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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Why American liberals get it wrong about the UN

During the debate over the war in in Iraq, liberals whom I made common cause with in opposition to the war often times cited to me that the war was somehow "illegal" because it was done without a UN mandate. The recent debate over the nomination of John Bolton to be President Bush's UN ambassador has brought these same issues front and center yet again in my mind.

First let me preface my comments by stating that I do not support John Bolton's nomination. However, I do find most of critiques of the United Nations on the money. In fact, if it is possible I am even more hostile to American participation in and/or deference to the United Nations that Mr. Bolton is. I agree with a close friend of mine who is a prominent Democrat here in Florida that Bush, should Bolton be rejected needs to nominate another UN critic, possibly Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota to make it clear that the UN must change.

The United Nations is perhaps the most undemocratic and corrupt Governmental institution currently headquartered in the United States. The United Nations has become a forum for disaffected nations to air their grievance's against the United States and for the anti-American press in Europe and the third world to then in turn beat up on the United States. It has also become a forum for Russia, France and China all of whom have foreign policies as much based on jingoism and paranoia as does the United States (again contrary to what the American left would lead you to believe: according to the left in our country the USA is the only nation that is jingoistic, imperialist and a perpetrator of conflicts abroad.) to obstruct American foreign policy and interfere in the national security interests of the United States.

Contrary to the rhetoric and actions of the Bush administration, Russia still represents a global threat to American interests. The Chinese are the most dangerous nation on the planet currently, save North Korea, and France enjoys being contrary to the United States and United Kingdom on everything. All three nations hold a veto on the Security Council. Even more dangerous is a proposal to give India, a nation that has for most of its independent life opposed the United States on every major global action a veto on the Security Council. Despite recent economic liberalisation, India remains a potential dangerous nation, largely because it is a democracy which is controlled by highly uneducated and emotional voters, not unlike the United States. Moreover, India bares at least some of the blame in its ongoing conflict with Pakistan, a conflict which has seen well over a million people die needlessly since 1947, a higher number than any other post WW II conflict.

The UN is an institution that does some good work. Humanitarian programs like UNESCO, UNICEF and others do come to mind. But the United Nations is a bureaucratic, top down organization that is run by elites who have done little to ensure global peace and security which is after all the mission of the U.N. The U.N. has missed the boat on several of the following issues where the United States had to either independently or with the help of some allies show leadership.

  • The growing Nuclear threat from North Korea. The US in 1994 under President Clinton's last second deal with the late Kim Il-Sung was done thanks to US leadership and despite a disinterested U.N.
  • The US and European allies after four years of UN incaction brokered a compromise in Bosnia which stopped the worst genocide on European continent since the Holocaust. The United States came to side of slaughtered Muslims while the United Nations appeased the despicable dictator Slobadan Milosevic.
  • The US and NATO failed to get a UN resolution to get Milosevic out of Kosovo in 1999 where again he was slaughtering Muslims. The UN did not take action because of the threat of a Russian veto. The US led coalition took 78 days to finish off Milosevic and now he and his deputies face a war crimes tribunal. This was thanks to President Clinton's decision to ignore the UN and take strong military action.
  • The U.N. failed in its attempts to bring about peace in Northern Ireland. Eventually, the United States again under President Clinton worked out a deal.
  • The U.N. has never been successful in brokering Middle East peace. These days, the combantants, be it Israel, the Palestinians or other Arabs look to the United States for leadership, and only use the UN when it can serve a political purpose to intensify the ongoing conflict.
  • The United Nations despite lofty rhetoric abandoned both Rwanada and the Sudan as genocide was just starting, leaving locals to slaughter one another.

Given this mounting evidence, what exactly is the purpose of the United Nations? I personally believe that the UN should either be reformed or ignored by American policymakers. The concert of nations can informally solve crises as has been demonstrated time and time again without the United Nations involvement.


LK said...

I don't disagree that the UN needs a lot of reform on the political side. It does do excellent work through its other (charitable) agencies such as WHO, UNICEF and others.

One of my pet peeves is the huge pension that retd. UN employess draw, not only through their lifetime, but also that of their spouses. It is paid in US dollars and no doubt supported by the dues (taxpayer dollars) that we pay them. These are the very same employees that failed to effectively implement any UN action when it was needed.

And Kartik, you are wrong, I am an American liberal and am not blind to the UN's faults.


Anonymous said...

Kartik- you're dead wrong on this one. The United Nations serves a vital purpose, and it is important that the United States works closely with the United Nations instead of with holding dues and hurting the UN. The United Nations should be the over riding authority ocer whether or not disputes are legitimate and whether war is justified. The United Nations should be given the authotity to prevent armed conflict. The UN would have the ability to stop wars if the US was not such a mach nation under Bush which seeks to rebuild the Roman Empire and crown the nitwit from Texas as Caeser.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say macho nation

Anonymous said...

I am a huge fan of President Clinton, but feel he should have gotten UN approval before invading Serbia in 1999. What Clinton did is give cover to the Bush administration over Iraq and also needlessly upset the Russians. If a consensus exists worldwide for military action, the UN will approve it, as was the case with Kuwait in 1991 and Korea in 1950.

Joe said...

I have no doubt that should the United States actually need the UN for something it would never be there. That's why liberals and some conservatives who support the UN are dead wrong. We need to get them off American soil and let them exist without American welfare. The leadership that our President showed along with Tony Blair, who was just returned to office for a third term (if the war was so bad why were both Bush and Blair re-elected?) far outweighed what the indecisive and useless UN has ever done.

Lou said...

The UN is a joke. I'm a Democrat and have no problem saying so.

Anonymous said...

No way should the UN continue to be hurt by the USA's arrogance. Bush is a cowboy who attacks the UN for political reasons. Kartik, you mention Clinton over and over again, but weren't half those issues related to wag the dog? In Kosovo, didn't Clinton need a war because he was being impeached? Don't get me wrong, I'm a Clinton supporter but let's be honest.....he was a master at diversion and dishonesty. It's funny how Clinton, when he was riding high in the polls in 1997 didn't touch the Kosovo war even though then it was at its most brutal stage.

Kevin said...

Now you're sounding like a Republican. I guess this blog isn't just about bashing Republicans and New Yorkers as I had feared. Good post, Kartik. Excellent points you've made.

Kartik said...

Looks like I started a fun discussion here!

Thomas said...

The UN is a disaster and our freedom is in jeopardy largely because of the UN's mandates on how Government's should conduct business.

Anonymous said...

The liberals get it wrong? You must be kidding. The Hate America, love France and the love UN crowd wrong about some thing? Obviously the media doesn't see it that way!

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I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.