is 'sand niggers'.

[ Parent ]

Saddam Hussein ruled from 1979 to 2003 (none / 0) (#84)
by alba on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 03:39:59 PM EST

And the system of government (a secular one party system) was established by a coup in 1968. Up to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 his regime enjoyed support of the West. Especially during the war against Iran from 1980 to 1988.

Ironically the expedition to Kuwait featured far less atrocities than the preceding eight-year war. Made up stories of killed babies, ridicule in movies like "Hot Shots!" and tendentious news coverage (e.g. insisting to call Mr. Hussein only by first name) served to dehumanize the country.

Outright racist slur like "sand nigger" violates political correctness. I think it's misleading to measure historical propaganda on a word-for-word base. There is a strong element of fashion. For example I doubt whether the campaigns of Franklin D. Roosevelt would have a chance today, unless translated to the language of Fox News.

[ Parent ]

yes and no (none / 1) (#85)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 04:07:58 PM EST

Up to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 his regime enjoyed support of the West. Especially during the war against Iran from 1980 to 1988.

I'd argue that it was wrong of the west to support him then. But that doesn't really matter one way or another to my point that Saddam's government was nothing like Poland's government in the 1930s.

Ironically the expedition to Kuwait featured far less atrocities than the preceding eight-year war.

Granted. What made Kuwait different was the timing: in the flush of optimism after the end of the cold war, many people thought the UN could actually be used for the original collective security purpose. That wasn't an option when the Iran-Iraq war began, but it was when Kuwait was invaded.

It turned out to be an overly optimistic dream, alas.

I think it's misleading to measure historical propaganda on a word-for-word base.

Sure. But it's far more misleading to allege that a term which is based on ideological dislike for certain government types is equivalent to a term which is based on racism.

Unless you want to argue that expressing a preference for one form of government over another is per se racist.

[ Parent ]

On timing (none / 0) (#90)
by alba on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 06:39:09 PM EST

I agree that the specific time frame is crucial in understanding Kuwait. However, I don't buy that hippie stuff about "Let's give the world-police a chance" .

In 1989 the Warsaw Pact collapsed and the Soviet Union started to disintegrate. China feared the same fate and reacted with force at the Tiananmen Square Massacre. So when a decade long lackey of the US turned against its former master, there was neither sympathy nor energy for an intervention.

[ Parent ]

Are you retarded? (2.83 / 12) (#32)
by LilDebbie on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 08:49:53 PM EST

While I must confess to giving the UN a ton of shit for their failures in many areas they propose to fix, the one thing it has accomplished was the primary reason it was created: to prevent WWIII. It provided a place for the US and USSR to jockey for supremacy without going to out and out war.

Symmetric warfare is a thing of the past and good fucking riddance. It was devastating enough when we didn't have nukes. Do you have any idea how many people would die in a modern symmetric war between two great industrial powers? Even if neither side employed nukes, the numbers would still be astronomical.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Wouldn't that be something you'd actually say (none / 0) (#33)
by Stick Apart on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 09:13:45 PM EST

"DO WANT" to?
-------
> "I think it could easily be around 200 million people dead because of gun control." - V

SUPPORT A TEXT-FRIENDLY INTERNET
[ Parent ]

Newsflash! (1.16 / 6) (#36)
by Troll Hard on Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 09:36:35 PM EST

The UN is giving money to terrorist groups and military Juntas to start World War III so the UN can profit from it.

Wake up! Follow the money!

--------
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it! Mind over Matter Fringe Science for the win!
[ Parent ]

got any evidence of that (none / 0) (#75)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:31:53 PM EST

beyond what you've inferred from circumstance?

[ Parent ]
I had evidence once (none / 0) (#87)
by Troll Hard on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 05:24:34 PM EST

but the law firm I worked for screwed me out of a job, poisoned me, forced me to go on disability and kept my personal papers and only gave me back a fraction of them. All of the evidence I collected was either shredded by them, or went into hiding.

Besides you wouldn't believe it anyway, because you are so believing the propaganda they pass off as news and media these days anyway, so even if I could show the papers to you, you wouldn't believe them.

--------
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it! Mind over Matter Fringe Science for the win!
[ Parent ]

you know (none / 0) (#88)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 05:46:32 PM EST

if you can't present evidence, and all you have is speculation and innuendo, why should you be believed?

i think it's unfair to accuse someone of nefarious deeds unless you have evidence of nefarious deeds.

