Related or contrasting ideas may be found in the following sections: Nuclear Weapons, Peace, Rights, Rule of Law, and the Social Contract




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The UN is a global leader


The United Nations is increasingly becoming a source of international legitimacy

Amitai Etzioni (Senior Advisor to the White House on domestic affairs 1979-1980; University Professor and the Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, George Washington University), “Forming a global authority: a world-government response to terrorism,” The Futurist, November-December 2004, p. 13

“One cannot expect in the near future for the world to be run like a democratic state. However, as more governments of UN member states are democratized, the voice of the General Assembly will be more compelling. And if the Security Council were to become more representative of today’s global power structure, its resolutions would hold more weight. Thus, the United Nations may well become an even more important source of legitimacy than it currently is..”


The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is key to protecting rights

Amartya Sen (economics and philosophy teacher at Harvard; Nobel Prize in economics in 1998), “The Power of a Declaration,” The New Republic, February 4, 2009, p. 31-32

“The Universal Declaration has helped to establish a general conception of human rights of remarkably wide reach and effectiveness in an anxious world tormented (but perhaps not tormented enough!) by memories of terrible transgressions in the recent past and inspired by the hope of ‘freedom, justice and peace’ in the future. Movements for civil rights, for democratic entitlements, for social equality, for economic justice, for equal treatment of women, for rights of minorities, which have powerfully developed across the world in the second half of the twentieth century, and which continue today, have been drawing on a capacious vision of which the Universal Declaration was the trailblazing expression, in championing the dignity and rights of all human beings.”


The UN is finally getting serious about controlling famine

David Rieff (staff contributing editor; senior fellow at the World Policy Institute at the New School for Social Research), “The End of Hunger,” The New Republic, December 30, 2009, p. 47

“The U.N.’s World Food Programme, whose food aid now is the difference between life and death for starving people in the global hunger zones, is increasingly studying strategies for pre-empting famines and periods of acute malnutrition, rather than responding to them once they have already begun. Even longtime critics of the WFP, both among nongovernmental relief agencies and relief specialists, believe that under its current director, Josette Sheeran, the agency is performing more effectively than ever, and in conditions that have rarely been more difficult. Another reason for cautious optimism about the fate of contemporary famine may be culled from Sen’s argument that civil and political rights are in themselves prophylactics against famine, and that the more democratic a society becomes, the less famine-prone it is likely to be.”


The United Nations is unable to lead


THE U.N. IS FEEBLE AND INCOMPETENT

Generally, the UN cannot overcome the natural sovereignty of its members

Marrack Goulding (warden of St. Antony’s College, Oxford; former under-secretary-general at the United Nations), “The UN will work if we let it,” New Statesman, May 8, 1998, p. 20

“At the UN, and in the constellation of autonomous agencies, programmes and funds that revolve around it, governments enter voluntarily into commitments that become binding on them under international law — for instance, the commitment to pay their share of the budget. The UN and its agencies cannot impose obligations on member governments against their wishes, except — and it is a significant exception — when the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, imposes sanctions or authorises military action against a delinquent state.”


The UN is designed to be unable to challenge the will of the Great Powers

James Crabtree (research fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research; Fulbright Postgraduate scholar at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; senior policy analyst at NDN, a think tank in Washington DC), “On top of the world,” The New Statesman, November 6, 2006, p. 58

“The Great Powers that wrote the UN Charter did so, in the aftermath of the Second World War, with an eye on immediate strategic considerations and a determination not to repeat the mistakes of the League of Nations. Thus, although no veto is mentioned in the charter, the UN’s first organising principle was the maintenance of unity among its five major powers. The idea that it would be able to act in Lebanon (or Zimbabwe, or Darfur, or Haiti) against the will of a great power would have been anathema to its founders. The wonder is not how far the UN has strayed from the intentions of its founders; it is how closely it adheres to them.”


The UN lacks the accountability to citizens as good governance requires

Maurice Strong (chairman and chief executive officer of the Earth Council, United Nations; Council President, the University for Peace, San Juan, Costa Rica.), “Reforming the United Nations,” The Futurist, September 2001, p. 19+

“In democratic societies, local, state, and national governments are elected directly by the people and are accountable to them. They have taxing and borrowing power to raise the revenues and capital required to act as mandated by their people. National governments have their own military establishments. The United Nations has none of these features. It was created by national governments, which are its members; they provide and control its finances and determine its functions and activities. It cannot tax or borrow and has no source of revenue independent of governments. The United Nations has no military forces or capacity of its own to carry out missions mandated by the Security Council or to enforce its decisions. It has no direct relationship with the people of its member countries, despite the fact that the preamble to the UN charter begins with ‘We the Peoples....’ The United Nations is therefore totally dependent on its member governments; it can only undertake activities that its members agree to and only to the extent that the same governments provide the wherewithal. Because member governments frequently fail to supply the funding and military support to carry out the decisions, the United Nations becomes a scapegoat for delinquent governments.” [ellipsis in original text]


