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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How The UN Was Designed To Fail

As much as there is to admire about the purpose for creating the UN, as well as the UN Charter, the structure of the UN shows that the organization was designed to fail. Why? Because the structure of the UN is there to allow the most powerful nations of the day when the UN was created to be given impunity for most, if not all, wrongdoings. And the part of the UN that still protects the most powerful from the past is called the UN Security Council. For with a single vote, or veto to be more precise, a permanent member of the Security Council can make toothless any UN resolution. And the Security Council member that has exercised the most vetoes is the United States Of America (click here for a list of vetoes). Thus, the UN always carries with it the potential for becoming a tool of the most persistent of the powerful and, indeed, that is what it has become.

Thus, the UN has become a reflection of those who created it, especially those with the most power. Do the western members of the Security Council wish to claim that they try to spread democracy? Then why did they create and now support an organization that is really controlled by the Security Council rather than run democratically? We should note that neither the old Soviet Union nor Russia boasts of spreading democracy. The same goes for China.

BTW, what is the western rationalization for not making the UN fully democratic? If the word on the street is revealing then we should listen what is being said. The common response of the people I talk to who defend the non-reliance on democracy in the UN is to ask me: "Have you seen the other countries in the UN?" How can we rely on democracy when those other nations are so different from ourselves and would act against our interests? We should note these questions as we go through some of our own history.

If we take a further look at the Western nations, the United States in particular, and their claims that they want to spread democracy, we find some disturbing information. One of America's first acts after WW II, as noted by Howard Zinn, was to help France regain its colony in Vietnam. Now how was it that we were so dedicated to democracy when fighting in Europe during WW II while so against it in Southeast Asia? 

But it is not only supporting France's desire to rebuild its empire, which shows our disregard for democracy, we need to look at the 30-plus American interventions around the world that disrupted or completely undid democracies or democratic procedures (click here for reference). Examples include the American-British joint coup in Iran in 1953, the American supported coup in Guatemala in 1954, the disruption of Greek elections in 1967, and the coup in Chile in 1973. In each of these cases, democracy was replaced with a cooperative tyranny--cooperative in the sense that the new leaders followed orders from or contributed to the business interests of the United States. See, we could not leave some democracies well-enough alone because they were being run by those who were different from us. In the cases listed here, the people selected or were selecting "socialists" or "communists" to be their leaders.

We should note that who constitutes the wrong people being in charge depends on what our businesses and economic allies stand to either gain or lose. For ten years, our country supported Saddam Hussein and that included during some of his worse crimes against humanity when he used WMDs against his own people. Hussein ruled over his people as a brutal tyrant--we should note here that that did not stop us or our businesses from selling him materials to make WMDs. And yet, he was described as a moderate until he invaded Kuwait. One only needs to do a little research into Kuwait to see how this would draw the ire of the United States as led by President George W. H. Bush.

See, we don't pursue democracy. We pursue profits and control. Most of the world's major players are doing the same. And so the UN was designed to be a tool of the most powerful in the day back then. As a tool, it was used to punish smaller nations who committed legitimate crimes while protecting the major powers from and their chosen friends from worse crimes through the Security Council veto. 

It is this pretense of spreading democracy by the West while working to gain control that has become at least a partial precedent for some other nations engaged in conflicts around the world while other make no pretensions.  For how different is Russia's actions in the Ukraine from many of our actions in the Western Hemisphere? And though the severity of the conflicts has yet to rival WW II, a pretty high standard with tens of millions killed,  the number of conflicts has recently either been consistent or is growing. Consider the number of nations President Obama has attacked compared to President George W. Bush. And compare Bush's numbers with President Clinton's.

We would all like to feel pride in our country. It feels good and makes us feel significant. But is this desire to feel this pride justified? Does it interfere with our ability to accurately interpret the world and respond accordingly? Our nation's contribution in creating and participation in the UN doesn't give us a positive answer to these questions. Neither does any supplemental history that could be provided. Just perhaps, we need to step back from our national identity and look at the world around us if we are to survive.




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