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The wounded UN The wounded UN
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-10-25 09:57:44
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While trying to think about what to write for United Nations Day, my mind kept going back to the speech made by General Secretary Kofi Annan for the Security Council when talking about the invasion of Lebanon by Israel. In his speech, the G.S. accused the member countries for delaying this vital decision because of petty politics and local interests, which left more innocent people to die.

http://www.un.org/ But is this the reality of the UN today? Has it become a bureaucratic organization that depends upon the funds from the big powers and in the end is controlled by them? Somehow for an outsider it looks like that, especially after the Americans ignored every warning and took over the role of international policeman when invading Iraq, which we now can see all the disastrous results, including a country blown into a civil war.

The United Nations as organization covers too many subjects, such as children, food, education, environment, culture and refugees, and is also the very same organization that has proved to be toothless in Sudan. This is a conflict that has gone on for nearly two decades and is a humanitarian disaster for the UN. Now they have started doing something following the political interest of certain countries and have even employed the help of Hollywood stars.

North Korea invests tonnes of money into a dangerous, militaristic and in no way defensive or peaceful nuclear program, so the UN has to find millions of dollars to cover the food problem in the north providence of the country. The UN simply doesn’t have the power to stop any militaristic ambitions, even if people in same country starve to death.

In the case of Iraq, all the warnings and decisions of the UN were ignored in the loudest possible way and, if that was not enough, they were later blamed for the failure to restore democracy because they didn’t participate in something they didn’t agree. In Afghanistan the peace forces are now under the umbrella of NATO, why?

NATO, by definition, is an organization that has been dead since the fall of the Wall, it has no reason for existence. The North Atlantic alliance has no reason to be near the Pacific and all the countries that contribute armies to NATO forces in Afghanistan could easily change their helmets into the distinguishable blue of the UN. After all, this would have given more credibility to the UN and less hassle with the Americans who represent evil to the local population; added to that, it would inspire more countries to volunteer their help.

If you add to those some failures where the UN is totally responsible, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Srebrenica massacre, the organization has many problems. In Srebrenica, the UN had declared a 'safe haven' for refugees and assigned 600 Dutch peacekeepers to their protection, they then repeated the same mistake in Somalia and the Battle of Mogadishu. It went further when officers of the peacekeepers were involved in sexual and financial scandals, including the program 'food for oil' in Iraq where close cooperatives of the G.S. Kofi Annan were involved.

So, what is the future of this wounded international organization? A mystery, if the Americans and their alliance learned from their Iraq lesson they should return to the UN and give the UN General Secretary more power, more support and the necessary elements to succeed as in their role as peacekeepers. If they haven’t decided to support the UN, we are probably watching the end of a risky experiment.

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Sand2006-10-24 10:35:06
As has been noted many times, the UN is an exception to the rule that the whole is greater than its parts. The Security Council is hog tied by the absolute veto as no nation will willingly permit its sovereignty to be violated by an international body. The latest move by the USA to destroy basic international rights and its refusal to permit its citizens to be prosecuted for human rights violations is the most recent blatant example. The UN is not a world government and until that becomes reality the intrnational chaos will continue.

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