The United Nations is built on the fanciful notion that a perfect world can be created through centralized diplomacy. That all war can be managed by rules, that all conflict is a matter of misunderstanding.
Global citizenship, an oxymoron in its own right, is the conception at the heart of the matter: the idea that we can be shamed, organised, and mobilised to support and sustain a world order.
Such an idea is fallacious.
First of all, the United Nations has proven itself to be at best an amoral entity. Its condemnation of the freest and most peaceful state in the middle east, Israel, and its simultaneous praise of Palestine, a relatively violent unity government which is partially composed of the Hamas terrorist organization, not to mention many examples of barbarism, such as offering a pension to the family of a Palestinian man who was captured after murdering an innocent Israeli girl, is hoisted up as Israel’s equal.
Meanwhile, Russia and China’s involvement in the United Nations should avoid the United State’s conflict with these powers, right? Wrong.
China is manufacturing a military base in the South China Sea using land reclamation techniques. Their unwarranted military aggression intersects over five billion dollars worth of international trading routes. Currently, president Barack Obama is only showing his displeasure by sending warships into the region in a way that respects their nonexistent sovereignty in the region.
Meanwhile, our relationship with Russia is equally rocky. Neither side has been purely innocent in this regard, and it is within the mutual interest of both sides to avoid conflict. Russia has violated the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state, which was established by a 1994 treaty. He claims that the Russian occupied territory underwent a referendum to secede from Ukraine. So what? Putin’s clear involvement in the region (no matter how much he denies it) is a clear violation of international law. If he wants to call for a referendum, he should not do so under the circumstance of military occupation.
The United States and its allies have not been entirely innocent with regards to military proliferation themselves, especially regarding the placement of anti-nuclear missile systems in regions bordering Russia. But neither has Putin. Ukrainian involvement is hardly his first attempt at expanding Russia’s influence. He has tried to extend Russian influence into Bulgaria, for example.
Currently, less than two days before this post was written, the American-Russian ceasefire has fallen apart in Syria and fighting has begun again. ISIS is slowly being pushed back by the actions of Iran and the Kurdish fighters. When ISIS is finally defeated, Iran will have many fighters left in the region which are not friendly to American or Kurdish interests. Iran will have grown into a regional power.
Meanwhile, we have negotiated a nuclear pact with Iran which lets them keep all of their ballistic missiles and all of their yellowcake Uranium, just at a lesser level of quality than would be required by a nuclear bomb. We have also let them keep their plutonium, even though plutonium centrifuges are virtually only used for bomb creation. We have even permitted them to continue running a nuclear site entirely underground, completely beyond our reach, and the Russians have completed arms trade deal which arms the Iranians with Russian anti-air equipment. We have lent them our nuclear scientists to continue the development of their nuclear facilities. Meanwhile, international investigators are not permitted to do on the spot-investigations of Iranian sites, or even to investigate some of the sites at all. And we have paid ransom money to Iran for our hostages in a way that makes Iran Contra look like small potatoes (although that is more of a chiefly American issue). Iran continues to take an aggressive stance against the United States and mock our chief diplomats on social media.
I bring all of this up, to make the point that here we have the beginnings of World War III. I have not even mentioned joint Russia-China combat exercises, a unity which America and its allies have tried to avoid as a matter of strategy since the Nixon era. I have not even mentioned the fact that the current American administration has been destroying all of our non-violent means of confrontation by normalizing relations with and releasing sanctions off of several countries of concern, including Iran and Cuba.
The United Nations has done nothing to counter Chinese aggression. It has done nothing to counter Russian aggression or even American aggression. The United Nations has been wholly ineffective in developing a coalition of the willing to deal with ISIS. The United Nations has been completely off the radar on the issue of increased Chinese aggression. The United Nations has been wholly inadequate in ironing out the issues in Russian-American relations. Even on the most basic issues, like the correct distribution of foreign aid funds, the United Nations has failed.
I could end this blurb here, but I won’t. The reason the United Nations is failing is two factors, and I’d like to touch on them.
First, as a concept, the United Nations is flawed. An institution created for the purpose of peace cannot contain every dictator and every nation, regardless of its behavior.
Second, as an intensity, the United Nations was never primarily designed to function as a peacemaking entity. The purpose of the United Nations is the extension of the power of a concentrated group of people over the citizens of all of the nations of the earth. I will explore this, and the related geopolitical factors, in another column.
As a final note, at this point, my advise to the United States and United Kingdom, among other nations, is to withhold funds and use them as leverage for reforms in the United Nations. Without reform, while prudence dictates we try and continue to pursue diplomacy within this framework, the United Nations may be wholly incapable of dealing with the international problems of the future.