31
Jul
08

On air: Is the UN impotent?

The outgoing head of UN peacekeeping has said that the UN has “reached the outer limits of its ability to police world trouble spots”. They say they’ll never be able to put together a force for Somalia and the one for Darfur is struggling.

There have been plenty of scandals involving UN forces recently, and a fair few nasty conflicts where peacekeepers weren’t exactly useful… This article defends the job that the blue helmets do…

So what is the point of the UN? Is it time we stopped expecting the UN to make a difference? Should we expect nothing from the UN?


101 Responses to “On air: Is the UN impotent?”


  1. 1 parth guragain
    July 31, 2008 at 14:39

    we should be expecting un of any constructive role in resolving crisis anywhere in the world.it is the dealing between the superpowers of the world or regional powers which help in resolving the crisis.so we can ultimately can that un has not much of role in conflict managment

  2. 2 graceunderfire
    July 31, 2008 at 14:40

    The UN is as impotent as the security council wishes it to be.
    guf

  3. 3 parth guragain
    July 31, 2008 at 14:45

    yes un doesn’t have any role in resolving conflict anywhere in the world .it is dealing between wirld superpowers and regional power which help in conflict resolving.so we can say un doesn’t have any crediability.

  4. 4 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    July 31, 2008 at 14:46

    The UN impotent? a very good term to refer to this fake organization, full of injustice, corruption, mafia, etc. In all its institutions…but I should blame its leaders for they have caused too much misery and suffering to the world…woe to them because they will be answerable to God.

  5. 5 Justin from Iowa
    July 31, 2008 at 14:51

    Oh I don’t think the “UN” specifically is such an organization of doom and gloom, Arnaud. But neither do I think its all that effective.

    Lets face it, to give the UN power is to give up some of a nation’s own power. And nations like the US, Russia, China, France, etc don’t want to do that.

    Would we be better off if the UN had some “teeth”? Probably. WIll it ever get them? Unlikely.

  6. 6 Albertine NYC
    July 31, 2008 at 14:54

    The UN has no accountability to anyone except a large group of donor nation delegates and the political bosses who appointed them largely from anti-democratic countries.

    It ,like every other bureaucracy and corporate structure, is really serving the senior job holders and politicians who put them in place, more than any other mission.

    While shareholders and non-executive boards may serve as some kind of accountability for corporates in very short-term horizons (hardly working today), there are no external outcomes metrics that the donor nations hold the bureaucracy accountable for.

    This is true for most of the NFP/tax exempt sector in the US today too, so not surprising. It is a command and control military structure, controversial or real outcomes information is controlled by the top, and disseminated selectively just like in this White House or Pentagon.

    Major donor nations view it as an expense drain supported mostly by developing country delegates from failed or anti-democratic governments, served well by their budgets with salaries and living expenses paid, etc. by a government that will not hold them accountable either.

    The people on the inside in sinecures trying to change it just get beat-up, and the appointees by US President are themselves not talented at change, but are also command and control structure people, whose only authority in life comes from the source of their appointments.

  7. July 31, 2008 at 14:57

    WHYS: Is the UN impotent? (From the email title sent from, World Have Your Say.)

    Now I will ask you. WHYS Is the UN impotent? The way itis presented it looks like a leading statement saying UN-important.

    My short answer is simple.

    “The United Nations is only as important as the Nations that reside as it’s member will have it to be.”

  8. 8 jon kiparsky
    July 31, 2008 at 15:08

    Impotent is probably the wrong word to use here. The UN is certainly not a powerful organization in any classical sense of statecraft – it is hard to come up with a case where the UN had a clear desire in international politics and exercised its will against the wishes of a strong opponent. But perhaps that would be something we wouldn’t want. Perhaps the UN serves its purpose better as a forum for developing consensus and working by influence rather than by power. If that were the case, we might expect to see something very much like the current situation: lots of talk, little “action”, and a lot of good work being done where people agree.

  9. July 31, 2008 at 15:10

    The United Nations is just forum for debates while action is carried out by countries that can bypass its resolutions. It has just the power of recommendations and condemnations in face of complex problems as in the Middle East.

    However, the UN despite its failure to resolve long-standing problems in some areas like Darfur has had some success in other areas like East Timor. The world can be worse without it. If it can’t solve all political problems, at least, it limits their worsening at a larger scale.

    The UN should reshape itself to have more credibility by cleaning its house and by having a more balanced Security council. It should make its past scandals from child sexual abuse of its peace keeping forces, fund embezzlement to arming militias. Among other things, the Security Council needs restructuring. Its current permanent members were the consequence of political powers that existed when it was founded more than 60 years ago. It’s unfair that emerging powerful countries like India remain excluded from its permanent membership.

  10. 10 Carolien from the Netherlands
    July 31, 2008 at 15:22

    Although I’m very critical of the UN, I think it goes too far to call the UN impotent. I don’t think the UN is impotent at all. I’d say the UN can be pretty powerful if it chooses to be, as graceunferfire pointed out. What many people forget is that the UN isn’t some superinstitution that can tell anyone what to do. Well, the UN can tell nations what to do, but is powerless if they don’t listen. As the outgoing head of UN PKO said: there are limits to the UN. If nations refuse to contribute troops to the UNAMID mission in Darfur, that’s it as far as the UN is concerned. Sad, but harsh reality. (Also: Iran’s nuclear program etc etc) Ignoring the UN may harm your (trade) relations with other states, but will have little direct effect in the short run. It’s an institution that helps nations communicate, peacefully hopefully, that balances the interests of nations to help reach compromise, and that does its best to maintain peace and security for all.

    The UN Charter, idealistic as it may be, was basically designed to prevent WWIII/ major power war, so far I’d say it’s been successful. Can the UN prevent all war? No, it can’t. Could the UN do more? Potentially, but this is mostly wishful thinking. What the UN is today and what it was designed to be are miles apart, and I personally think it’s wrong for people to blame the UN for everything that’s wrong with this world. The UN is flawed in many ways, this is a simple fact, but there are limits to what it can do. And until UN reform finally starts happening, we will simply have to be content with what we have.

