New Liberals Need a New United Nations

while perusing some articles over at the seminal, i saw an interesting one on about being a “new liberal”. the story is interesting and does a good job of attempting to reclaim the term from the dirty connotations that have become attached to it. one part intrigued me most though and i wanted to write a little bit about the subject. first, I will quote the section i am referencing and then comment.

I believe in diplomacy and I believe in the UN. In today’s world of instant communication and global community, the misunderstandings that led to wars in previous eras are no longer tolerable. I believe that great good and great change can come from using economic and diplomatic pressures to affect so-called “rogue nations.” I believe armed conflict is not necessary, and I believe the international community has the power, the moral authority, and the will to reform wayward states and help the oppressed that are suffering under them. I don’t believe the popular meme that 9/11 somehow changed everything. Rather, I believe that 9/11, while a tragedy, was a reaction to interventionist US policy abroad. I believe the US should not, under any circumstances, police the world. This includes, but is not limited to, pursuing regime change, financing native revolutionary elements, and conducting espionage operations. The UN is the only power that has the authority to police the world community. We should never do anything unilaterally, and the UN should act transparently. –from The Seminal.

ah, the UN, an institution loved by liberals, hated by conservatives and feared by militant whack jobs, but so misunderstood by almost all.

first off, let us begin with this statement from above, “I believe the international community has the power, the moral authority, and the will to reform wayward states and help the oppressed that are suffering under them.”

  • has the power: well, no, not really. for all the huff and puff that the UN does whenever someone upsets them, they have no real power. why do i say this? 2 reasons: (1) the UN has no independent instrument by which to enforce its Charter or directives, i.e. it has no army. such a force has been proposed by UN members, but was defeated. this means that the UN is dependent upon members volunteering to help in the case of proposed UN action. no army, no enforcement. (2) the UN is not a democratic institution which means that any Security Council member who decides that action is not necessary (or counter to their own interests) may veto any UN decision. for instance, in 1979 the USA vetoed a resolution calling “for an end to all military and nuclear collaboration with the apartheid South Africa” (see more information on vetoes here).
    • has…the moral authority: technically, sure, but in reality, not really. I mean, come on, the UN has eroded any credibility it ever had because the institution was set up NOT to be fair or just, but convenient for the major powers. it was only a matter of time that the general public gave up on the promise of peace outlined in the UN Charter. the UN is essentially a dog with no teeth. to witness this fact just read about Sudan-Darfur.
  • has…the will: here, J-Ro and i part company. perhaps I am just too much of a cynic, but shit. if you really believe in that old cliche about “where there’s a will there’s a way”, then the UN has real problems. Hope, it seems, is the only thing the UN possesses in sufficient quantity, but the will, the strength, to carry out those hopes seems poorly lacking.

  • “was a reaction to interventionist US policy abroad”: this is precisely the issue at hand; the UN is completely incapable and/or unwilling to stop interventionist policies perpetrated by anyone. during the Cold War the US and USSR basically used the peoples of the world as pawns in the battle for economic and political domination. intervention and UN inaction have always gone hand in hand.
  • “…UN is the only power that has the authority to police the world community”: this, for the most part is true. the spirit of the UN was to foster peace, but in reality its authority derives only from its strongest members. if they do not go along with UN member decisions, then nothing can be done. when the UN told president bush jr. not to invade Iraq, did it work? when the UN tried to stop iraq from selling its oil in the international market (before the second Gulf War), did they succeed? no.

sorry situation, eh?

5 Responses to “New Liberals Need a New United Nations”

  1. J-Ro Says:

    Sorry situation is right, but I stand by my assertions. I believe the thrust of this paragraph should be on moral authority. If anyone should be allowed to police the world, it should be the UN. Now, your points about the Security Council are good ones, sure. I would agree that it should be abolished, or at least re-thought. However, where I think the UN plays a major role is in moral authority. Take Iraq, for instance. If the US had received UN authority to go to war, Iraq would be the world’s problem, not simply ours, and I believe then that Iraq would be in better shape than it is today. Granted, it still wouldn’t be any sort of “shining beacon for democracy” or anything silly like that, but there would be less neo-colonial overtones, less occupation, and hopefully more aid, cooperation, and political will. Granted, this is again a big what if on my part, but what other solution do we have? If you believe, as I do, that unilateral wars should and can be a thing of the past, then an international body of some sort is the only real solution.

  2. Administrator Says:

    I agree completely J-Ro. The problem with the UN is not its necessity or stated purpose, but rather how ineffectual it is in reality. My whole point of writing the post was just to inform some of us a little more on why the UN is so useless, not why it should be abolished.

    The USA should not be the world’s police–a law enforcement agency should at least have the appearance of credibility, objectivity and the consent of those being policed. That is something I am not sure the USA will ever have.

    Thanks again for reading and commenting J-Ro.

  3. Daniel Says:

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article New Liberals Need a New United Nations, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  4. Administrator Says:

    thanks for your comment Daniel, I hope that if you have any specific questions that you will ask them here, or wherever else you may be obtaining information. there are many like myself that think as long as we try to understand the world around us that we still might be able to change it–for the better that is.

  5. James Says:

    I am the king of corny video comments….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg195gs7onU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYLo0-tzaK8

    oh yeah and here’s an interesting one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cih45ZsSOS4

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