UN: relevant or not?

October 13, 2006 at 2:50 am (Blogs, International community, Israel, Leftist idiocy, The Rest, The United Nations, The United States, The West, War)

“Fun Trivia” by Frank J. of IMAO got me thinking: The United Nations, it is said, performed a useful function helping The United States and the Soviet Union avoid direct confrontation, mainly by allowing an outlet for frustration (shoe-banging and all that). As true, or not, as this may be, it certainly is the case that The United Nations has outlived its usefulness. The only thing it does that can be said to be even remotely useful is its hadling and providing for refugees. As no state wants to deal with refugees, it’s useful for a non-governmental multinational entity to deal with it.

But the purpose for which it was established has proven to be utterly naive and practically nonsensical. It behooves us to acknowledge that war is, in fact, a natural and eternal element in humanity. We’re not going to suddenly seek to resolve our differences through diplomatic or other non-violent means.

The biggest indication of this is the demonstrable fact that The United Nations has not only been unable to prevent violence but has been impotent in dealing with it. In the horrid wars of the Balkans, it took the intervention of The United States/NATO to put an end to it. The United Nations (and, for that matter, The European Union) accomplished nothing. (This incident also makes the idea of a united European defense force and policy quite naive, impractical, and impossible as well.)

It very well may be that certain states in certain parts of the world would be more wont to settle their differences through diplomatic means, but they do not need The United Nations to accomplish this. Simple diplomatic conferences and the use of normal diplomatic channels should suffice. Even the arbitration of a third party can be done without The United Nations.

On the other hand, the perpetuation of The United Nations’ existence enables those states that have no regard for diplomacy, abiding by agreements, and peaceful resolution of conflicts. This is because they can easily manipulate and use The United Nations to present a front of love peace and using non-violent means to resolve issues while planning to implement violent means and while breaking agreements they have made. As such, more honorable states are constrained not to act on what is actually going on, considering the facade that’s been erected. Furthermore, such a regime punishes those states that seek to abide by theirs agreements while rewarding those states that break their agreements: the former are forced to live with constrained policies while the latter get away with whatever they want. All that enforces agreements and policies nowadays are really a state’s honor, trustworthiness, and international prestige.

Consider, for example, the utter disregard with which relevant states treat the supposedly binding resolutions of the Security Council. Many people will bring up the case of Israel, but equally important (if not more important) are resolutions passed regarding Lebanon (two, both of which are being disregarded by the Lebanese government and entities within it) and even Kashmir (which Pakistan and India disregard). These are only examples: they simply serve to prove that states do not take The United Nations seriously. What use, then, is there in perpetuating the existence of an entity that no one takes seriously?

In this regard, a major fallacy exists. States do not join and remain a member of The United Nations because they want to solve their problems through diplomacy or they want to foster world peace; states join and remain members to further their foreign policy and interests. They use The United Nations for their own purposes: this defines their behavior in it. And as such it should not be a surprise, then, that states will ignore resolutions and commitments that do not serve their needs or interests.

I will concede that one element of The United Nations that may be considered to be useful is the General Assembly. Although many believe the General Assembly is nothing but a glorified debating society, I would posit that it serves a useful function as such: it lets states blow off steam in a harmless manner. No one takes the General Assembly seriously (or, rather, the General Assembly is taken less seriously than the Security Council), and everyone repeats the same inane platitudes of world peace, cooperation, Western imperialistic hegemony, and so on. Let them have this platform from which insignificant states can vent their frustration. It’s just words; no actions will come from it.

But a trend in the General Assembly is worth our attention: it’s veering towards anti-Westernism. This is not so significant in the General Assembly, but this is significant in the Security Council. It seems that the Security Council, under the sway of its membership’s idiotic anti-Western ideology, is far more wont to excuse non-Western idiots than Western states and their policies, and unfairly so, I would add. This is significant because what the Security Council thinks and says has practical consequences.

What compounds this problem is the presence of two non-Western (and arguably anti-Western) permanent members on the Security Council: Russia and China. Although it may be conceded that non-Western powers and states ought to be represented among the permanent members, this argument becomes somewhat nuanced when one compares the tendencies of Western states to those of non-Western states. Namely, Western states tend not to be unfairly anti-non-Western whereas many non-Western states tend to be almost pathologically anti-Western. If many non-Western states cannot act in a rational manner, based on the facts before them, but rather act in a reflexively biased manner, then it raises the question whether there ought to be a non-Western state among the permanent members. Russia and China are already doing what they can to undermine The West.

Should The United Nations be abolished? I depends on how useful they can make themselves. The pretense of trying to secure world peace and international cooperation should be dropped and emphasis should be shifted to functions it can perform well and for which there is a need (mainly refugees and other important tasks for which a multinational entity is needed). If, however, it continues to enable dictators, tyrants, and injustice, and if states are going to be able to exploit and manipulate The United Nations, perhaps it is time it is diminished, if not abolished.



  1. John said,

    For the most part the UN is dismissed and is relevant only when those affected choose to make it so. It is indeed a joke, but has its uses. Just like with politics in diplomacy perception is everything and the UN can provide a useful fiction at times. Let those who see a bigger role for the UN dream all they want but realpolitik always triumphs over fantasy.

  2. Greer said,

    Thanks for posting this! It really helped with my assignment that I’m doing on the United Nations!

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