  11. 11 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 15:24

    Hi WHYSers!

    I certainly with Abdelilah iterms of the restructuring of the Security COuncil as well as the UN’s impact on mitigating further humanitarian disasters in certain trouble spots of the world. The UN is about as powerful as the nations which comprise it. If there is no foreseeable value in ensuring the integrity of its decisions, whether through respect for the decisions taken, resources, etc., then there will be no UN of worthwhile value to speak of.

    The UN also faces a public relations problem which must also be urgently addressed. Up till very recently it was considered an arm of the American Government in the execution of its foreign policies, specifically the first and second Gulf War. Whether real or not, these concerns are key to repositioning the UN as an effective world body.

  12. 12 Andrew
    July 31, 2008 at 15:26

    Nicely put Carolien, why blame the UN if North Korea develops nuclear arms or if the US wants to invade whatever country it chooses. Put the blame where it should be at the feet of those rogue states who are intent on making the world a not so better place.

  13. 13 Shaun in Halifax
    July 31, 2008 at 15:27

    I think the UN has been hamstrung by its own inefficiencies. Look at what despots and dictators do whenever the UN passes a resolution: nothing. Most recently, Mr. Mugabe spat in the face of the UN and all his people, legally lost an election, rigged another, yet somehow is STILL managing to get included in POWER-SHARING talks. He shouldn’t be in power in the FIRST PLACE. His child soldier “war veterans” are the thugs and bullies that keep the populace in a state of fear.

    The UN SHOULD have the power to take the boots to men like Mr. Mugabe for the good of his nation and (hopefully) for stability of the region. As long as I’m on Africa: how come it has been so hard to establish stable, democratic nations on that continent?

  14. 14 Shaun in Halifax
    July 31, 2008 at 15:30

    I’ll re-print a statement I made in a previous discussion:

    Name me ONE CASE where UN sanctions and resolutions have lead to the uprising of the people and the overthrow or replacement of a despot, and I’ll rescind my opinion that the UN is impotent.

  15. 15 Andre
    July 31, 2008 at 15:32

    The UN is essentially a powerless organization when it comes to peacekeeping. It relies on troops from countries who have limited fighting power and no will to take casualties in someone else’s fight. In addition, it requires the affirmative vote of its five permanent members to do anything – a difficult enough job as is.

    I have read with interest the calls to reform the Security Council – especially the permanent members. Of the five permanent members, the two most likely to lose their seats (in my opinion), would be the U.K. and France. These countries are now only midsize powers, both economically and militarily.

    Obviously, if the U.K. and France are no longer permanent members then Europe (either in the form of the EU or Germany), would need to have a permanent council seat.

    Some people simply call for the addition of rising economic and military powers such as India or Brazil. That is a recipe for complete UN impotence. Imagine having to line up Washington, London, Paris, Moscow, Bejing, New Delhi and Brasilia in order to do anything!

    The UN has many good organs UNICEF, UNDP, ILO etcetera. However, peacekeeping is something that should be organized on a regional basis so that each region keeps its own peace. NATO’s intervention in the Balkans is a case in point.

  16. July 31, 2008 at 15:49

    The UN is like an industial complex, at times like today overextending its resoures. At times making good decessions and at times bad ones.

  17. 17 Robert
    July 31, 2008 at 15:51

    The UN like all international organizations will never hold true power. But this is not its failure because that was never its intent. It is an open forum for countries to dicuss issues and to coordinate joint actions under a sinlge umbrella.

    If the world does not wish to discuss an issue or take action, then the UN can hardly be held to blame.

  18. 18 John in Salem
    July 31, 2008 at 15:54

    The UN does best when it sticks to monitoring elections, disaster relief and providing resources to developing countries.
    As a police force it is obviously too susceptible to manipulation to be trusted with any more power than it already has.

  19. 19 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 15:59

    Just like its predecessor, the League of Nations, the U.N. is a symbol of a past, failed effort for internationalization and globalization.

    While it may continue to exist in symbolic form, it will gradually lose the little power it has now. It can issue all the reports and condemnations it wants, as long as true Patriots are alive, it will never acquire the power to control internal affairs it wants.

    The United States should immediately withdraw all funding to the U.N. to serve its national interests.

    While some Western European and San Francisco liberals may be outraged at my comment, for they would rather obey some authority in the Hague than their own elected officials, they will never succeed in their scheme to destroy national sovereignty.

    In conclusion, yes, the U.N. is impotent and will continue to become more impotent until it disappears alltogether.

  20. July 31, 2008 at 16:20

    The UN was and is a good idea, but it is impotent. Mostly because there are so many third world players who are easily corruptable and cannot seem to produce the noble character this sort of organization needs.

    Politics always interfere with the rights and wrongs of what is going on out there in the great food chain of humanity and various ideologies.

    Bush had to call it for what it was, when they refused to enforce or even forcefully mention the UN resolutions. So many nations were violating the intent of the resolutions in order to make huge sums of money from the oil for food program, and in the case of weapons sales by France and Russia……there was just too much easy money to be made from a really bad and evil dictator.

    UN good idea, but devoid of clear, right vs wrong, morality and direction.

    America contributes too much money to its existence, (UN) out of the shear hope there may occasionally be justice doled out.

    troop in Oregon

  21. 21 Justin from Iowa
    July 31, 2008 at 16:22

    Should the UN have its own “army”? Its own core force, not owing allegiance to any specific nation?

  22. 22 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 16:26

    Impotent? Interesting choice of words.

    @ Asad Babyl

    What are your objections to nations like the US funding and relinquishing some power to an international organization?

  23. 23 jon kiparsky
    July 31, 2008 at 16:31

    Shaun – the question is, do you really want an international body to be overthrowing governments? Is that what we want the UN to do? My sense is that the UN’s purpose is best served by airing the views of the world, providing a forum for consensus, and acting on that consensus when it coalesces. Frustrating, yes. Slow, yes. But unless you want the UN to have dictatorial powers – and who would wield those powers? – this is the sort of thing that will slowly, frustratingly, work.

