Saturday, December 4, 2004

Power Struggle: The United Nations

I'm a creature of habit. I have a routine every morning. First waiting till the last possible moment to get out of bed, leaving myself just barely enough time, I shower, eat my cornflakes, and sit down to the computer. I get online, read the Washington Post, check up on Nick's Daily News, and read my email. With the exception to my email, the other two have been quite loaded with information on the United Nations.

Going into the election in November I was quite convinced that I had to vote for whomever could prove they had a plan to get the United States back into the U.N. and regain respect amongst the U.N. community. But, in the last several months with this new Oil-For-Food/ Kofi Annan madness, I've been forced to re-examine my outlook on the United Nations. Also, the recent resignation of John Danforth (first a senator, then clergyman, currently the American ambassador to the U.N.) has sparked my interest in the history of the United Nations.

Here's a little history lesson on the U.N.:

In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. Those delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States in August-October 1944. The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. (Courtesy of the U.N. Website)

The conclusion I've come to is that no nation-state is going to give up their sovereignty without a fight. Nations swear allegiance to their own governments, not vast organizations like the U.N. This is why so much of what the U.N. does is met with great opposition. No group of people are willing to subject themselves fully to the idea of the United Nations-- not Americans, not Iraqis, and not the French.

So...how has this changed my mind on the role of the U.N. in Iraq? I still think that we must have a respectable reputation as the world's superpower, but the U.N. is not the answer. An alliance is. A very strong alliance. Not the alliance we currently have with Britain, Australia, and Poland, but a strong alliance of the strongest countries, i.e. France, Germany, Russia, and certain Middle Eastern nations.

Both the United Nations and the League of Nations are/were wonderful ideas--in theory, but like I said, you can't force a nation to subject themselves to a foreign power. Americans swear allegiance to America and America only.

1 comment:

Nick Speth said...

Thanks for the plug, and I swear I'm trying to get off the U.N., more stuff just keeps coming up. It's like... the new Rathergate!

Iraq could have invaded Kuwait again, and France and Russia would not have allowed us into the country itself if they had their druthers (is "druthers" a real word? If it isn't, it should be). That's how I see it anyway.

The U.N. has a place in the world, but, as you say, nobody is going to give up their soverignty to it. Though all member states are required to abide by Security Council resolutions, motions in the general assembly are about as binding as if you and I got together and started passing resolutions on the crisis in the Sudan.

I say "supposed" when it comes to security council resolutions because they are only as binding as the U.N. is willing to make them through the threat or use of force. Even from the beginning, the U.N. has been a slow-moving beast due to the inclusion of two then-communist countries as veto-holders.

Basically the U.N. needs overhauling, and one way I propose to do it is with regional security councils, over which the big five have veto power, but no vote. Each regional council would consist of influential countries in the region. So for instance the Middle East/Subcontinent region would have India, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia (though I would make democracy a prerequisite, which would leave only Israel, Turkey, and India). If the regional councils can't make a decision, the the main SC takes over. I'll write it up nice someday and put it on my site, but until then... I guess I've written enough.