[ Parent ]

Why not (1.50 / 2) (#89)
by Troll Hard on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 05:56:14 PM EST

isn't that what the news and media companies do? Isn't that what people here on Kuro5hin do to me?

I could get evidence if I am allowed back into a law firm that handles things for the UN, Democratic Party of America, etc. But my career has been ruined. But I guess them ruining my career is not enough evidence for you of their nefarious deeds?

Alex Jones is believed and he doesn't present any evidence, just speculation and innuendo, heck most 9/11 conspiracy theories are speculation and innuendo and people believe them. I just do not have the media/news/manipulation skills to turn speculation and innuendo into evidence as a majority of the people behind these nefarious deeds seem to have in order to cover up the evidence of them.

So spending $10 trillion on socialist programs on third world nations for the poor, and the poor not even getting a dime of them is not enough evidence for you for nefarious deeds? Nothing will convince you then, even if I get key UN members to admit to nefarious deeds you'd still not believe it.

--------
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it! Mind over Matter Fringe Science for the win!
[ Parent ]

Some evidence for you (none / 1) (#91)
by Troll Hard on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 06:39:36 PM EST

that others have gathered:

American Bashing UN should get lost

More reasons why the United Nations sucks

The UN and why it fails to do its job

The UN has a corrupt oil for food program, sexually harasses women in Africa, why the UN fails in Dafur

The UN uses their observers as shields for Hezbolla and other terrorist networks

Iran ignores UN measures anyway because the UN doesn't enforce them

What is wrong with UN peacekeepers

Eye on the UN how the UN funds terrorist networks

Anti-Semitism in the United Nations

The UN is a human rights nightmare

The tie of the Democrats to the UN

Saddam and Syria colluded under the UN's watch

Challenging the UN's darker side

The video that the UN banned and doesn't want you to see

Christian Groups claim the UN is controlled by the Anti-Christ

You can read more at the UN Watch website.

--------
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it! Mind over Matter Fringe Science for the win!
[ Parent ]

I appreciate the last link (none / 0) (#101)
by tetsuwan on Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 03:15:32 AM EST

It makes it unnecessary to regard the others

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Just links that support what I am saying (1.00 / 3) (#102)
by Troll Hard on Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 11:51:11 AM EST

but yeah the last link says it all.

--------
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it! Mind over Matter Fringe Science for the win!
[ Parent ]
Are you fucking nuts? (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by V on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 03:11:37 AM EST

I fucking miss symmetrical warfare. Right now is just like watching someone play startcraft with all the cheats against a retarded AI.

Maybe there's hope of some war in Africa or South America, but it'll be like watching re-runs of WWI/WWII.

V.
---
What my fans are saying:
"That, and the fact that V is a total, utter scumbag." VZAMaZ.
"well look up little troll" cts.
"I think you're a worthless little cuntmonkey but you made me lol, so I sigged you." re
"goodness gracious you're an idiot" mariahkillschickens
[ Parent ]

You missed one just recently (none / 1) (#59)
by bodza on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 04:33:24 AM EST

The Second Congo War. A dozen armies, millions dead, trenches, jungles, senseless charges through minefields, the works. Just black fellas though, so not heavily featured on CNN or Fox.
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]
I think it's unclear (none / 1) (#74)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:31:25 PM EST

how much responsibility can fairly be ascribed to the UN. Would MAD, of itself, have prevented war between the USSR and the US?

[ Parent ]
MAD wasn't developed until later (none / 0) (#93)
by LilDebbie on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 09:37:51 PM EST

and yes, I'd agreee that it is a more effective deterrent to symmetrical warfare than the UN. That said, neither side had overkill capacity until what, late Sixties? Mid-Seventies? It's not like we weren't itchin' to kill each other before then.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
the UN wasn't too effective before then, though (none / 1) (#95)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 10:41:47 PM EST

It was troops under a UN flag that fought a proxy war with Soviet-backed China in Korea, since the USSR made the mistake of boycotting the Security Council long enough for the US to get a war-authorizing resolution through. So that wasn't a very auspicious start. It didn't turn into WWIII, sure, but I'm not sure the UN is responsible for that.