The UN lacks legitimacy, and thus lacks effectiveness

James A. Yunker (Professor of Economics at Western Illinois University), “Rethinking World Government: A New Approach, “ International Journal on World Peace, March 2000, p. 26

“It need not be belabored that the United Nations, no less than the League of Nations that preceded it, has been a deep disappointment. The United Nations does not constitute a legitimate state entity, and as a consequence of this its effectiveness in curbing international warfare has been fairly minimal.”


Unlike a legitimate government, the UN’s agencies are not accountable to central authority

Maurice Strong (chairman and chief executive officer of the Earth Council, United Nations; Council President, the University for Peace, San Juan, Costa Rica.), “Reforming the United Nations,” The Futurist, September 2001, p. 19+

“There is another important difference between the United Nations and governments. In nation-states, the various departments (finance, foreign affairs, and so on) are an integral part of government, subject to its overall control and direction. Not so in the United Nations. The specialized agencies of the UN, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and UNESCO, are the international counterparts of the related departments of national governments, but they are not integrated into the central body of the United Nations. Each has been established through a separate international agreement among the governments that become members of the organization, and these generally, but not entirely, parallel the membership of the United Nations. They are therefore autonomous organizations within the extended UN family, or ‘system,’ but each reports separately to its own governing body, consisting of the governments of its member countries, and is financed separately by them.”


The UN’s military forces were never expected to deal with refugee and civil war situations

James Crabtree (research fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research; Fulbright Postgraduate scholar at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; senior policy analyst at NDN, a think tank in Washington DC), “On top of the world,” The New Statesman, November 6, 2006, p. 58

“First, the UN has always been unfit for the challenges facing it. Paradoxically, its task in Lebanon was among those at which it has become most competent. There is no mention of blue helmets in the UN Charter, but when they were first sported by UN peacekeepers (separating antagonists during the Suez crisis), the organisation finally found a useful role. Beyond that, the list of its successes is slim. This is largely because the body was set up to cope with the very specific circumstance of incursions into one state by another. The few times this occurred — Korea, the Falklands, the first Iraq war — the UN proved effective. Its great undoing has been the stubborn refusal of international crises to follow the simple model predicted by its founders.”


The United Nations is unable to assure peace or security

John Bolton (Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations), “America’s Interests and the UN,” Imprimis, April 2008, p. 5

“International peace and security was the objective that motivated the founders of the U.N. after World War Two. And it is precisely here that the U.N.’s promise has been least fulfilled during its 60-plus years of existence. During the half-century of the Cold War, the U.N. was fundamentally irrelevant to the great struggle between liberty and tyranny due to the make-up of the Security Council and the veto power held by the Soviet Union and, later, by the People’s Republic of China. Since the end of the Cold War, many people have thought it possible that the U.N. could play a more important role in world affairs. These hopes have been completely dashed.”


The United Nations has proved incompetent at peace management

Vladislav Inozemtsev (chairman of the advisory board for the journal Russia in Global Affairs) and Sergei Karaganov (chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy; editorial board chairman, Russia in Global Affairs), “Imperialism of the fittest,” The National Interest, Summer 2005, p. 76

“But the UN, even after the end of the Cold War, has been powerless to create an effective system of collective security capable not only of peacekeeping but of peace-enforcement, preventing conflicts and fighting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”


Unresolved North-South issues paralyze the UN’s decision-making

Marrack Goulding (warden of St. Antony’s College, Oxford; former under-secretary-general at the United Nations), “The UN will work if we let it,” New Statesman, May 8, 1998, p. 20

“During the cold war the UN’s capacity to maintain peace and security was largely paralysed by east-west rivalry in the Security Council. Now its capacity to handle the economic and social problems that dominate today’s agenda is undermined by north-south differences over two fundamental questions. First, what should the UN’s chief priority be? Preventing, managing and resolving conflict, as the north tends to argue? Or economic and social development, where the south hoped to receive a peace dividend after the cold war ended? Second, how far may the UN take an interest in the way countries of the south conduct their internal affairs? Is it barred from doing so by the Charter, as the south argues? Or can its agencies attach political conditions to development aid, especially on such sensitive issues as human rights, public probity and ‘good governance’?”


