The Role of the UN

This came up in the “Draft…” thread. Personally, I believe that the UN is doing a job well done. I know many people feel very differently and I would like to get everyone’s opinions. Do you feel the UN has done its duty in our world, and why or why not is this so?

For its resources, the UN is doing quite well.

Although I think the only way to really get the UN to get everything done it wants to is for countries to give it some teeth. I mean, if some country goes counter to a resolution, what can anyone do?

Although I think the only way to really get the UN to get everything done it wants to is for countries to give it some teeth. I mean, if some country goes counter to a resolution, what can anyone do?

That’s exactly what happened during the Korean War. The Soviet Union kept on vetoing every single resolution related to North Korea. Only until they boycotted the UN was a resolution able to be passed.

Then, the UN can send in various weapons inspectors over many years, get told to leave and turn a blind eye to numerous resolutions being broken by that country. Then, an alliance of over 30 countries (without Germany, France, and Russia, of course) decide to stand up against that offending country.

Andy B.

of course…then people in those countries get mad because they are doing something pre-emptive while those same people get mad and hold a court because we didn’t do something pre-emptive. oh the paradox. :mad:

In the case of the UN Resolutions regarding weapons inspections following the Gulf War, maybe the UN / US should have demanded a right to have unannounced inspections of Saddam’s palaces.

The UN is failing because no country wants to allow themselves to be subjected to an international “government.” Most countries like the US, England, France, Germany, Russia, etc. are afraid that if they publicly force themselves to follow each and every UN resolution that they lose their autonomy (which is a valid fear). Well established countries want nothing more than to remain sovereign nations. And they have no interest in allowing themselves to be ruled by some alien organization. Permanent members of the UN veto resolutions that they find damaging to themselves or their interests. There once was a time, when my father was growing up, that the USA was proud to have been the only permanent member of the UN to have never used its veto. These days are long gone. The UN is also failing due to the inherent vagueness and ambiguity in the wording of most resolutions. There is eloquence in the wording of resolutions, but there is rarely a distinct meaning in them.

The UN is also failing as a result of corruption. This corruption is not unique to the UN, though. Corruption is just something that exists in materialistic, capitalistic, greed driven societies. The UN is definitely not head and shoulders above other organizations / governments in terms of corruption. To scream and complain about the UN’s corruption is to turn a blind eye to a huge portion of humanity.

How could or would that have even been possible when Saddam and his cronie thugs kicked out the weapons inspectors on numerous occasions?

http://www.davidckelly.com/iraq_images/bob.jpg

[quote=“David Kelly”]
How could or would that have even been possible when Saddam and his cronie thugs kicked out the weapons inspectors on numerous occasions? [/quote]

After coalition forces rid Kuwait of Iraqi forces, and in the process displayed their military superiority, the US and UN had quite a bit of leverage. Had Iraq not immediately complied to unconditional unannounced inspections, an all out invasion could have been more legitimately called for in that time period than the past 2 years. Instead, the US and UN assumed that Iraq would just continue to capitulate to whatever request / threat they decided to extend to Iraq in the future. The problem with this is that Iraq held weapons inspectors, rightly, to the conditions agreed upon immediately following the Gulf War and didn’t bend over to US demands of unannounced inspections. Apparently it wasn’t that big of a deal to the US, since they didn’t attempt to push such a resolution through the UN for over 10 years.

As for the “cronie thugs,” if the US had cared about inspections a resolution could have been passed granting UN peacekeeping troops the right to escort inspectors. It’s not like our country had no knowledge of Saddam’s Gestapo, after all our two countries had been very closely allied against Iran during the Iran/Iraq War (while we sold arms to Iran under the table). In fact, the chemical weapons that Saddam used against the Kurds were very possibly purchased from the US. I do admit, like everyone must, that it is much easier to observe the past than to predict the future.

The UN is failing because it has no bite, no man-power to back up it’s resolutions. The UN fails because even when it does pass a resolution, not everyone in the UN is willing to use its bite to back up that resolution. The UN fails because it is too nice. There comes a point when being nice is overweighed by public safety.

The UN is not a government because it cannot protect its people. When push comes to shove…the UN falls over.

Get US out of the UN!

