by Alan Simpson
The United Nations
Washington, Oct. 13th, 2004 --- Despite all the right wing rhetoric you can't play it both ways. Either the United Nations has to have teeth to engage rogue nations, or they have to be an ineffective debating society with no binding force.
The United Nations has been turned into an enigma by one nation only, the United States. The issue Israel.
The statements of all being equal are false, for when the issues before the UN do not suit Washington they are ignored, and when a Secretary General makes statements that irritate Washington, like a spoiled rich child the threat is that dues payments for the club will be stopped and even that the US will resign it's membership.
When the United States needs justification for it's policies it declares their resolutions binding and the basis of international law. Such was the case with those against Saddam Hussein. When the entire UN voted against Israel, on numerous occasions, they were Vetoed by the US, and declared worthless and non-binding.
When the Nuclear Inspectors demanded to know how many nuclear weapons were stockpiled in Israel, the US led a charge to stop international inspection of any Israeli nuclear installations. When the US demanded Iran allow the same inspectors access, it was an Act of God demanding massive sanctions if refused.
The United Nations needs overhauling as a matter of urgency. True what we see is only a small part of their work, but it is one of the most bureaucratic slow and pondering operations on the planet. It also is a black hole devouring money at an alarming rate.
The first task in reform is to end the veto power of some members of the Security Council. When every country in the world condemns something, then their should be only an abstaining vote allowed. How else can we say that all are equal? The second is to move the headquarters to Geneva, away from New York. This is neutral ground, and it would end the constant issue of the US bugging the offices of delegations.
The UN needs to be more aggressive with the Palestinian problem, and take over Gaza and the West Bank. It needs to crack down on Hamas, Hezbollah and the other extremist organizations, for under UN protection, instead of the Israeli Army there is no need for attacks on civilians, or settlements within Israel.
Arafat should be granted a villa on Elba, or another island for his retirement, as the British did with Napoleon. The settlements should be handed over to displaced Palestinians, swimming pools and all. This is not as hard as some think as it was US taxpayers who financed them, and they should decide who occupies them. If Israel attacks, or does not comply a world trading embargo on Israel should ensue.
The 20,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon should go home. They may be a stabilizing influence, so a new expanded NATO force could step in. Bush seems to want NATO to pick up the mess in Afghanistan, and later Iraq. Make NATO a military police force, instead of the UN.
Iran, a fundamental religious state buys a nuclear power station from Russia, which controls the fuel rods. That is bad. America gives nuclear bombs plus nuclear enhancement facilities to Israel, a fundamental religious state, that is good. No the whole area should be nuclear free! But the US Media dare not speak out with this obvious concept for fear of reprisals.
The African Nations are very quick to criticize the West on their policies, very quick to demand money for every project imaginable and even quicker to spend money on armies to intimidate their opposition, within their own countries. Let Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria and all the other vast armies go in and tame the rebels in Sudan and Rwanda, and stop the Genocide.
They have a responsibility to do something other than beat the crap out of their defenseless voters. These dictators more than any other factor make giving the policing power to an expanded NATO rather than the UN a feasible proposition.
The US needs to butt out in South East Asia and let China sort out North Korea. The Chinese, and India are not going to allow this little gentleman of North Korea, the opportunity to derail their emerging Super Power status. The US can't dictate to China about Taiwan, then expect it to intervene over North Korea. It is clear to the rest of the world there are dual standards being followed in many areas.
The rhetoric about democracy in Iraq, whilst pandering to the Military Dictator in Pakistan is a good example. Where is the call to get UN Inspectors into Pakistan, and stop their missile race against India, a true democracy.
The idealists are not those who support the United Nations but the those who seek to use it for their own purposes. The UN has to have teeth, but no facilities, the decisions are not binding, but they are when it suits. Countries declared as rogue states are cherry picked to suit whoever is in the White House for a few short years. All are equal but some have the veto, to quash hundreds of insignificant other equals when the resolution does not suit.
I wonder if we will ever see again the days when the world turned to the United States for leadership, advice and guidance in times of conflict. I fear we have not seen the worst, and the halcyon days of the Cold War will be just a memory of the good times, when you knew your enemy, and he was behind an Iron Curtain. The worst that could happen was when Kruschev took off his cheap shoe, banged it on the podium and the Assembly saw the holes in his socks.
Thousands of young men and women did not have to die for that piece of rhetoric. The Superpower title is only for a few years, and it is best used to create a vehicle for diffusing conflicts, so when the next Superpower starts taking a swipe at the United States we will heave a sigh of relief that our new improved United Nations prevented the destruction of Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, New York and many other targets.
have a leader in the White House who can reform the UN for future generations.