  24. 24 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 16:32

    @Nick in USA

    My objection to the U.S. “funding and relinquishing some power to an international organization” is that it does not serve our national interests. We should be carrying a group of international demagogues on our shoulders.

    The U.N. only condems and whines about the actions of our country while we are supporting its military and financial “efforts”.

    The U.S.A. should not sacrifice its national sovereignty for those COMINTERN sympathizers.

    We should be accumulating power, not relinquishing it.

  25. 25 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 16:36

    @ Justin

    Yes, I believe the UN should have a core force that doesn’t answer to any specific nation. I don’t believe they would have much trouble recruiting either. I wouldn’t even consider joining the military here in the USA because I’d be afraid a corrupt leader would send me off to fight an unjust war, but if I were a UN soldier I would feel like I was making a difference for the better. One problem I can foresee is nations donating technology. The UN wouldn’t have any high tech weapons because the USA and Russia wouldn’t give them any of the good stuff.

  26. 26 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 16:38

    @ John in Salem

    Do you think the UN is more susceptible to manipulation than the US government?

  27. 27 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 16:38

    @ Nick

    Re: previous statement

    haha

    I meant to write:

    We should NOT be carrying a group of international demagogues on our shoulders.

  28. 28 bjay
    July 31, 2008 at 16:48

    Is the UN impotent?

    NO!
    They just don’t know how to use it,
    When they are tugged by wants – and – needs they cannot control.

    (THE LANDLORD OF U.S.A.)
    bjay connotation with accent. Hu – modarated form,com BBC.

  29. 29 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 16:50

    @ Nick in the USA

    “I’d be afraid a corrupt leader would send me off to fight an unjust war, but if I were a UN soldier I would feel like I was making a difference for the better…”

    Why do you think UN leaders are not susceptible to corruption? Are you one of those people who reject their own government in favor of some shadowy international authority? Look at the corruption and ineptitude of the UN under Kofe Anan? Still want to fight some war in the African bush at their bidding instead of defending your own country?

  30. 30 bjay
    July 31, 2008 at 16:51

    Is the UN impotent?

    NO!
    They just don’t know how to use it,
    When they are tugged by wants – and – needs they cannot control.

    (THE LANDLORD OF U.S.A.)
    bjay connotation with accent. Hu – moderated form,com BBC.

  31. 31 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 17:03

    @bjay (with proper connotative accent)

    Thank you for your valuable contribution to this dicussion. You seem to fit the mold of mainstream supporters of extended powers for the U.N.

  32. July 31, 2008 at 17:24

    For me the UN is not impotent. It helps to bring peace to Liberia by bringing in 15,000 blue helmet peace keepers with substantial military support from the USA.

  33. 33 savane, nairobi
    July 31, 2008 at 17:31

    YES!!!!!

    When’s the last time it ever implemented anything? Succcessfully??

  34. 34 Will Rhodes
    July 31, 2008 at 17:34

    As an idea, like the league of nations, the United Nations was a brilliant concept – it looked at a world that would be at peace with itself.

    We know how wrong that turned out to be – the UN is no more than a talking shop that does, well nothing.

    Child poverty is still with us, genocide is still with us, dictatorships are still with us, despotic nations are still with us.

    The question is: What do we as a world put in its place? Anything or nothing – disband it or leave it for the last investiture of diplomacy for the wealthier nations?

    The UN has lost, if it ever had it, the ability to change in the 21st century. It is impotent.

  35. 35 Shirley
    July 31, 2008 at 17:40

    Yes, the U.N. is impotent. The question is whether it is wilfully impotent. The answer to that would be no. The U.N. has been rendered impotent at the hands of certain countries who place their own interests and thsoe of their allies above the greater human welfare. Not only are major world powers unwilling to donate much-needed goods and equipment to the U.N., they place block after block against U.N. actions around the world.

    Any time that a resolution is introduced to the Security Council condemning another Israeli war crime and breach of international law, the United States vetoes it. China vetoes any UNSC resolution that attempts to rectify the situation in Zimbabwe and Sudan because its economic interests are directly tied to the despots responsible for crimes against humanity in the region.

    The Security Council is a pro-elitest joke against democratic rule. It should be abolished, its power given to the General Assembly without changing the structure of the General Assembly, and any resolutions passed by a simple majority in the General Assembly should stand with the same power as if it had come from the Security Council, without the possibility of vetoes from certain elitest major powers in this world who have proven themselves very much against the rule of law and the protection of human rights – or any others who might wish to take their places.

  36. 36 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 17:42

    @ Will Rhodes

    “The question is: What do we as a world put in its place? Anything or nothing – disband it or leave it for the last investiture of diplomacy for the wealthier nations?

    The UN has lost, if it ever had it, the ability to change in the 21st century. It is impotent.”

    That’s right, it lost in the 20th century too (a little thing called WWII).

    What do we put in place of a bad idea? Certainly not another permutation of the same bad idea!

    The idea of the UN is impracticable and inherently impotent. Liquidating the UN is the only answer.

  37. 37 Venessa
    July 31, 2008 at 17:45

    Well said Will! I don’t really think there is anything left to add.

  38. July 31, 2008 at 17:48

    UN Waste of Good Money
    Former United States UN ambassador John Bolton rightly said that the better half of the UN headquarters in New York could disappear overnight and no one would know the difference. He was right. The very essence of the UN is lost since there is no Soviet Union and no Cold War. The same with the Non-Aligned Movement. It has outlived its use.
    Take Afghanistan for instance, the majority of UN administrative staff is living it up in plush villas with swimming pools. Nothing wrong with living it up, but whose money?
    The other problem is Africa, what on earth is the world going to do with the Black Continent? If there is any money, it goes to the top brass and their families. There is simply no mechanism to allocate funds according to needs and specific programs.
    The other issue is that EU has replaced many international organizations.
    Brussels and Strasbourg are increasingly functioning on the line of a federal state, one voice, systematic overhauls and censure motions whenever needed. The budgetary wing of the organization is generous and affluent without being callous and wasteful.
    The problem with the UN is that it is vulnerable. It has too many flaws. Sleaze is rampant. Too much to mismanagement.
    Look at the Non-Aligned Movement which was founded in 1955 with 118 members. Iran revived the ghost of NAM yesterday and announced that the organization unanimously supported its nuclear bomb program. UN also is a farce. It has too many members. A dozen representatives, incorporating EU, US, South America, China, Russia and South Africa could do the job much more efficiently.

