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.