Friday, April 21, 2006

The UN Proves Its Worthlessness

I've spent a lot of time bashing the UN on the website. I keep telling myself I'll stop, but the UN just keeps handing me ammunition. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. The newest item, however, is so ridiculous that it's hard to believe.

Iran has been elected as a vice-chair to the UN Disarmament Commission. Yes, that Iran. The Iran that is currently under investigation by the UN for violating its international non-proliferation commitments. The same Iran that recently used dancers waving vials of (what was claimed to be) real uranium to celebrate its first use of centrifuges to enrich uranium. That Iran.

The Commission is charged with, among other duties, deliberating on strategies to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons According to the UN Under-Secretart for Disarmement Affairs, Nobuaki Tanaka, the Commission plays a critical role in global disarmament policy through its "advantage of being a fully universal deliberative body."

Fine. It's wonderful if the UN wants to remain a truly democratic institution in which all states are treated equally and sovereignty is the main principle. But the UN can't have its cake and it eat too. If the UN wants to based on sovereignty it cannot assume, and must not be given, responsibility for dealing with major issues of international security. It simply is not capable of dealing with them. If the UN wants to seat Iran on a disarmament commission, or Sudan, China, or Zimbabwe on a human rights committee, fine. But then don't be shocked when the UN proves incapable of dealing with gross violations. And don't be surprised when other countries take matters into their own hands to enforce the laws and norms when the UN cannot do so.


stefan moluf said...

This has become simply ridiculous. It's time to rebuild the full strength of NATO.

nicolnichcov said...

NATO? I don't think so. Without the real military power of the United States, both NATO and the UN have proved their true limits/capabilities. When they act independently, without US consent, they loose at their disposal the significant coercive capabilities the U.S. provides to act in tandem with international “soft-power” or relative legitimacy. This makes either the UN/NATO weak without America, and yet, when an American agenda is proposed, these institutions are torn by debate. This is because most nations in the world security interest's are diametrically opposed to America’s. In the end, inaction and competing national interests result in debacles such as Somalia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and Darfur. These crises began as noble humanitarian missions, yet finished as a political fiascos. NATO acted way too slowly in preventing the genocide in Yugoslavia, and more recently has done nothing to date in Darfur. Their actions have all undermined the credibility of the international community as an actor in the collective interests of global citizens. The responsibility therefore lies on the United States to follow its interests when necessary, and ignore these incapable institutions. We ought not allow them to "help" unless they want to pick up the tab. As I see it we will do what’s right when we can, and if others want to help, so be it.

Antiquated Tory said...

Do any of you remember the cartoon character (I think from Li'l Abner) named General Bull Moose? His line was "What's good for General Bull Moose is good for the U.S.A.!"
What nicolnichocov is saying is that "What's good for the U.S.A. is good for the world!"
I can see where international institutions, hostage as they are to sovereignity, are not very effective except when the biggest of the sovereign states are backing their actions. I will also grant that as hegemons go, the US is comparatively benevolent. But I don't think that sticking with a world system where the biggest boy does whatever he wants and everyone else puts up or shuts up is going to be very beneficial in the long term, not even to the big boy himself (i.e. the US). What happens when the day comes that the US is no longer the sole hegemon? Or with more than one hegemon, will we go back to the Cold War system where suddenly we all back the UN or equivalent because we'll need a forum in which the big boys can work out their differences?