~Please keep in mind that these views are coming from a Hoosier Republican who is going to Purdue University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship and plans to defend you and your right to say whatever you want with his life in the world’s greatest air force. I also promise not to give negative reputation points in this thread…unless a comment is simply rude…because there is no right or wrong opinion here and we all have the right to say what we want. Post away and keep in clean! :slight_smile: ~

IMHO, the United Nations is simply trying to look out for the welfare of the human race, while at the same time creating a concord between all nations so that tensions will not arise. Don’t get me wrong, conflict will still come about. But the UN provides a strong, neutral medium where nations may civilly come to a conclusion on how they may solve problems.

In addition to this, it organizes the issues of our world into different subcommittees in which such issues may be looked at a litte more closely. Though the Security Council (one of the minority of committees in which specific nations have veto powers) is the most famous (or infamous, depending on how you may interpret the situation), at least 100 other committees exist. These groups discuss social and economic concepts, create healthy alliances - NEPAD and ASEAN, for example - and decide on the best course of action.

The UN has created a Millennium Goal, which stresses that for 10 or so years, the number one goal would be to achieve sustainable development. Because the UN has concentrated on doing so, I can see where it may come across as “too nice”… health care, landmine clearance, education, infrastructural improvements. Not exactly anything to do with politics. But collectively, everything that has been accomplished has made a large difference in the world, and that should definitely be something we should look at.

Overall, I just don’t think we should judge the UN on the basis that it hasn’t done as much as it could have in solely the Security Council. Other committees have added greatly to the progress of our world.

Yay for multilateralism :slight_smile: - My 10 cents, in binary, that is

I see a lot of people here saying that the weakness of the United Nations is its lack of power to back up its words.

I believe that nothing could be further from the truth. A United Nations Army would be a fate worse than any that we could possibly contrive. A new world order could be imposed upon soverign nations, starting with weak countries at the periphery of global power, and reaching slowly inward, till all uncontrolled people are islands of hope in a storm. There will be no regional conflicts; instead, it will be the forces of the “World Government” against forces of regional autonomy.

My expectation of the United Nations is not that they stop every conflict, but rather that they try and eliminate the roots of violent conflict. After the birth of nuclear ballistic weapons, every day’s survival was just an hour away from utter destruction. However, we are still here today, and the spectre of death no longer hangs so threateningly above us. The UN provided a forum for negotiations between the various parts of the world, enabling us to be here.

The UN has successes in many other areas as well. The WHO was able to forcibly eradicate smallpox from the face of the Earth. Imagine if another such campaign was targetted against AIDS or typhoid or something else. Such an undertaking requires international cooperation.

It is my opinion that the UN is a very useful organization which cannot always be successful, but must always try. Each success means that many fewer people die and that many few families and cultures are destroyed.

The United Nations is only as effective as the members are willing to make it.

As Lincoln once said, “A house divided can not stand”. This is true in respect to the US and now to the UN. If the US is really the worlds last superpower, then I belive it has an obligation to participate and facilitate the UN. With out the participation of the US then of course the UN’s ability to fulfill it’s goals are compromised.

When Powell presented the case to the UN and sought multilateral action from countries not just out to get into NATO, as most of the ‘coalition of the willing’ is. Thats a whole other discussion, but it stems from the US neglecting the UN. Back on topic, the UN heard the arguments, and agreed that the Iraqi military posed no threat and the US claims of WMD were unfounded or based on poor intelligence. It was agreed that further inspections were required, and were commencing.

That’s is the moment that the US should have dropped the cowboy attitude and worked with the UN to help ensure the inspectors and aid workers could do their job. We had the worlds attention focused on Iraq and had demonstrated that we were willing to work with the rest of the world to fix what we argued was a world threat. It could have been an example of the world working together to defeat an evil, as it almost did in the first Gulf war. It could have cemented the role of the UN and eliminated any doubts the world had about the ability of nations to come together and work for a common good.

Instead we gave the UN the proverbial finger and started bombing. And don’t forget the Freedom toast. We really stuck it to those French with that one.

And here we are. No WMD, no moral victory, no strategic victory, nothing even remotely involved in fighting terrorism, an angry Arab world and an over tasked military. We do have examples of the US military practicing the same brutality that Saddam was guilty of and a mounting body count, along with a massive war debt. Aside from all that, the real problem is that we have pretty well trampled on decades of diplomatic ties and good will that could have given us a real chance at routing terrorist cells around the world. Now the chances of getting the level of cooperation that we had shortly after 9/11 is gone. This makes the ‘war on terror’ a war on entire countries instead of terrorists.