  39. 39 Dennis
    July 31, 2008 at 17:49

    I think that the UNITED NATIONS is not impotent, but it is getting old…And they need some major reform.

    Dennis
    Syracuse, New York
    USA

  40. July 31, 2008 at 18:01

    The UN has historically proven its inability to establish peace without the accord of the parties concerned. Its peace keeping forces have been defied on many occasions as during 2006 summer war between Hezbullah and Israel.

    What is needed is that nations within their borders and with their neighbours should live in peace without provocation. Currently, many unresolved conflicts are internal as it is the case in Sudan, Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast and DR Congo. The UN can do little to solve these conflicts if the parties concerned can’t find permanent solutions to the core of their problems.

  41. 41 viola
    July 31, 2008 at 18:08

    As an information-gathering and advisory institution it’s pretty effective. As an enforcer of international law, whatever that is, it is not effective. As a protector of innocents in areas of conflicts, it is largely not effective.

    Read “Shake Hands with the Devil” by Romeo Dallaire about the Rwanda genocide and the U.N.’s role there. He was the commander of U.N. forces there.

    Canada

  42. 42 John in Salem
    July 31, 2008 at 18:11

    Nick in USA~
    “Do you think the UN is more susceptible to manipulation than the US government?”

    They’re probably equally vulnerable which is hardly a good reason to advocate an autonomous military under the direction of an international committee. Giving the UN the capacity to mandate policy to sovereign nations, no matter how noble the intent, would eventually destroy it’s ability to do the collective good that it does now.

  43. 43 Justin from Iowa
    July 31, 2008 at 18:12

    As long as the UN is beholden to “donations” for support it will be inneffective. Membership in the UN should come with a financial contribution (% of national wealth?) to be used to fund UN projects and forces. With its own funding, the UN could contract for at least a basic level of equipment and materials, such as the helicopters needed in its latest efforts.

  44. 44 Will Rhodes
    July 31, 2008 at 18:12

    Asad_Babyl –

    The league of nations was disbanded because it couldn’t prevent WWII – the UN was established in 1942.

    The UN officially came into existence in 1945 – the UN didn’t lose the second world war or help in its overture during that time. Post 1945 50 nations joined up to the amount of nations we have today.

    With the growing number of nations in the UN it has become a puppet of international disputes that should not be on the UN table. IF countries had adhered to the UN charter, which can be read in full here http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/ ,
    there wouldn’t be as much conflict in the world today.

    And, if I may add to those who will instinctively attack the US, UK and Israel, the UK and US have kept to that charter much more than many other nations. Obviously with the exception of Bush.

  45. 45 James from Kenya.
    July 31, 2008 at 18:20

    Hi gang the UN is way impotent, from the late 90’s when it ignored rwanda genocide.It has been reduced to a forum that nations flex their intellectual insanities against each other in a formal forum. Like US vs iran vs israel russia vs US. Its a sham that cant even hold together to lie.

  46. 46 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 18:21

    @ Asad

    “Why do you think UN leaders are not susceptible to corruption? Are you one of those people who reject their own government in favor of some shadowy international authority? Look at the corruption and ineptitude of the UN under Kofe Anan? Still want to fight some war in the African bush at their bidding instead of defending your own country?”

    I do not think UN leaders are not susceptible to corruption. I do believe it would be much harder to convince a group of internationals to do something that is wrong than it is to convince the leaders of one nation. One bribe vs. 40.

    Although I wouldn’t favor anything that would be considered “shadowy”, I would prefer an international authority. My first obligation will always be to humanity, and I think a powerful UN would help fulfil this obligation. My second obligation is to my country. They will always come in that order.

    How are you comparing the corruption and ineptitude of the UN to the corruption and ineptitude of the US government? I would fight a war in the African bush if it could save the lives of people in need.

  47. 47 Mussie
    July 31, 2008 at 18:24

    How about the mandate that has been abandoned by the UN. UN was one of the mediators on peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Even if the government of Eritrea accept the arbitration, the UN turn away from fulfilling its mandate and abandon the mission without completing the demarcation between the two countries.

  48. 48 Jens
    July 31, 2008 at 18:28

    Libya Chair of the human rights council of the UN in 2003.

    need i say more about the potency of the UN? that place is run by the biggeste muppets the world nows.

  49. 49 Justin from Iowa
    July 31, 2008 at 18:30

    Is the UN Impotent? Well, it can’t even manage to get a full segment on WHYS, while its supposed to be one of the most important world organizations…

  50. July 31, 2008 at 18:31

    Hi WHYSers, just joining the UN Debate. @ ALBERTINE,NYC and AKBAR JAVADI, kindly try to go back and read your posts. They seem to me like speeches for UN Assembly. Bloggers/posters, please let us tweak our comments sizably. @ Jon, your comments are salient. UN is a platform for consensus building. It is not UN mandate to change regime but rather fight to engender peace and democracy.

  51. 51 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 18:41

    @ Nick, supposedly in the USA

    “How are you comparing the corruption and ineptitude of the UN to the corruption and ineptitude of the US government?”

    I am comparing an organization the majority of which is comprised of “leaders” and other charlatans from countries which leech off the the US for their food supplies with the government of the most propesrous and powerful nation in the world.

    Would you really want to give more power to africans who cannot even government the small plot of land they call their countries, pleagued by desease and civil war? I certainly wouldn’t.

    And that’s what disbanding the UN ensures, that such inepet and corrupt individuals do not spread their sickness to the world at large.

  52. 52 Solomon, Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 31, 2008 at 18:43

    The UN has become a very corrupt organization. I believe its existence is irrelevant in our days. The UN is rotten to the core.