[ Parent ]
The UN fought in Korea? (none / 0) (#96)
by LilDebbie on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 10:56:21 PM EST

You're shittin' me.

...googling...

Woah, apparently not. Why didn't they ever teach of yonder days when the UN had hair on its balls?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

well (none / 0) (#97)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 10:59:25 PM EST

It was basically the US and allies fighting in Korea, but they voted themselves the right to fly the UN flag since the USSR was gone and couldn't object.

[ Parent ]
poor reasoning (none / 0) (#112)
by Liar on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:02:33 AM EST

The closest we've come to WWIII wasn't resolved in the UN. It was conducted mostly through secret deals between Khrushchev and Kennedy over missiles in Cuba.


I admit I'm a Liar. That's why you can trust me.
[ Parent ]
Who cares? (3.00 / 3) (#46)
by cdguru on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 12:30:01 AM EST

The idea of the UN was to create a slightly effective debating society.  It is that and little else.  It is fulfilling exactly what it was designed to do.

Read up on post-WWII thinking on how to really have an effective body towards preventing WW III from ever happening.  Pretty much it would come down to removing national control from armies and ceding them over to the UN.  So the UN is the only ones with an army.  Nuke any resistors into oblivion because they constitute an unacceptable risk to the planet.

Would we have had a Korea? A Bosnia, a Sudan, or anything like it? No.  It would have been impossible.  Korea was a problem because the folks in the North were backed by the Chinese military.  Bosnia was a problem because the Serbian army was the problem.

Would this have resulted in a single world government?  Maybe.  It certainly would have not solved any of the problems we see with the UN today - bureaucracy, corruption and politics.  It just would be an effective debating society with teeth.

The basic problem with sanctions is not that they don't work.  The problem is they work all too well on the target in general.  However, the one fact that many in the US and EU cannot comprehend is that the leaders in many places simply don't care what their subject population thinks.  It is irrelevant.  So while sanctions hurt, it doesn't hurt the people in control of what resources there are.  Since they can steal and horde what there is, is just makes the situation worse for the powerless man in the street.  Do you believe these people fear revolution?  Hardly.

Applying sanctions where the leaders have little or no interest in their subject populations are pointless.  Only direct threats to the leaders are going to have an effect.  With the Soviet Union there was some doubt how important the respect of the man in the street was to the leaders - so we targeted the leadership and command and control facilities where the military leadership would be.  If we just threatened the bread supply for Moscow it probably would not have made much difference.

The same applies everywhere else in the world.  The Iranian leadership is not going to be threatened by cutting off Western jeans to the population.  Sanctions that would do that aren't going to have any effect.  Direct threats to the leadership either from the EU and US or UN might.  Today, the UN doesn't have anything to threaten with.

So the real question is, would the world feel comfortable with the UN owning all the nuclear weapons?

the *idea*? (none / 1) (#73)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:30:52 PM EST

The idea of the UN was to create a slightly effective debating society

That's pretty much not consistent with anything written by the people who sponsored its creation and who lobbied for it during the war. The idea was to provide a mechanism of collective security which, unlike the League's, would work.

That had failed within a few years after the UN's creation, alas.

[ Parent ]

Yes, but (none / 0) (#98)
by cdguru on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 11:35:38 PM EST

It is fine to look at some stated objectives.  The problem is that it was clearly known what would happen without meaningful enforcement and they went ahead and did it anyway.

In 1948 you could easily predict that the US and the Soviet Union would not be allies permanently.  Putting them in a position where each could veto the other ensures a debating society and nothing more.  This wasn't a surprise to anyone.

[ Parent ]

1948? (none / 0) (#100)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 12:37:56 AM EST

could you have predicted that in 1943-44, when most of the design decisions were made?

[ Parent ]
Failure of the Security Council. The UN is ok (3.00 / 5) (#47)
by bodza on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 12:47:38 AM EST

Most of the complaints in the article are about the action or inaction of the Security Council and to a lesser extent the DPKO and UNMOVIC.

The compromise inherent in the foundation of the Council has led to it being relatively ineffective in dealing with abuse by both the permanent and temporary members. Possibly the worst example of this was in 1994, when Rwanda had a temporary seat and was thus privy to all communiques from the UN forces on the ground in the country.

As has been pointed out however, the UN has succeeded in its mission of preventing war between the permanent members. I'm yet to read any credible suggestions on how to address the other issues. Disband the UN is not a credible suggestion unless you can provide a replacement for those parts of the UN that do work.

