Does U.N. stand for United Nations or Useless Neurotics?

IMAGE: United States government work

RANCHO SANTA FE, Ca., July 28, 2014 – Civil unrest in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine (just to name a few), incomprehensible malnutrition and disease in the middle-African country of your choice, the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, and serious immigration issues on the United States’ southern border create a disturbing level of unrest in the world, yet the United Nations seems to be missing in action. Instead, it spends time and money calling together the U.N. Security Council to vote on whether to adopt a resolution condemning the downing of the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane, as if the issue really needed to be debated.

The U.N. is broken. It either needs to be fixed or disbanded as was its predecessor, the League of Nations.

This is not to suggest that the U.N. serves no useful purpose. Some of its debates and resultant resolutions call appropriate attention to issues that might otherwise be ignored. However, on a world stage driven by critical issues, it is an emasculated organization that is difficult to take seriously.

As was mentioned in Presidential chemistry: UN-wind the Syrian crisis (September 9, 2013), the first purpose of the United Nations is: “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”(Chapter I, Article 1, Section 1.)

The record is fairly clear with respect to how ineffective the U.N. has been in that regard.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine (first mentioned above) are all Member States of the U.N. What progress has been made by the United Nation in addressing those countries civil unrest?

Israel is a Member Nation of the United Nations. The U.N. recently “demanded” that Israel and Palestine agree to a ceasefire to take steps toward achieving“a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders as envisioned in Security Council Resolution 1850.” It is worth noting that Resolution 1850 was originally passed in 2008, so you may not wish to anticipate its having an immediate impact on the current conflict.

El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have all been Member Nations since 1945. They also are at the root of the massive immigration problem that now confronts the United States on its southern border. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has called for a resolution that would essentially proclaim all illegal immigrants to be “refugees.”

Adrian Edwards, a spokesperson for the High Commissioner, offered the following justification for the blanket definition: “They are fleeing an environment of transnational organized crime and other problems there, and we believe that amongst that there are people who will be in need of international protection.” One might sarcastically ask, “Who isn’t these days?”

At least the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is consistent. It has challenged Europe to apply the same rational to the people who are fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea to escape the challenges that dominate the continent of Africa. It will be interesting to see how cooperative the French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese governments, et al. will respond to this edict.

The United Nations also has issued a myriad of resolutions on issues ranging from women’s rights to one of its favorites: Resolutions concerning humanitarian rights violations. Unfortunately, while these resolutions create a brief moment of “bad press” for any associated violators (as well as an instance of “political gain” for those officials who find a way of exploiting the decrees), they have limited practical impact.

Of course, the United Nation’s position on women’s rights, as espoused by its Commission on the Status of Women, might bear more weight if Member Nations such as the Pakistan and Islamic Republic of Iran did not serve on the Commission. Their occasional foray into the public stoning of a woman for what the rest of the world considers to be “stone age” transgressions diminishes the relevance of effort.

Similarly, the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights might have more gravitas if Member Nations like China, Ethiopia, Namibia and Pakistan did not serve such a prominent role on the Commission. It is worth noting that Sudan is no longer a member of the Commission for Human Rights. Apparently, the U.N. “draws the line” at an active program of “ethnic cleansing.”

Then again, perhaps the United Nations is simply too busy issuing resolutions against the United States for its ongoing human rights violations vis-à-vis detention without charge (Guantánamo), use of the death penalty, drone strikes, NSA surveillance, and gun violence (just to name a few). The latter is interesting in light of the fact that one of the High Commissioner for Refugees’ rationales for pressing the U.S. to embrace all illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras is the violence that occurs in those countries.

The United States’ position on immigration (to the degree it has one) has also come under fire as a human rights violation; particularly with regard to instances that can be tied to racial profiling. Then-Secretary of State (now President-in-waiting) Hillary Clinton even provided the U.N. with “ammunition” to make the argument in her 2010 Report of the United States Submitted to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Conjunction with the Universal Periodic Review. She raised Arizona S.B. 1070 as an example of the type of racial profiling (with respect to immigration) that the Obama Administration rejects, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights quickly used that as a basis for its admonishment of the United States.

As an aside: Please read the entire report and then research the facts that underlie the Secretary’s 26 pages that proclaim our Nation’s outstanding record (unless an issue can somehow be tied to the Republican Party). It will provide you with excellent insight into the authenticity with which diplomatic documents are cast.

In any event, it may be time to present the United Nations with a “gold watch” in honor of its retirement as its behavior has become increasingly neurotic.

If it doesn’t find a way to become more relevant in the future, perhaps the money it spends on diplomatic dinners and trips could be redirected to buy food, water, medicine, etc. for the nations that so desperately need those resources. The world would be a better place if the U.N. were to deliver a few less meaningless resolutions and a few more meaningful actions.

What is your opinion?


A Civil Assessment has been designed to serve as an Op-Ed forum for you. You are invited to offer your opinion and to discuss your position in the Comment Section. Please be sure that your “assessments” remain “civil” so that they may earn the respect of others.


