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Monday, June 06, 2005

United Nations Role in the 21st Century

The new Balance of Power post for this week is up. It was my week to choose the topic, so we are discussing the United Nations. Be sure to stop by and check out the entire post. As I always do, here is my initial contribution:

Sixty years ago, the United Nations came into being. Created as a replacement for its failed ideological ancestor The League of Nations, the UN was intended to be a forum for the stabilization of international relations in an effort to promote peace.

Just as the League of Nations failed at this task, so too has the United Nations. Looking back over the last 60 years, the list of accomplishments by the UN pales in comparison to its list of failures. These failures certainly come as no shock. Throughout its history, the UN has refused to uphold its own charter. Chapter 1, Article 2 lists a set of principles:
The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

6. The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.

7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

Violations of these principles are to be dealt with in accordance to Chapter 2, Articles 5 and 6 which state:
Article 5
A Member of the United Nations against which preventive or enforcement action has been taken by the Security Council may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. The exercise of these rights and privileges may be restored by the Security Council.

Article 6
A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

insofar as I can tell, Article 5 has rarely been used and Article 6 has never been used (please correct me if I am wrong on this point), though Taiwan, a member in good standing, was essentially expelled to placate the PRC.

Such failure to enforce these principles comes as no shock when you see that for the UN's entire history, Communist Russia, and more than half its history, Communist China have sat on the Security Council. These two countries alone account for roughly 100,000,000 deaths and have the bleakest human rights histories on the planet. It therefore comes as no great surprise that other violators would not be removed.

In addition, Chapter 2, Article 4 was apparently written only to take up space:
1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.

2. The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

Virtually every country on the planet is a member of the UN and if they all actually met the standards of Article 4, the world would be a much different place. As it stands, a large portion of those countries should never have even been admitted in the first place.

Unfortunately, since long before the UN came into existence, the world has been under constant assault by believers in moral relativism. The world has moved ever further away for the ideals of right and wrong towards a "who are we to judge" attitude. It was precisely this attitude that allowed countless dictatorships to not only join the UN, but to supposedly occupy morally level ground with countries that actually believe in human rights.

Nearly 30% of the members of the UN Commission on Human Rights are listed by Freedom Houseas being "Not Free." In fact six members: China, Cuba, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe have the dubious honor of being on their "Worst of the Worst" list. Even if this were not the case, the UN has undertaken it as part of its mission to completely distort and muddle that concepts of rights. To this end, the UN, in 1948, issued a monstrosity entitled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

If one were to judge this document solely on its name, they might think it strange that a labeled it a monstrosity. But as the saying goes, "the proof is in the pudding." Keeping in line with the wishes of its leftist members, Articles 22 through 29 were inserted. These false positive rights are not rights at all and can only be achieved by the violation of actual negative rights, but of course they "feel" good, so the must be good. Take for example Article 26, Section 1:
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

Sounds wonderful doesn't it? Free education! The problem is, no such beast exists in nature. True, it may not cost the student or the family of the student anything, but SOMEONE is most definitely bearing those costs, and quite likely against their will. It also states that Elementary education is COMPULSORY, i.e. you have no choice in the matter. Interestingly enough, those same people here in the US that would support not only the UN in general, but this declaration in specific would rather pretend that Section 3 of that same article did not exist:
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

In fact, the "bluer" a state is, the more likely it is to be opposed to ideas promoting school choice such as vouchers or low regulatory boundaries for homeschooling (with some exceptions).

The UN, like all bureaucracies, has grown to become a bloated nightmare inserting itself into virtually every facet of peoples lives that it can get a foothold on by such means as theConvention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and this report from the High-Level Panel on Financing for Development which calls for, among other things, an International Tax Organization and the imposition of global taxes.

In addition, this bloat has apparently made it impossible for the UN to regulate itself. Whether it be the Oil for Food Scandal, the various sex scandals involving "peacekeepers," or who knows what the hell else, the UN has demonstrated quite clearly that it is rife with corruption.

Naturally lip service has been given to the problems. Kofi himself has called for reforms in 1997, 2002, and 2005. The problem is Kofi has clearly shown that he is not capable of providing the leadership necessary to implement the kind of root level reform necessary to make the UN the bastion of legitimacy that it so clearly sees itself as.

For the UN to continue into the 21st Century in the role of an organization that has the moral authority to act as arbitror for the world, it will take more than lip service and failed leadership. It will take a complete ground-up re-organization based on actual rights and the stringent enforcement of the principles of freedom, democracy and rule of law. ALL dictators, thugs, and despots must be expelled so that it is made clear that they are not the moral equivalent of countries that believe in and follow the aforementioned principles.

Personally, I don't believe that such change is possible. The best that can be hoped for is that a few good countries, perhaps the US, the UK, and Australia, will leave the UN, taking their funding with them. This would undoubtedly cause the UN to implode. So be it. A turd is a turd no matter how you look at it. It is time for the UN to go the way of the dinosaurs and the League of Nations.

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Copyright © S Michael Moore 2005