Is the UN gone the way of The League of Nations?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by j26, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #1
    With the rise in unilateral military actions, the aparent death of diplomacy and a means of pursuing foreign policy, and the US ambivalence towards it (like with the League of Nations), is the UN doomed to go the way of the League of Nations?

    I think the rise of unilateralism is destroying the UN. Many people think of the UN as a governmental body and use the fact that it represents several opinions as a weakness, therefore dismissing it because it can't impose its will. The various vetos by the permanent members of the Security Council are preventing it from making decisions, and then it gets portrayed as weak, creating a vicious cycle. Certain states ignore resolutions with impunity as they have the backing of a powerful state, further weakening the UN.

    I fear we are on another rise in fanatical nationalism and unilateralism on all sides, and a situation like that is a tinderbox waiting to catch fire. We are moving back to the balance of powers type situation that existed prior to WW2.

    Any opinions?
     
  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #2
    well its not so much of a failure as the League of Nations...

    but it is surely losing its potency. i don't think it will last, surely, but it never was meant to. does it almost need a reconstruction from the ground up as sort of a means to get back to its 'roots'? i think so.

    the question then becomes, "Do we have to have another total war on a world-wide scale for the U.N. to get its priorities straight?"
     
  3. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #3
    Well. I hope not because I see the UN as a vital institution if the parties involved are willing to use it as such. The US's current disdain for the organization hasn't helped matters, but neither has Kofi Annan's poor leadership in the face of each crisis.

    The UN has to come to grips with what it stand for and stop allowing countries like Syria be involved in human rights committees. The UN is in danger of being replaced by more regional alliances, although only NATO is coherent enought to actually do something.

    One thing that is often ignored is the UN's relationships with organizations like UNICEF and the WHO which are very important and necessary. It's really the political arm of the UN that has failed in its objectives.
     
  4. j26 thread starter macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #4
    But that's the point - states don't seem to be willing to use it. It has been bypassed on several occasions (Kosovo being a prime example), and is ignored by Israel, and has proved ineffective in Somalia. The US is treating the institution with contempt. Iran is playing games over the nclear issue, and God knows how many other states are only playing lip service to the UN.

    As to the point of allowing Syria on a human rights committee, what else would you expect from a multilateral institution? Every state should be involved in improving human rights, not just the ones we agree with. The US could be considered suspect due to surveillance laws. There are surely human rights violations in Ireland (but I can't think of any off hand at the moment). Everyone should be involved, or should we have a "He who is without sin" type of committee. Who'd be there? Togo and Easter Island?


    And I agree on Kofi Annan - he's not been particularly effective, although times have been rather difficult for him.
     
  5. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #5
    I'm not sure about how reasonable it is for Syria to be in charge of that committee, but I think your point is valid.

    I think much of the weakness of the UN has to do with the Security Council powers who seem unable to deal directly with each other. If it's not Russia absenting in Kosovo, it's the French in dealings with Iran. The Chinese get in the way when North Korea is involved, and the US seems unable to direct any of these parties into action.
     
  6. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

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    #6
    So a country that doesn't give a **** about human rights deserves to be on the Human Rights commision regardless?

    Given all the scandals that ocurred under Kofi Annan, it's only heightened the distrust the United States has of the organization, particularly after the Oil for Food scandal. Then the organization had complained that about the States giving the money directly to the governments involved in the Tsunami disaster rather than give it to the U.N. to give it to them, after noted distrust of the organization.

    Is the U.N. becoming ineffective, yes. Can it be redeemed, yes. But it's going to take a lot of work on the part of many countries, and I don't think many countries particularly care about the UN.
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #7
    I wonder if the US and the other permanent members of the UNSC could be convinced to give up their veto power in the interest of making the UN a more functional body?
     
  8. j26 thread starter macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #8
    And there lies the rub - really we're back to Great Power politics again
    -Russia protects its interests in Kosovo
    -France does its own thing in the Middle East not realising its not one of the Great Powers anymore
    -China complicates anything with Korea
    -US backs up Israel
    -UK backs up US.

    With the veto, the body becomes ineffective when the interests of any of the permanent members are affected. Remove the vetos and it would have a chance, but I don't think that will happen.
     
  9. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #9
    i think some sort of veto might be necessary, but there should be a way to override the veto if enough members agree.
    also i think the security council (with veto rights) should be composed by 4 of the G8 nations (rotating seat) plus the 5 most populous (china, india, usa, indonesia, brazil) plus one representative elected from each of 4 continents/geographical areas (africa, asia/oceania, europe, americas).
    a veto is overridden with 75% of the council or 75% of member states.
     