Oh yes, this unilateral thing is just working out swimmingly huh?

Again. Diplomacy may not be as fun, but has a lower body count. This is good, no?

-Andy A.

(I’m going to follow Andy off the subject here, but some things need to be said before too many people embrace these words as true. This pains me.)

Are you sure about this?

WMD: Iraqis fired scud missles at our troops (while we were bombing them). We hear that our troops have found some Iraqi equipment to make mustard gas. Also, recently, we have heard that we have found serin-filled bombs. Is this not true?

Moral victory: Saddam is removed from power. Is Iraq no better off now as opposed to before? One side of the media says no, the other says yes. We hear that schools are in session, the power grid and oil production are both more productive now compared with levels under Saddam’s power. It’s too early to tell if there is a moral victory or not, yet. I hope that there is, for the sake of peace.

Remote links in Iraq to terrorism: Actually, we have heard about some links. Suspected terrorist training camps are reported to be found (one included a Boeing passenger plane). While these are not concrete, they are at least remote.

“We do have examples of the US military practicing the same brutality that Saddam was guilty”: SAME brutality as Saddam? whoa. Both sides of the media tend to agree that Saddam raped, tortured and killed thousands of people. Some reports say that up to 300,000 Iraqi people have been killed by Saddam’s brutality. You are equating 6 US soldier’s abuse to this? While the abuse of these 6 soldiers (and their management) must be condemned and punished, it is not the SAME. You are over the line on this one.

I repsect people’s opinions and it is good to back up your beliefs passionately, but do not use shockingly untrue claims to get your point across. Once this sort of reckless behavior is shown, respect is lost.

Andy B.

It seems like we’re having a problem with the relative scale of things here.

For example, a SCUD with mustard gas is not a weapon of mass destruction–with a chemical payload, it’s intended mainly as a tactical weapon (albeit a fantastically outdated and highly inaccurate one). With a nuclear payload, it could be used strategically, but that’s moot, since nobody found an appropriate warhead, or even a SCUD rigged to accept such a warhead. In any case, the mere fact that a SCUD could carry a nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) weapon does not make it a weapon of mass destruction. In short, NBC ≠ WMD; with the NBC weapons Iraq is known to have possessed, there was no legitimate capability for mass destruction, rather, only localized carnage would have been possible. (They might have been able to kill or maim everyone in a 1 km radius with gas, but they couldn’t have levelled the city like the Americans did Nagasaki.)

As for the prisoner abuse: It is indisputable that the number of American violations was not equal to the number of Iraqi violations. It’s absurd to even suggest this–let’s give Andy A. the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t trying to say something so positively ficticious. On the other hand, while the Americans aren’t accused of killing their prisoners, their other alleged acts of torture are perfectly in keeping with some of the methods allegedly used by the Iraqis. The scale is different, the alleged atrocities are equally reprehensible as individual events.

I’d also like to point out that evidence of terrorist training camps in Iraq does not imply govermental co-operation with those “institutions”. In America, there are criminal, even terroristic organizations that operate outside the law. Does this imply that the United States government is due to be overthrown? But I’ll give Andy B. the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he feels that the Iraqis were casting a blind eye on these alleged terroristic activities (rather than actively supporting them, since there is insufficient evidence to prove governmental support). Maybe that’s true, and therefore the old Iraqi government would not be without fault.

As for this supposed moral victory, need I point out that the electricity grid worked under Saddam (no worse than now, at any rate), the schools were in session (and they were even secularized and under governmental scrutiny, despite the blatant propaganda), and oil production in Iraq depends on the Kurds (who Saddam tried to kill). The major oil fields are centred not around the Gulf coast, like in other neigbouring states, but rather in he north, in territory that is predominantly Kurdish in ethnic makeup–they don’t hate the U.S., and they are willing to permit oil production, rather than sabotaging the Hussein government’s attempts to produce oil. Basically, that’s not evidence of a moral victory–it’s a combination of the pre-war status quo, and citizens who aren’t as interested in blowing up American-sponsored oil facilities (yet?). Maybe a moral victory exists, but those examples do not demonstrate it.