    The permanent members states have made this institution a real joke. For example, why should I listen to a communist nation like China or any other dictator nation serving in the UN. These nations have cero value in the arena of human rights.

    The solution is to dissolve the UN and to create an organization with Democratic free nations only.

  53. July 31, 2008 at 18:44

    The nuances in the functioning of the UN are appalling and frustration but yet the UN provides a platform for discussion, harnesses opinions aimed helping regions in conflict, Solicits aids directed at people in need and distress. One can say that the UN is biting what it can chew. UN Agencies have had plethora of successes around the world.

  54. 54 Ana Milena, Colombia
    July 31, 2008 at 18:48

    🙂

    Human institutions are feeble now. Then, governments are week, and the UN is, as well.
    They’ve lost thier impact, they’ve got no authority (because governments don’t listen to them anymore) and their acts are not reliable anymore.

    But you’ll see they’ll emerge again. Perhaps aspects such as this discussion is going to make them wake up, organise themselves and get back into business.

    Cheers! 😉

  55. 55 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 18:49

    @ Jens,

    That is funny!

  56. 56 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 19:02

    Does a dissolution of the UN, in and of itself, necessarilly solves the problems that plague it currently? Including only democratic nations may also prove problematic, in terms of the idea of unity, legitimate world authority as well as the notion of democracy. In fact, what does democracy really mean?

  57. 57 Jens
    July 31, 2008 at 19:12

    well, there is one good thing about the UN. at least there is a place for mindless, self-important numppties to have a seat and keep their chairs warm. just think what would happen if these guys would try to do a real job….oh dear, oh dear

  58. 58 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 19:19

    @ Asad

    Do you have an actual comparison between the UN and the US? Something that actually shows more corruption in the UN? I’ve seen far more stories in the news about the corruption of US officials than I have of UN officials.

    Also, how did you decide that the majority of the UN was leeching off of the USA? There are 192 member states. Did you go through them one by one and find evidence that they are leeching? What do you mean by leeching?

    P.S. Are you seriously questioning whether or not I’m in the USA?

  59. 59 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 19:20

    @ Jens,

    Completely agreed! The UN provides a forum for self-important bafoons like the Zimbabwe rivals clamoring for governing a worthless, barren plot of land, to squabble over the scraps left by their former colonial masters while doing nothing for their people.

  60. 60 Shirley
    July 31, 2008 at 19:24

    Why didn’t the UN respond faster to the situation in former Yugoslavia?

  61. 61 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 19:27

    @ Nick

    Please post some corruption stories from the US government (please avoid posting links about Haliburton and anything else from moveon.org, and then take a look at the imcompetence and scandal surrounding the inaction of UN “officials”. Oil for food, anybody?

    The US provides an enornmous amount of aid, military and economic to the 192 member states, more than any other nation out there in the long run. By leeching, I mean exactly that.

    They assign the greatest evil against the US, and then dare demand humanitarian aid!

    PS. Yes I am questioning not only your physical location, because you may be some western european socialist who thinks he can legitimize his “opinions” about the US by claiming he is there, but also your loyalty as well. If you are so eager to obey some internationalist bafoons, why don’t you camp out at the UN building?

    By the way, the UN owes the city of New York millions of dollars in unpaid parking fees. NYC should call it in. You can also build a nice park or housing complex in place of that UN tower of babel.

  62. 62 Dennis
    July 31, 2008 at 19:29

    I Think that with things such as the United Nations, they need to be reform and well-energized for the next 50Plus years…..

    Dennis
    Syracuse, New York
    USA

  63. 63 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 19:36

    @ Jens,

    In real terms though, what can the UN do the ‘Great Powers’ it was presumably set up to (also) police, will allow it do? The UN is, in many respects, government bureaucracy overly magnified. There is something to be said for the point about democracy raised earlier. What does that really mean and could it be that the failings of the UN, over time, have been in part the result of the lack of a shared vision on this critical issue of our time? Democracy for who and is there a price attached to that slogan? Perhaps looking at the UN in this regard might suggest some likely responses.

  64. 64 Justin from Iowa
    July 31, 2008 at 19:44

    That’s the core of the problem, the UN was designed to be impotent, in that it can’t police its most powerful members. When/if the UN is given the power and responsability to monitor and police ALL of its members, it will no longer impotent and ignored.

    I disagree with the idea that the dissolution of the UN and birth of a new, democratic only organization is the way to go, though. Did the Cold War really solve anything, or further humanity? Because that is the type of mentality that that situation would spawn.

  65. 65 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 19:51

    @ Justin from Iowa,

    I again ask the question which was never answered by those favoring greater UN powers:

    Would you really want to give more power to africans who cannot even government the small plot of land they call their countries, pleagued by desease and civil war?

    I certainly wouldn’t.

    And that’s what TOTALY disbanding the UN ensures, that such inepet and corrupt individuals do not spread their sickness to the world at large.

    As for a democratic only organization. That’s also not viable. It’s another permutation of a bad idea which never worked and never will.

  66. 66 Jane
    July 31, 2008 at 20:06

    It boggles the mind to hear someone defending the UN by saying something like “is it the job of someone from a country maybe thousands of miles away to solve the problems in this country?”
    Well, what in lord’s name are we maintaining the UN FOR?!?!

  67. 67 Chris in MN, USA
    July 31, 2008 at 20:06

    The UN is too bureaucratic. The world has changed and needs real time planning and quicker response. The structure needs to be re-visited but the work on-going in poor countries benefitting from relief efforts should not be interrupted.

  68. 68 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 20:15

    Let’s reserve our conclusions about the UN after we see whether guys with blue plastic bags on their helmets on blue tricycles can restore “peace” to darfur hahahaha

  69. 69 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 20:29

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008079697_webstevens29m.html

    That’s in the last 2 days.

    “The US provides an enornmous amount of aid, military and economic to the 192 member states, more than any other nation out there in the long run. By leeching, I mean exactly that.”

