What role did the UNO play?
The UNO played a crucial role in the Cold War. Both The United States and the Soviet Union were to wage diplomacy wars through the UNO, thereby mitigating the necessity of waging the war on the ground. The UNO also enabled The United States and the Soviet Union to wage their proxy war in a more effective manner, allowing the proxy war as well to be waged diplomatically in the debating halls of the UNO rather than on the ground. To put it another way, without this exhaust valve, both The United States and the Soviet Union, and their respective proxy states, would have found themselves in more actual wars than were waged.
What role does the UNO play?
The UNO plays two roles today that make it still useful. The first was is akin to its previous role: that of an exhaust valve. The UNO allows various de facto powerless states to maintain a semblance of importance while also allowing them, and others, to blow off steam, express their grievances, and be heard by the international community. This is important because while they are busy playing diplomatic games, they will be less busy plotting an actual war or collaborating with other belligerent parties.
The second role has to do with refugees. While the UNO’s record on this is quite spotty, no one else is doing as much for refugees. States cannot deal with refugees, whether the refugees are from their state or in their state, because they are not interested and cannot generally afford it. Other states, even neutral parties, cannot get involved because any involvement will be taken as a slight to some state. So, there are financial and diplomatic reasons for states not to get involved. In their stead, the UNO gets involved and helps, to whatever degree, the world’s refugees.
What role will the UNO play?
I have no idea.
The problem is that the West, generally, have a very different perception of the purpose of the UNO and how to deal with it than the East does. The West is far more honorable in their covenants, and feel morally obliged to obey the UNO’s dictats. The East knows this and tries to have the UNO promulgate dictats that benefit the East at the West’s expense. The East views the UNO as simply another tool to use in their arsenal of pursuing their national interests. If the UNO helps, great; if not, it will be ignored.
The recent Lebanon war is an excellent example. Before the signatures on the UNO accord ending the war had dried, Hezbollah had announced it would not abide by it and would not let Lebanon disarm it; Lebanon in turn said it would not enforce this point of the accord, which Israel insisted should be included. If that element were not to exist, Israel would have no reason to sign any accord. As it turns out, it didn’t matter because Hezbollah and Lebanon had their way, disobeying the UNO, and got away with it.
Many Americans take the UNO very seriously. We shouldn’t. We should be more shrewd diplomatic players. We should use the UNO for our national interests, and not allow the UNO to endanger our national interests. We must maintain our sovereignty and not let any collection of fascists, dictators, and tyrants tell us what we should do. We shouldn’t get played; we should play them. We need to develop a more realistic perception of international politics and relations; we need to develop a spine.
Because we, The United States, have no problem with poverty-ridden, general-run, Third World dictatorships. Nor do we have any problem with refugees. But the political and diplomatic leverage that inconsequential actors can have, when they work en mass against us, is ruining us.
Furthermore, although the UNO helped keep the Cold War colder than warmer, the UNO is useless in the Global War on Terrorism. Indeed, the UNO can be a hindrance.
It may very well be that we will have to seriously consider our options, perhaps even contemplating withdrawal. We should consider whatever our national security and interests dictate, because the UNO is increasingly becoming irrelevant to our national security and interests; and, indeed, in some cases the UNO threatens our national security and interests.
(In later posts, I will explain the philosophy behind the founding of the UNO, why states join the UNO, and why states remain in the UNO.)