And here's a list of some other departments and programmes of the UN that I think have done good things:

  • UNDP: I've worked with the UNDP in Sub-Saharan Africa on projects in technology, healthcare and micro-credit and found them to be very effective and leaner than all but the most altruistic of charities. The UNDP is based on the "teach a man to fish" philosophy and has a particular focus on empowering women to improve their own and their children's lives.
  • UN Volunteers: What I like about the UNV is that where possible, they source volunteers from the region in which they're working. Some friends of mine in Malawi, itself a very poor Central African nation, were recruited by UNV to go to Mozambique to help clear land mines and to provide support to the people emerging from nearly 30 years of civil war.
  • World Food Programme
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Anyway, there's a selection. You can find more here.
--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

Although I disagree with disbanding (none / 1) (#50)
by dakini on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:00:51 AM EST

the UN, I will vote this up as you have done well in pointing our your views. To me, the UN has in fact assisted with preventing another world war for the past 60 years. They have enabled countries to debate, bitch or piss in each others corn flakes, which I believe has been for the good. The other programs they provide also benefit mankind.

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
it's also (3.00 / 2) (#72)
by aphrael on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 01:29:29 PM EST

sparked a good discussion, which is a reason to vote section, at least. :)

[ Parent ]
right and wrong (none / 1) (#86)
by codejack on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 04:45:25 PM EST

First, I think we should acknowledge the success of UN intervention in Yugoslavia in the 1990's; while more could certainly have been done, the fact is that it would have been infinitely worse had the UN not intervened.

Second, you have the right crime, but the wrong culprit; yes, the Security Council is largely responsible for the ineffectiveness of many of the UN's programs. China, Ghana, and Congo are among the LEAST culpable of interfering with the UN's mission, though. If you want to know who is, I suggest you go look up which country has used the veto most often, and why.

But no matter, the solution is the same: dissolve the Security Council and allow direct votes without vetoes.


Please read before posting.

vetoes don't tell the whole story (none / 1) (#94)
by Delirium on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 10:35:04 PM EST

Vetoes are only really used when the other countries (the ones not vetoing) have some political point they'd like to make, which leads them to force a formal veto on the record instead of just withdrawing the objected-to legislation.

The U.S. uses its veto relatively frequently because when it comes to Israel (what the U.S. mainly differs over), people like to make political points. China uses its veto relatively infrequently because when it comes to third-world human-rights abuses (what China mainly differs over), the rest of the Council doesn't really care enough to piss off China by forcing the issue. That's why there was no resolution over Burma for China (and possibly Russia) to veto, even though the US, UK, and France would've supported one.

[ Parent ]

Wha? (none / 0) (#106)
by codejack on Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 07:56:22 PM EST

Dude, Israel is a human rights abuse issue.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
did I say anywhere it wasn't? (none / 0) (#107)
by Delirium on Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 08:07:51 PM EST

My argument was:
  • Countries like to make political issues out of things that are Israel-related. Therefore, they force vetoes on the issue.
  • Nobody on the Security Council has much interest in making a political issue out of human-rights abuses in third-world countries. Therefore, if China pushes back, nobody cares enough to force them to actually veto a resolution.
In short, Israel makes good politics, while Burma doesn't. Therefore, there are veto showdowns with the U.S. over Israel, but China can get away with backdoor stalling over Burma.

[ Parent ]
Quite possible (none / 0) (#108)
by codejack on Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 10:50:15 PM EST

I don't look at it quite in the same way, but neither do I claim to be infallible; you may very well be right.

Mainly, it's a chicken and egg question; which came first, our support of Israel, or the "good press"?

China has always taken a more...subtle approach to foreign policy.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
It could not be infinitely worse (none / 0) (#103)
by sholden on Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 01:08:05 PM EST

There was a worst case and it's finite.

Something like:

One faction steals a nuclear warhead from the Russians, detonates it. America responds, Russia responds, all human life is destroyed.

Still finite. Cases more probably than the Sun deciding to go nova this afternoon weren't so extreme, basically reminding Europe how to do ethnic cleansing half a century after they shouldn't need reminding. Even "more finite"...

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
The queue and the discussions today (none / 1) (#99)
by GrandWazoo on Mon Oct 01, 2007 at 11:48:05 PM EST

are the best thing about this story.