    Yes, we do provide an enormous amount of aid, but not to all 192 member states. We also have the largest GNP of any nation, so it makes sense to me that we would donate the most money. Can you actually back up your statement that the majority of the 192 member states are leeching off of the USA?

    “They assign the greatest evil against the US, and then dare demand humanitarian aid!”

    Who has assigned the greatest evil against the US?

    “PS. Yes I am questioning not only your physical location, because you may be some western european socialist who thinks he can legitimize his “opinions” about the US by claiming he is there,…”

    You caught me. I cooked up the aforementioned scheme just so I could covertly blog about my ideals. Are you kidding me?

    “but also your loyalty as well. If you are so eager to obey some internationalist bafoons, why don’t you camp out at the UN building?”

    Here it is. Someone disagrees with you and they are not american anymore. I’ve heard this argument in the past. I was born and raised in the midwest and I love my people, but my first obligation is always to humanity. Why would I camp out at the UN building. Does that make sense to anyone else?

    “Would you really want to give more power to africans who cannot even government the small plot of land they call their countries, pleagued by desease and civil war?”

    That’s a seriously loaded question, but I’ll bite. No, I wouldn’t give more power to African leaders who cannot even govern their own countries. There are lots of people I wouldn’t like to vote for president either, but that’s the way democracy works. Everyone gets a vote.

  70. 70 Valentine
    July 31, 2008 at 20:32

    HI there,

    I just went on line this evening and I did not finished expressing myself. I think the presence of UN now in RD Congo is now a pest. THey have accomplished their mission and now they are profiting from it to exploit. THe entire population is tired of them. The presence of UN now in RD Congo is more of ecnomical and political issues. In the East, the rebels are exploiting and causing harm to the population in the vew of the UN, they do not react. We even hear of cases of rape and trafic of arms in which the UN is involved.

    As I said earlier, their mission in RD Congo was to accompany the population to a democratic regime, it is already over, let them leave our natural resources in peace. Their presence in the east is creating conflicts for the population is suffering from the hands of the rebels despite their presence. We can cheat all the time but we can not cheat every body all the time. Our mothers ans sisters are being raped in the presence of these peace keeping troops as they call themselves. The UN is prfiting from our situation to exploite, let them leave.
    Bye

  71. 71 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 20:38

    @ Justin, Chris in MN, USA,

    The current bureaucracy of the UN needs to be overhauled, immediately, if it is to work and work effectively. There is no denying this. However, the comment in reference to Africans, though understandable in some ways, smacks of a type of elitism which is fundamentally offensive, precisely, because the very notion of how we construct, perform and grow a democracy in different parts of the world has to take account of the cultural specificiities of those places. This is generally not the practise.

    Far be it from me to suggest that the Africans are the best examples of world leaders. However, I rather suspect that traditional notions of what constitutes a (good) democracy and, by extension, good leadership is perenially flawed. The most recent example of Iraq would have to be a case in point.

  72. 72 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 20:46

    @ rawpoliticsjamaicastyle

    Agreed! The UN is far from perfect, I’ll agree to that anyday, but having an international alliance of nations for the benefit of all mankind is noble and should be pursued at all times.

  73. 73 Jens
    July 31, 2008 at 20:55

    Nick,

    Nobel yes, but just look at the list of nations leading certain commisions etc. Libya and human rights goes about as well hand in hand as playing piano and dog turds.

    plus the veto power of the big 7 means that the entire organization is just a toothless paper tiger.

    what is the power the UN has? “if you do not comply we will be wording an other strongly worded resolution”……wow that one has worked pretty well latly, not.

  74. 74 Asad_Babyl
    July 31, 2008 at 20:57

    @ Nick

    I’ll bit too

    Want UN corruption? Take a look at Anan’s activities, and every single major aid case to third world nations. It’s a black hole of corruption. Want more? What about the Rwandan genocide with UN inaction? What about the one in Jugoslavia? A genocide of the Serbs supported by the UN. At ever single stage of its activity, the UN has misused the resources and power given to it by member states. That my friend, is a much greater degree of corruption than that of the Alaskan Senator.

    “Who has assigned the greatest evil against the US?”

    The UN is a forum for maniacs like Chavez and Akhmadinajad to spout their venom at the US. President is the devil? But I think you’d agree with the statement Nick, wouldn’t you?

    “You caught me. I cooked up the aforementioned scheme just so I could covertly blog about my ideals. Are you kidding me?”

    Not kidding you, I’ve seen crazies like that on here and other message board, and even worse.

    “but my first obligation is always to humanity”

    Cute. I’m an immigrant to the U.S. and I recognize what this country has given me: more than any other country ever could. So perhaps you appreciate something more when you weren’t born with it in the first place.

    “That’s a seriously loaded question, but I’ll bite. No, I wouldn’t give more power to African leaders who cannot even govern their own countries…”

    But such are exactly the consequences if God forbid your earlier statments were implemented. It seems you are suggesting something but not considering the implications of your ideas. Quite typical.

  75. 75 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 20:58

    @ Nick in USA,

    Love that itemised response above.

    The truth is that there is a whole community out there who refuses to hear dissenting voices on any issue and choose to enact what I want to call a process of political (and national) disinheritance, as a result. You could not be…. and disgree with this (obvious) point which I made! How outrageous!

    That is at the very heart of some of the problems with the notion of a democracy. Some of us feel that there is only one version of democracy and all others are to either appropriate ‘the standard’ or run the risk of being considered anti-demoractic! How ridiculous!

  76. 76 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 21:03

    @ Jens,

    Notwithstanding your criticisms of Libya in the role of human rights chair, is it that there is no value at all to the notion of a United Nations? To put it bluntly, the UN only works if we want it to. We know the culprits; that is, the abusers of human rights, etc., yet we place some of those most obviously in breach in positions which contradict this knowledge. At the start of my entries I mentioned that the UN also suffers from an image problem. Not just appearances but real credibility in terms of the consistency of messages transmitted and actions taken. Justice must also appear to have been served. Setting those so obviously in breach, in the eyes of many, in certain positions only serves to further erode public trust.