  10. blackfox macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Well, it depends on how you perceive the UN's purpose in the world. If you look at the UN as a "world government" - you would be both wrong, and dissapointed.

    The UN, the power of which, almost by definition, affects only the poorest countries, is not going down a road of world governance.

    With it's peacekeeping failures in Bosnia and Somalia and it's abysmmal failure in Cambodia Democracy, not to mention Oil-for-food and other more recent failures - the UN is likely to be a supranational relief Agency - and perhaps that is just fine.

    Perhaps it is a sign-of-the-times, as Globalism erodes traditional Nations, that the UN would also lose relevance.

    Already, like it or not, it is International Corporations who will likely pick up the mantle of global governance - at least a loose approximation of it.

    It is laready more important for many leaders in developing nations to get a hearing at the WEF, than to speak at the UN General Assembly. Amnesty International briefs corporations as well as countries. Interpol has thought of (and may have) sharing intelligence with corporations.

    Countries are persuaded by economics as much (or more) as force, and Nations can no longer guarantee economics as Globalism continues - International Corporations can. Countries have built entire cities and infrastructures to attract corporations (such as Malaysia) - and that implied power held is very real.

    One of the best peacekeeping forces in the world belongs not to the UN, or a country, but to a South African mercenary force called Executive Outcomes. They restored peace in Sierra Leone in the mid-90's - which crumbled after they left.

    The relevancy of the East India Trading Company model is coming around anew.

    This seems a mixed-blessing - as Corporations, at least now, are not the most altruistic of creatures - but with the exception of corporations with a hand in war-profit making, generally commerce flourishes with peace, and peace flourishes with commerce, so it would appear that on some level, human and corporate interests dovetail.

    In any case, International Conglomerates are the modern arbiters of the world - insofar as there are any.
     
  11. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    #11
    Yes, the UN has lost a lot of its authority lately. The USA is the country to blame for that. If the USA had supported and bowed to majority decisions made in the UN, other countries would have no choice but to follow.

    The scandals like Oil-for-food are saddening, but it's good that they've been discovered. The UN as an organisation is large, difficult to move and quite ridden with corruption and organisational issues, but that is a symptom of the world in general. I don't think Kofi Annan can be blamed any more than other leaders of the UN or the governments of individual countries. It seems to me that he's doing a good job considering what he has to work with.

    Despite the difficulty of creating a functional and powerful UN, it's a worthwhile effort, because the alternatives are much less productive in the long run.

    blackfox: I find it difficult to describe the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia as a failure. It's not perfect, perhaps, but it's not a failure either.
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    But don't forget, this very same ineffective UN is being sold in this country by the NRA as being on the verge of coming to take your guns away...
     
  13. nbs2 macrumors 68030

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    #13
    Peacekeeping hasn't been a failure. But, the UN intervention was. It took NATO to put everybody in a separate corner.
     
  14. hulugu macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Exactly. The UN Security Council is really an echo of the Great Powers, mostly because it's a who won World War II and didn't try to play in the Suez Canal.

    It helped that NATO had the military teeth that the UN didn't and the willingness to bite.
     
  15. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    No , NATO force was required in Kosovo because a UN peacekeeping force was held hostage to a Russian veto.

    The UN, as a body for resolving world conflicts and keeping peace, is a failure and has been since the Korean War. As a humanitarian agency, its held hostage to political ideology, so those functions are better served by MSF, Red Cross, Amnesty International, etc.

    I think there will be a world peacekeeping body, but it will go by names like "The US and the EU" or "NATO" or "the G8", and will basically amount to whatever the US, Europe, and Japan wants, so long as Russia, China, and India don't strenuously object. So yes, I think the UN is obsolete and should be disbanded.
     
  16. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #16
    UN , League of Nations whats the difference? The UN cant even stop the proliferation of Nukes in Iran & N.Korea so yeah its a failure big time if it cant even stop this and since it cant we might as well just close it down.:)
     
  17. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #17
    Good idea! And likewise with the medical industry: they haven't managed to cure cancer yet, so it's a failure big time and we might as well just close down all the doctors offices and research facilities.
     
  18. j26 thread starter macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #18
    That relates to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which has actually been reasonably successful. I mean without it, how many nuclear armed states would there be now? 20? 30? More?
     

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