Monday, April 04, 2005

The Model UN World Conference is being held here at the University of Edinburgh during this week. They even have the UN flag flying over Teviot. This started me thinking about the UN and what is wrong with it. I have three things, which I think, will doom the UN in history. First, is the hostility of the United States of America to the UN since the end of the Cold War. Second, the rampant corruption in the Oil for Food Program. Third, the sex scandals in Africa involving peace-keeping troops. I will go into each of these points below in more detail.

Conservatives in the American government have disliked the UN since its inception after World War II. However, they used the UN as a battleground of the Cold War. After that was finished, they were finished with the UN. The US has not paid their dues to the UN in years. It has been caught up in the US Senate foreign relation committee, where Strom Thurmond ruled the roost and he was not about to give the UN a dime if he could help it.

At the same time, American citizens barely know the UN exists let alone care about the institution. Since the war in Iraq, they mostly see it as a bloated bureaucracy that cares more about its own survival than helping the people of the world. On top of that, they see governments, who are supposed to uphold the ideals of the Charter of the UN, breaking the rules all the time with no repercussions to those countries. The Sudan are members of the UN and are obliged to carry out the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but commit genocide instead. The Sudanese know for a fact that they can set the permanent members of the Security Council against each other such that they do not need to worry about retribution for their crimes. The Sudanese should have never been allowed in the United Nations and there seems no way to kick them out.

The corruption in the Oil for Food Program shows that the UN is just as corrupt as the Third World nations that is it supposed to represent and protect on the world stage. Even the Secretary-General's son was involved in the corruption. I do not believe that the Secretary-General was not involved even if it was only his stature as the Secretary-General rather than a direct involvement.

The last and third damning thing is the sex scandal involving peacekeeping soldiers in the Congo. Those soldiers were ill led and ill trained and should never have been used for this purpose. Just the fact that this happened at all is proof of my allegation. Properly led and trained soldiers would never have done this (this also goes for the American soldiers and their commanders all the way up to the President at Abu Gharib). It is another black mark against the UN. Kofi Annan should resign and allow a new leader to emerge. However, I believe it is already too late for the UN.

Why do I believe that? I believe it because the United States government has already turned its back on the organization. This is as deadly a blow to the UN as was the United States not joining the League of Nations. When the strongest nation on Earth shuns the institution, others see that and react accordingly. There is an argument to be made about how long the United States will remain the strongest in the world but for now this is the case. As the UN has become useless to the United States, it will become useless to the other Members when they realize that the United States has no interest in continuing dialog through that channel.

I am still a firm believer in the ideals of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I would love for the United Nations to turn things around but I do not believe it will happen until after Kofi Annan steps aside as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

As long as nations look only to their own advantage, the United Nations model will never work. We must see beyond our short term election cycles to the centuries beyond. Does this mean we will never have an international system that works? No. We will but we are still too immature to handle the consequences of a tight-knit world. Give us another century or so. We still so easily forget or manipulate the horrors that created the United Nations and their ideals to our own advantage than obtain the true value of the United Nations.

posted by Chris  #6:48 PM | 0 comments |