  77. 77 Jens
    July 31, 2008 at 21:05

    Nick,

    No the USA has not the largest GNP. it does not even make the top three.

    Luxembourg … $56,380
    Norway … $51,810
    Switzerland … $49,600
    United States … $41,440
    Denmark … $40,750
    Iceland … $37,920
    Japan … $37,050
    Sweden … $35,840
    Ireland … $34,310
    United Kingdom … $33,630

  78. 78 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 21:13

    I want to believe in the value that a UN could stand for and, subsequently, give. What is in doubt is whether it has the wherewithal to actually do that as effectively, given the nature of global conflicts as well as the types of nuanced responses required under some of these circumstances. That means a real committment on the part of the member nations to structure the organisation in such a way as to ensure that that happens. However, that will never be the case so long as the global war for resources continues at its current rate.

    No one wants to be realistically constrained, when there is the real possibility of gains to be made by destabilising regions and redirecting attention, resources, etc. elsewhere. The UN gets in the way of those activities. No?

  79. 79 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 21:15

    @ Jens

    “plus the veto power of the big 7 means that the entire organization is just a toothless paper tiger.”

    I agree 100%. They really need to do away with veto power. The US government should do the same.

    @ Asad

    Back it up with a link. The UN supported genocide? Back it up. I can tell you that George Bush has been eating babies in his spare time, but it doesn’t mean it’s true.

    “The UN is a forum for maniacs like Chavez and Akhmadinajad to spout their venom at the US. President is the devil? But I think you’d agree with the statement Nick, wouldn’t you?”

    So your problem with the UN is that it allows people to speak out against the US government? Check the articles of impeachment and Representative Dennis Kucinich. The opinions of a few do not equal the whole. If that was the case then you would support Representative Kucinich.

    P.S. Don’t put words in my mouth please.

    “Not kidding you, I’ve seen crazies like that on here and other message board, and even worse.”

    Really? Like who? How did you prove they weren’t Americans?

    “Cute. I’m an immigrant to the U.S. and I recognize what this country has given me: more than any other country ever could. So perhaps you appreciate something more when you weren’t born with it in the first place.”

    Does this mean that your first obligation is to the US government and not humanity?

    “But such are exactly the consequences if God forbid your earlier statments were implemented. It seems you are suggesting something but not considering the implications of your ideas. Quite typical.”

    Yes, those are the consequences because that’s how a democratic voting system works. Everyone gets a chance to vote, whether they vote the same way you would or not.

  80. 80 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 21:21

    @ Jens,

    Just curious, where was that information taken from? (The bit in relation to your rebuttal of Nick’s point about America’s GNP)

  81. 81 Jens
    July 31, 2008 at 21:24

    raw,

    the problem is that no sovergein nation would want an uebergoverment a la UN. let’s be honest. the us, russia and china are all big and powerful enought not to give a damm about any un resolutions. they use this organization to their own benefit, just see iraq and dafur. both occassions where mandates are expandend in the intrest of one of the biggest three.

    meanwhile you have cooks like chavez and abadacheapsuite stand in front of the un giving absurde speeches. sure everyone is entitled to their opinion but some opinions are a little far out, like the denile of the holocost.

  82. 83 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 21:35

    @ Jens

    What you have listed is called GNP/ capita. It is much different than actual GNP. GNP/ capita is the entire gross national product divided by number of citizens. GNP is the total amount of money in a year. The USA dwarfs all other countries in GNP. I knew business school would eventually pay off. Here is the correct information:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

  83. 84 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 21:35

    @ Jens

    What you have listed is called GNP/ capita. It is much different than actual GNP. GNP/ capita is the entire gross national product divided by number of citizens. GNP is the total amount of money in a year. The USA dwarfs all other countries in GNP. I knew business school would eventually pay off. Here is the correct information:

    “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)”

  84. 85 Jens
    July 31, 2008 at 22:04

    Nick,

    the GNP/capita makes a lot more sense though. that the USA has the greatest total income is simply due to it’s size. this is not a means of assesing the richest country. accorrding to you assesment switzerland would be really poor because it has only 7 million people making about 40000 bucks, so any nation with 70 million people making 4000 bucks would be equally well of as switzerland

    if you look at the over all wealth of a nation you have to consider the income of the individual. an even better meassure is the GNP PPP, an there the USA is 2nd.

    i knew my lack of bussiness school but having commen sense would come hand one day. 😉

  85. 86 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 22:20

    Thank you both! Though, there is so much sniping going on here! I rather like the entertainment, so long as it remains above the waist! LOL!

  86. 87 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 31, 2008 at 22:31

    @ Jens,

    I just saw your point in relation to the “Big Three” and would certainly agree with you. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the UN, in its current format, is a rubber stamp of approval for aiding the foreign policies of the “Biggest of the Three” America!In that regard, there is no moral obligation to holding fast to UN resolutions of any kind; that is, when they at variance with the intentions of the Great Powers.

    We all know that in the world of international politics where “humanitarianism”, in many instances, is reallt an excuse for political PRing, there is no escaping the politics (read ineffectiveness) of the UN. There has to be a real committment making an agency like this work. The questions is: how? What might be a useful way of ensuring we get the UN to do what it was set up to do?

  87. July 31, 2008 at 22:36

    The UN is as good or as ineffective as its member nations want it to be. One of the flaws from th beginning is the veto power yet held by just five of the original Big Five countries. As everyone knows this is one of the biggest bugbears of the UN system on important issues, yet a (bad) legacy from the Cold War. This veto power needs a basic revision if we are to see any tangible improvements in UN working. If there are as many as 82 conflicts around the world, mostly internal ones-28 of them serious ones- then it is amazing that there is such a thing as the UN Charter to which all 192 countries say they are committed yet observed only in its breach by so many! Obviously the UN Secretary General is a pivotal position and his role matters to make it a dynamic organisation that it can become. Kofi Annan made some lasting contributory efforts to make it viable and tangible to implement the UN Charter by enabling the ICC. When there is too much on war in the air at country and inter-country levels and peace is only on the backburner the UN’s role has been rendered quite difficult indeed. It is certainly not the fault of the UN itself. But what can the UN do about it?

