Clash of the Titans LXXIV: The United Nations

March 18, 2008, 10:00 am; posted by
Filed under Debate, Djere, MC-B  | 1 Comment

In this corner, opposing the UN, is Djere!

And in this corner, defending the UN, is MC-B!

There comes a time in every superpower’s life when it looks at the steaming, writhing squalor that once could have been greatness and think: “Enough is enough.” There are as many reasons for the US to remain in the UN as there are for a battered husband to remain married — two. Ridiculously stubborn masculine pride and oh-so-foolish feminine hope.

After rescuing the world from its second global conflict in as many decades, the United States scooped up what was left of her allies, dumped the equivalent of trillions of dollars into their stagnant, welfare-state supporting economies, and created the United Nations. As with all wars to end all wars, most folks were pretty eager to make peace. So 51 nations signed on, creating a group dedicated to end war, safeguard human rights, promote social and economic progress, improve living conditions, and achieve other worthwhile, lofty goals.

Now 60 years, countless wars, at least a dozen genocides, and epidemic after epidemic later, the UN is still cautiously optimistic about the possibility of forming a subsidiary body of a specialized agency’s functional commission (under the direct control of no fewer than two regional commissions), with oversight from the secretariat, charged with maybe getting around to fixing that world peace thing some day. But for now, they’re all pretty focused on hating America.

The crux of UN stupidity is giving two-bit, third-world dictatorships equal footing with the United States, United Kingdom, and other reasonable, civilized, developed countries. For Heaven’s sake! The UN still can’t decide whether the crisis in Darfur is regional unrest, civil unrest, or just plain, old, run-of-the-mill GENOCIDE! Oh, sorry, the UN-sanctioned term is “gross violation.” So, sorry, 200,000-400,000 dead Sudanese, you haven’t been genocided, you’ve been “grossly violated.”

What I propose is simple: relegate the UN to the minor leagues and start our own global organization devoted to awesomeness and peace through strength. Let the socialists and dictatorships have the UN. Until countries grow up, institute democracy and capitalism, and reach a certain level of development, the UN is all they get. I say that the US, UK, Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Israel, and Taiwan all leave the UN (and leave the French there as well) and form our own permanent multi-national coalition.

Just like the EU won’t let just anybody in until they’re sufficiently developed, neither will we. It’ll be like a members-only club that demonstrates to the world that you’ve made it.

And while the UN is busy mailing letters requesting the cessation of hostilities against civilians in Sudan, we’ll send our letter too. Taped to the front of a cruise missile.

The political side of the UN won’t win a whole lot of points with me or any thinking person. It’s slow, bloated, and controlled by either a handful of elites who can singlehandedly stop it from taking any meaningful action (i.e., the Security Council) or a large number of countries from the developing world with no particular qualms about abusing their citizens (i.e., the General Assembly).

That said, though, the UN has had a positive humanitarian influence on the world. The greatest example is probably smallpox; with cooperation from many of the world’s governments, the World Health Organization took on one of the greatest killers in history, successfully making the world a whole lot safer for those born in developing countries.

The World Bank (chartered separately, but technically under UN jurisdiction) offers inexpensive loans to not only help countries escape poverty (their weaker suit), but also to reconstruct after major crises (their stronger suit). They provided some of the funding that helped Germany and Japan become the economic powerhouses and strong Western allies that they are today. Finally, other arms of the ECOSOC have made significant strides in providing vaccines, education, and food to children in impoverished countries.

Of course, most arguments about the United Nations aren’t about what it has done; instead, they are about what it could do differently, or how much better everyone would be if these crises had been handled by the free market and private donations. There is obviously no factual data on a hypothetical UN-less world, but given the intransigence of the private sector and individual governments to today’s humanitarian crises (even with UN help), it’s very difficult to believe that we could have defeated smallpox or rebuilt Western Europe so quickly, without UN resources and organizational tools.

It’s true that the UN will probably never give the United States as much as it asks us to give to them. This is the case with governments at any level; the ones who need their services are never those who are able to pay for them, so someone else has to pick up the bill. The UN was created partially to fill a perceived need for world government, but it is not particularly effective politically. As a result, it instead finds its strength in coordinating and administering humanitarian responses, and it has performed these types of missions very successfully.

Whether or not the UN could be 1000 times better than it is, its existence has helped the world.



1 Comment to “Clash of the Titans LXXIV: The United Nations”

  1. Connie on March 20th, 2008 9:26 am

    I tried to vote for the cold too, but we’re still working out the kinks I guess.

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