The UN is grossly underfunded, largely through U.S. inattention

Marrack Goulding (warden of St. Antony’s College, Oxford; former under-secretary-general at the United Nations), “The UN will work if we let it,” New Statesman, May 8, 1998, p. 20

“As for underfunding, the UN has been in financial crisis for over a decade. This is largely (but not entirely) due to the refusal by the US Congress to appropriate the funds for the administration to pay its share of the budget — and to the unwillingness of successive administrations to expend political capital on persuading Congress to change its mind. The results have been devastating. Maintenance has been neglected, recruitment frozen, training almost nonexistent. The UN Secretariat has become a gerontocracy: the average age of its staff is 49 and less than 5 per cent are under 35. And the country which, above all others, preaches respect for international law continues to defy its own preaching. As Malcolm Rifkind memorably said in the General Assembly, ‘there can be no representation without taxation’.”


The UN has suffered critical administrative and program failures

William Norman Grigg (staff editor), “World Government, Take Three,” The New American, July 11, 2005, p. 17

“In recent years, the UN has descended into a mire of multiple scandals — not just the oil-for-food bribery affair, but also the body’s complicity in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which approximately one million people were killed in roughly 100 days. ‘What does it say about the United Nations,’ commented British human rights agitator Alex de Waal in Rwanda’s aftermath, ‘that not a single official thought fit to resign over the first indisputable genocide since the UN Charter was signed?’”


THE U.N. IS EVIL

The UN legitimizes anti-Americanism

William Norman Grigg (staff editor), “The UN is Not Your Friend,” The New American, October 22, 2001, p. 5

“Long Island State University Professor of Criminology Harvey Kushner, a noted terrorism analyst, points out that in much the same way that Afghanistan’s Taliban regime shelters international terrorist chieftain Osama bin Laden, the UN Headquarters offers a useful staging base for terrorists of all varieties. ‘The UN provides cover almost the same way the Taliban does,’ comments Kushner. ‘It serves as the laboratory, the linchpin for legitimizing incendiary rhetoric’ against the West in general and America in particular.”


The United Nations initiates and gains power through war

Dennis Behreandt (freelance writer, former staff managing editor), “The UN unmasked,” The New American, March 24, 2003, p. 25-26

“As Bonta notes, the UN’s essentially warlike and aggressive nature was apparent to seasoned observers from the beginning. Former Undersecretary of State J. Reuben Clark argued as early as 1945 that the UN Charter ‘is a war document not a peace document....’ Clark predicted that the UN would ‘not prevent future wars, [and make] it practically certain that we shall have future wars, and as to such wars it takes from us the power to declare them, to choose the side on which we shall fight, to determine what forces and military equipment we shall use in the war, and to control and command our sons who do the fighting.’ Clark was incredibly prescient. As Bonta writes, ‘modern warfare since World War II has been almost exclusively a by-product of our relationship with the UN.’ Undeclared wars and military engagements fought by U.S. troops under UN authority since 1945 include Korea, the first Persian Gulf War, Somalia, and the Balkans. None of these wars ended in a militarily satisfactory manner, but each affirmed UN authority to wage war. Indeed, in 1991 President George Bush predicted that UN success in the first Gulf War would provide a ‘real chance at this new world order, an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the vision and promise of the UN’s founders.’”

[brackets and ellipsis in original text]


The United States has been misled into the UN’s military adventures

Steve Bonta (staff contributing editor; communications director, the U.S. Constitution Party), “World Government By Design,” The New American, February 25, 2002, p. 22

“Soberingly, the United Nations can now muster the military force to subdue much of the Third World, given an adequate political pretext. And America is being duped into subscribing to the internationalist agenda, as each new UN military adventure strengthens the precedent for U.S. subservience to international authority.”


The United Nations system actually constrains human rights to empower the state

William Norman Grigg (staff editor), “The UN is Not Your Friend,” The New American, October 22, 2001, p. 9

“Under the UN’s concept of government, it is individual ‘rights,’ rather than government powers, that are enumerated. This means that those ‘rights’ are actually government-granted privileges that can be revoked at any time. In Article 29 of the UN’s ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ we read that none of the ‘rights’ supposedly granted therein can be used in a fashion ‘contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.’ Under the UN’s formula, the powers of government are completely unaccountable and can be expanded at whim — and individual ‘rights’ are just as easily dispensed with. The UN’s founding documents offer a formula for total government on a planetary scale which, if implemented, would lead to what Professor R.J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii, calls ‘democide’ — systematic mass-murder by governments.”


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