Kurons never cease to amaze, enlighten and delight me in the most unexpected ways...excellent.

Global Federalism is the best solution (2.33 / 3) (#104)
by tcahill on Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 02:45:19 PM EST

We are global in every way that matters. We are all the same species, and we all came from the same father and mother (true, regardless of if you embrace one of the major theologies or evolution for your understanding of creation). We all breathe the same air and drink the same water.

The UN, both in its mandate and its actual performance really do represent the best hopes of humankind. To Paraphrase Churchill "The U.N. is the worst form of government possible, except when you consider every other alternative".

Nation-states emerged as the best expression of embodied will that could pragmatically be assembled at the time of their emergence. That was a time of very low interdependence and interchange. Increasingly, the issues that matter most to the most people are not confined to any single national border. Even numbskull neo-conservatives are having to admit that no nation can go it alone.

The UN would of course benefit from reform, and there are a lot of devils in those details. However, the UN makes the most sense in conjunction with several other global bodies, such as the international criminal court, world bank, IMF, and WTO, among others. These other organizations should be seen as other elements of a Global Federation. Some function as executive branches, and others as judicial. Clearly the UN assembly is the legislative body. A reformed Security Council could serve as the Executive branch, and be made accountable to the assembly. Each Nation's military resources would be maintained as National Guards, and remain attached to national governments, but would be made subordinate to the UN Executive council.

All of the other intergovernmental bodies would be rolled under the jurisdiction of one of the three Global Federal structures.

Consider the implication for just one major intergovernmental body, the WTO, if it were made subject, to the approval of the UN Assembly and managed by the reformed executive council.

The fundamental issue motivating war in the undeveloped world is TRADE!. We all hear about free trade, and most of us think that we live under a free trade regime. In fact, huge amounts of trade remain constrained by national and regional barriers. Textiles and Agriculture are the two most significant. These are the two industries that the undeveloped world most rely on economically, and it is these industries that are shut out. The undeveloped world would rapidly move toward developed status if there was a subsidy-free free market in agriculture and textiles.

We have to get comfortable with the hard fact that the West is not able to call all the shots anymore. However, we still have huge influence. This is the time for concerted negotiations to empower the UN. In fifty years, we will be in much poorer condition to set terms of reform.


they needn't be effective as a military... (none / 0) (#105)
by mikelist on Tue Oct 02, 2007 at 06:30:48 PM EST

...peacekeeping entity to serve notice that sovereignty and human rights abuses are seen as abuses and subject to adverse ramifications. of course those ramifications rarely affect the intended party, kinda like the gal who spends the child support at the bar, but we can't understand that some governments aren't affected by their citizens. we may see signs of that in our current administration, but believe me, it could be much, much worse.

i concede that politics is played at the un, just like everywhere else, so results are often skewed.

still, i would rather see the ineffective monitor abuses than nobody at all(okay, amnesty international et al, but if you think the un is ineffective, you understand my point).

read up on john bolton, and explain why he is our ambassador to the un.

teach how to avoid war (none / 1) (#109)
by shokk on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 09:03:39 PM EST

The United Nations should either go around the third world teaching people how to stop hating each other for their creed or color of their skin, or give up on stopping war.  It is human nature to be brutal against one another and hard work to forgive and love.  Most of the world would rather wield a club against their fellow man as a distraction from the fact they starve in a hut and cannot afford to be a king.
"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart, he dreams himself your master."
War (none / 0) (#113)
by the77x42 on Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 02:07:42 AM EST

Stopping war will never happen. You can abolish religion and money, but there will always be avenues available. You can have all the utopian qualities you wish, but all it takes is two people with opposing views and a catalyst and you have the makings of war.

Even with strict moral codes and teachings, their interpretations can twisted into pro-war incentives. Look at what Sayyid Qutb accomplished, or Bush.

As resources on the planet diminish and our population increases, wars are going to increase. You can try to stave this off by either limiting population or limiting resources, both of which would probably lead to war.

The UN, however, is not obsolete. It is simply weak. It needs a backbone. In the security council, all countries should be represented equally, regardless of their size. It's a bloody 'union' but there are five, non-elected, permanent members? And all five need agreement on substantive matters?


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

The Failure of the United Nations | 113 comments (92 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
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