So what do we have? No evidence for Iraqi support of terrorism (maybe they ignored it) and no evidence for weapons of mass destruction (they had tactical chemical weapons, and at one time had some interest in nuclear technology of all sorts).
It seems that the only one of the above things that we can actually pin on the Iraqis is that they killed, tortured and oppressed thousands (no small atrocity, granted). But that much was never in dispute, and didn’t prompt the U.S. to go to war (they’ve known of this for around 20 years, now). Instead, it was the phantoms of terrorism and WMDs that sent America to war (and make no mistake–until such time as sufficient proof is freely presented to the world, Iraqi WMDs and state-sponsored terrorists are purely conjectural apparitions).

You really need to check your facts because you are wrong on sooooo many levels. The Canadian media is known to be very biased so perhaps it’s not your fault. Heck, the Canadian government is even allowing and giving free sanctuary to deserters from the American Army. …but that is not what this subject is about. It really is amazing to see what is coming out of the media about what is going on in Iraq. We always see and lots of people always talk about how when the media do interviews and stories about FIRST, they are always so off. Why are we to believe that this doesnt happen across the board of ALL news? 3 field reps from Rolls-Royce that provide support for the Army for the engines that are in the Kiowa Warrior OH-58 helicopter. These guys talked about how we should not believe the elite media for what is actually going on in Iraq. They said that the war is going soooo much better than what the elite media portrays it to be. If you talk to almost any service man or service woman who has just returned from there, you will get the same story time after time again. Everybody should talk to somebody who just returned from the war, you will learn a lot about what is the REAL truth.

We have differences of opinions here about the definition of this, but that does not matter. Regardless of our disagreeing definitions, aren’t these things prohibited for Iraq to have, according to UN resolutions?

Again, this is wrong. Both the scale and atrocities are different. Are you getting reports that American soldiers are cutting off Iraqi prisoners’ limbs, raping them, and killing Iraqi prisoners in mass graves? I am not. Your comparison is not accurrate and insulting to 1.4 million American service men and women.

Agreed. All I was saying to that was that the jury is still out. We simply don’t know if there is a connection or not.

Again, we don’t know yet. It is early. I only refuted that Andy A. should not claim that there is “no moral victory”. We will find out eventually. Sadly, I don’t have a crystal ball.

We are not going to solve anything here with this debate. The “truth” about what is present in Iraq, what happened in Iraq and what will happen in Iraq it not known by anyone reading these boards, except those who have seen things for themselves. I don’t claim to know what is happening over there, and I am not stupid enough to simply listen to one media outlet to form my opinion.

But… I will try to bring this back to the subject of the UN, and try to make this semi-productive: What should happen right now in Iraq? How should the UN be involved? Should they step in and help keep the peace?

My opinion is that we cannot pull out now. I wish that the fighting will decrease and the UN will step in and work side-by-side with the American-led forces. Eventually, the Iraqi people would be able to police themselves.

Andy B.

My information is based on a number of news sources, some Canadian, but in fact more American (American news is just as easy to get in Canada as in America!). I didn’t consult Fox News–are they an example of the unbiased standard against which all media should be judged. (I think that David Kelly’s implication here is that any media outlet that does not overtly support the Americans is biased against them. This is foolish.)

I believe that you’re referring to a case where the American is claiming refugee status. This entitles him to a fair hearing before an immigration board. If he is refused, he is sent back. Would you have it any other way? The American in question believes that he will be persecuted for some opinion of his, if he remains in the Army, and in the U.S.–whether or not this is indeed the case is undetermined.

The media certainly portrays some aspects of the occupation in a negative light. Then again, soldiers congratulating themselves doesn’t constitute a conflict, and doesn’t make for “entertaining” news. (An oxymoron, to be sure, but the media has an agenda too–to make money off people who are interested in, rather than bored with what they show.) So they show primarily the bad parts of the operation. It’s not a dire situation everywhere, but at least they’re addressing the problems, rather than denying that they exist (or ignoring them outright).

They are largely illicit, yes, but the U.S. was certainly not enforcing UN resolutions by declaring war. And speaking of prohibited weapons, the UN is trying to ban things like anti-personnel land mines, but the U.S. wants to keep using them. Is this the same sort of situation?