TJ O’Hara provides nonpartisan political commentary every Tuesday on The Daily Ledger, one of One America News Network’s featured shows (check local cable listings for the channel in your area or watch online at 8:00 PM and Midnight PM Eastern / 5:00 and 9:00 PM Pacific. His segment appears about 35 minutes into the program.

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TJ OHara
T.J. O'Hara is an internationally recognized author, speaker and strategic consultant in the private and public sectors. In 2012, he emerged as the leading independent candidate for the Office of President of the United States. Along the way, he earned the first Presidential endorsement of the Whig Party since the 1850s, his website was archived by the Library of Congress for its historic significance, and he won the first on-line “virtual” Presidential election (conducted by We Want You) by a commanding 72.1% and 72.7% over Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, respectively. His column explores our Nation’s most pressing issues, challenges conventional thinking, and provides an open forum for civil discussion. Learn more about TJ at his website and connect with him on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter (@tjohara2012). To order his books, go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords or Sony Reader.
  • Jonathan Strackman

    Excellent piece TJ. I, for quite a while, have argued that the United Nations has outlived its usefulness. It has become like a homeowners association with people wanting to grandstand for their own petty purposes. And it has become as impotent as the League of Nations. The difference was the League of Nations was structurally limited, the United Nations created its own paralysis.

    Maybe the solution is quite easy. Move the UN out of New York City (and the US should stop doing the majority of funding) and to a place like the Sudan. NYC is way too cushy of a lifestyle for all these UN ambassadors. Who wouldn’t want to live in NYC? Let them live in one of the “hot zones” and maybe they will do something instead of living like royalty in New York.

    • Thank you for your kind words and comment, Mr. Erickson.

      I like your idea of moving the U.N.’s headquarters to a new environment that offers less temptation for distraction. Perhaps it would refocus the Ambassadors on the Charter of the United Nations as opposed to who was hosting the next dinner. Besides, it creates an interesting mental image of how the surroundings might influence the Ambassadors’ understanding of poverty, etc. (particularly in a country like Sudan). ;o)

      More importantly, the U.N. should either recommit to its Charter or gracefully exit the world stage. It has the potential to be a vital asset in achieving and maintaining world peace, but it must learn to offer action rather than just words.

      Thank you again for your comment.

  • Eric N Keya Erickson

    It strikes me that there are some similarities between the UN and the American government under the Articles of Confederacy, lots of responsibility, but no power. It is obviously a highly flawed organization, possibly having been contaminated by our own government due to it’s location in the US. For that reason alone it should be moved. Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index puts Denmark and New Zealand tied as the #1 corruption free countries in the world, so perhaps it would be best to move the UN to one of those places so that they may be more positively influenced.

    I think one of the big problems is that the member nations don’t want the UN to have the kind of power it needs to do what we’ve asked of it. Part of the problem is that we don’t trust each other around the world, let alone inside our nation, or even in our neighborhoods sometimes. Another part of the problem is that our politicians work very hard to gain the power and influence they have, and they don’t want to hand it over to another organization.

    I think we need to make a choice whether we want a truly United world living up to the principles of the UN, or whether we’d rather continue on the path we’re on, one of almost continuous war and terrible living conditions for many people around the world. Personally, I’d rather we try to leave the world a better place than we found it. Nationalism isn’t going to take us there.

    Regarding your comment on racial profiling, I think the UN is largely correct. From a historical perspective, anytime there has been a large influx of a certain nationality into the US, be it Irish, Italian, Chinese, or anything else, there has been a racist backlash. I hear people all the time say, “Well, I’m not racist or anything, but these Mexicans have to go back to their own country.” First of all, nobody seems to realize that they’re not all Mexicans, because after all, “they all look alike.” Second, nobody seems to realize that there are thousands of people from places other than Central and South America entering our country illegally each year. Chinese illegal immigrants get dumped off on our coast all the time, but nobody is calling for a sea wall to keep them out. Maybe because their nationality has been here long enough to gain acceptance as something more than “a bunch of field workers.” (none of these quotes are yours, just paraphrasing what I hear from people)

    Thanks for sparking this kind of debate, Mr. O’Hara. I just wish more people would participate.

    • Thank you for your comment, Mr. Erickson. I think you have done an excellent job of framing the issue.

      Beyond a potential facility relocation, the world has to decide whether it wants a functional and effective United Nations or just a symbolic organization that can only contribute in a superficial manner. It already has the latter.

  • Fargo Wells

    Liberty would be a meaningless term if it were defined by the whims and ever-changing will of fleeting majorities and their elected agents.

    • Thank you for your comment. Your point is well taken.

  • Kyle Anderson

    I cringed after doing an Arabic language clinical at the UN for my B.A. in linguistics. Even at age 22 and well on my way to fluency in Arabic and Russian having been born and raised in Chicago and in attendance at NYU in Manhattan I could tell the place and it’s ‘mission’ is a joke, fake and fraud and a waste of money. I couldn’t wait to get out of there as it made me anxious and the entire experience as a student interpreter was like something out of a bad Star Trek episode where you are stuck on a planet of bad guys and have to fake it to get out alive. A complete waste of money.

  • PG

    I would agree the United Nations has outlived its usefulness and this has been confirmed by the Japanese PM who said it should be re-organised . The success rate of the UN is very low , and it is a costly , unaccountable organisation .