  88. 89 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 23:33

    @ Jens

    That would be a good point if we were discussing the quality of life or richness of individuals in a country. However, the point was that the country with the largest income would more than likely donate the largest amount of money. It’s simply economies of scale. Switzerland cannot donate nearly as much as the USA because it doesn’t have the income.

  89. 90 Nick in USA
    July 31, 2008 at 23:36

    @ Rawpoliticsinjamaica

    I agree that the big powers do have the ability to push their agendas. That is wrong and the UN needs a revamping, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s a useless organization.

    Also, I’m not meaning to snipe. Have I insulted anyone in my posts? If I have, please call it to my attention because it was not intentional.

  90. 91 Jens
    July 31, 2008 at 23:57

    nick,

    i am not disputing that the usa contributes more than others. it was an intelectual discussion on what exactly is the GNP…..

    And yes we are both right, isn’t that nice 😉

    catch ya later

  91. 92 1430a
    August 1, 2008 at 04:33

    HEllo Everyone
    i think the UN is ‘useless’ .Well I dont remember one instace when it has come forward together to act against any country when their policies have been wrong.so what are the uses of this Organization?
    Answer:thousands of dollars for the officers and a fun time for the diplomats.
    Abhinav

  92. 93 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    August 1, 2008 at 08:55

    The UN impotent?
    The UN has lost its value by failing people terribly. In all its institutions, you find high class of mafia, corruption, injustice. Personal experience with this UN is how its peace keepers abandoned us in Rwanda and my people died just like animals. While in exile you need to know the suffering and injustice we go through in care of the UNHCR. It is a pity, it is a shame. The UN should be reformed because we have lost hope in it. Too much disappointment, just see people in Darfur, in DRC

  93. August 1, 2008 at 10:51

    No! The UN is just impotent. Impotent is a much kinder word. The UN is sterile and useless!

  94. August 1, 2008 at 15:38

    100%impotent as their mute response to trangression of iraq by america and its allies shows flouting all international law and un charters 2(4)and 2(7).also happenings in darfur and in myanmar shows that united nation is only a body to act upon small countries at the whims and fancies of america .
    also if not revamped of its 1945 set up body it will be impotent in future to suit the demands of 21st century changed world scenario.a country of 11o crores people india still not a part of security counsil is the most absurd aspect and reveals the stupidity of united nation as a world body ..

  95. August 2, 2008 at 14:20

    To me ,
    United nations,
    mean unity,harmony between the nations,
    unity mean power,
    the power provide justice,real justice,
    to the nations,
    which are poor,helpless,have no sources to internaland external circumstances,
    due to political situation,and unexpected ecnomic crisis.

    But,
    as have seen week is week,
    powerfull is powerfull.

    What is the security council,
    apowerfull institution of the U.N.
    powerfull states ,through highprofile,
    occupied the permanat sets there,having with too,
    called ”veto”

    When information s are collected regard to their stockpile,
    eyes are opened forever,
    there are weapons,
    highest quentity ,not into thousand but in lacs.

    Other nations are not allowed to manufacture the same as they have already in their stockpile,
    if anyone try to make would be committed acrime ,
    CTbT,NPT,these are weapons would stop you,would have also to go to Albradhy and subsequently security councile ,
    which give you gift in form of the set of sanctions,
    as being given to Iran.

    Everyone know that ,
    what happened in iraq,
    on the name of weapons of mass destruction,
    smiling roses converted in to burning flames,
    spectators saw that bloody game to the dropscene.

    In the wholw sinario we see the united nations role,
    no,nothing,united nations character lost its existance,
    still disappearence.

    Iranain standpoint is that ,
    they are enriching uranium,
    for domestic purpose,
    but the other hand it is being said,
    weapons of mass destruction are being prerared.

    Who is wrong ,
    who is right,
    but i am sure,
    destruction,once again has become essential
    for the world peace.

  96. 97 Emile Barre
    August 3, 2008 at 14:23

    No. Lazy and hypocritical.

  97. 98 Syed Hasan Turab
    August 3, 2008 at 21:01

    Its time to rewrite UN charter according to our requirements as undemocratic decision’s in Global era is promoting wild warior’s culture because of feeling’s of double standard of Justice & undemocratic decision’s.
    UN suppose to be non militry,non influenced, purely indepent, non violant & non political institution, otherwise we will face the destructive challange’s of terrorisam nature all the time. In the mean time we follow the command of UN General Assembly instead of undemecratic UN Security Counsil.
    I dont believe in UN impotency as UNO plays master role in formation of Jewish State of ” ISRIEL” which is really appreciatable decision they ever made though lateron S/C took the charge & complicate the UN achievement as desaster.
    UN decision about KASHMIR & allotment of referandom is also a remarkable achievement of UNO, though Indian disobedency with UN’s resolution with due cooperation of S/C complicate the UN achievement as human tragedy.
    At least removal of UN Security Counsil is requirement of time to stabilise the peace sitution along with trust building measures among member countries.
    As far as UN funding is concerned it is based on GDP of a member country, now China being an Economic super power is paying the most share.

  98. 99 Syed Hasan Turab
    August 3, 2008 at 23:55

    The question of Impotency is arising because of EU & USA since no one stopped them from Iraq War, on the top of that involvement of private security force to kill uncountable Iraqi civilians by BLACK WATER.
    May I request the UN General Assembly to bring this issue under discussion to prosecute the crimes against humanity, to prosecute the respective people along with leaders, since the Iraq war was declared illegal by UNO, and provide us grounds to prosecute the criminals.
    We are supposed to live with the principles.

  99. August 4, 2008 at 11:19

    its not the word UN that is impotent.its those who have been employed as its managers and the support staff in UN that are impotent……………UNESCO in particular.and UNEP.

  100. 101 David
    August 4, 2008 at 16:57

    The UN became impotent in 1993 when it became the US guide dog according to Kenyan Daily Nation of 22/11/1993. The UN needs to become independent and authoritetive to survive the next 20 years.


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