I’m getting reports that they sexually abused prisoners, subjected them to torture, in violation of international laws regarding the rights of prisoners. I specifically did not accuse the U.S. of murder. I accused the U.S. of employing some methods which were used by the Iraqis. Unless the prisoner abuse incidents are all hoaxes (who believes that, with videos and all?), I think it is perfectly valid to say that some American actions are “in keeping with some of the methods allegedly used by the Iraqis.” [Quoting myself, in post #14, emphasis added]

THIS IS A WAR!

I know that Canada has a hard time realizing what exactly a war is…what with all that French influence…but America is at war! :mad:

The truth is…things happen in war. I know it may be hard to realize that things like this happen…but they do.

WAR IS HELL!

Am I sorry that these things happened? Absolutely. Am I more sorry that the soldiers were dumb enough to take pictures of what happened? Bet your bottom dollar.

Things happen in war. That’s why it is called war. It isn’t a tea party or a chess match with clear cut rules and if you get checkmated you walk away and play another day. A checkmate in war=death. You don’t walk away…therefore you do what you have to do to ensure survival. And if that means using different methods to get what answers to protect yourself…well…that’s what you gotta do.

You can hope for peace in one hand and crap in another and see which one fills up first.

I support the men and women fighting for my safety and realize what they have to do. Go get them! As for the UN…there’s a reason the League of Nations isn’t around anymore.

True…but

Its raining…and the UN is on sand.

I believe that you’re referring to a case where the American is claiming refugee status. This entitles him to a fair hearing before an immigration board. If he is refused, he is sent back. Would you have it any other way? The American in question believes that he will be persecuted for some opinion of his, if he remains in the Army, and in the U.S.–whether or not this is indeed the case is undetermined.

Nope. The guy decided he didn’t want to be in the army that he volunteered to be in so he just ran away like a chicken the day of his unit’s deployment. The biggest chickens (there is more than one that ran away) on the face of the earth. I have absolutely no sympathy for someone who creates their own problems.

I specifically did not accuse the U.S. of murder.

Just a note but the army is investigating three cases of murder/mysterious deathes the last I heard on the news.

In any case, the mere fact that a SCUD could carry a nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) weapon does not make it a weapon of mass destruction. In short, NBC ≠ WMD; with the NBC weapons Iraq is known to have possessed, there was no legitimate capability for mass destruction, rather, only localized carnage would have been possible. (They might have been able to kill or maim everyone in a 1 km radius with gas, but they couldn’t have levelled the city like the Americans did Nagasaki.)

Let me be the first to say that any type of biological/chemical weapon is a weapon of mass destruction. I really don’t think any news media doesn’t consider chemical or biological weapons weapons of mass destruction. They are probably more dangerous than any other weapon available to a terrorist (except for a nuke).

Nerve agents are in the stockpiles of several nations, and it is suspected that they may be possessed by several terrorist groups. They are an insidious way to injure or kill a large number of people in a rapid, painful, and gruesome manner. All methods of public transportation, and areas of public gathering are vulnerable.

This talk of America’s successes and failures in Iraq is definitely detracting from the subject of the UN. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to debate all things Iraq, but maybe we should start another thread? If someone has the ability to split this thread, can they please do so? I think we need to follow Andy’s lead and try to get this thread talking about the UN again.

I agree with Andy that what’s done is done, and now we have to adapt our future action to deal with the decisions that have already been made, no matter how opposed I was to them when they were taking place. We cannot just pack up and leave; otherwise we would fulfill the false threat of a terrorist laden Iraq. We cannot allow this to happen or else we would have a danger to America and other western nations festering in Iraq. I believe that it is in the US’s best interest to bring foreign troops into Iraq to help with peacekeeping and possibly army/police training. The only plausible way of accomplishing this is to set up some sort of board with representatives from all countries with troops in Iraq, and each of them has a proportionate vote to their number of troops in the country. Gen. Shinseki believed that it would take ~225,000 troops in Iraq to be able to effectively monitor the country. This means we need to scrounge up 45,000 troops (which is roughly equal to the number of British troops in Iraq last time I heard). It’s not an easy job, but it’d at least be a possibility on the horizon if we gave others a say in how military operations were run in Iraq. This is just a rough attempt and should be bounced off of others countries to see their opinions of it. I think it’s a better point to start more detailed negotiations than to demand US control over all troops in Iraq.

<edit>Crap. I meant to say that I would be fine with this being facilitated by the UN, but I don’t feel strongly that it needs to be. There are pro’s and con’s to UN involvement.</edit>