What good is the U.N., part twelve million

08.29.06

In the latest chapter of the continuing saga of the irrelevance of the United Nations, the U.S. and Britain are co-sponsoring a resolution to deploy U.N. troops in Darfur:

The U.S. and British sponsored resolution would authorize the deployment of 20,000 U.N. troops and police in Darfur to take over from some 7,000 African Union troops, who have been unable to end bloodshed in the western Sudanese region.

Though the resolution, likely to be put to a vote on Thursday, would state that Sudan would need to agree to the deployment, it was expected to add pressure on Khartoum to drop its opposition to U.N. peacekeeping troops.

“Our judgment here is that we think we’ve found a formulation that would win acceptance on the (Security) Council,” U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters at the United Nations.

What about a formulation that would actually end the bloodshed?

This resolution – even if it passes – will be nothing more than symbolic. The U.N. is having trouble finding a few thousand troops to send to Lebanon; where will it find 20,000 for Sudan? Even if they go, chances are they’ll be equipped with nothing more than a blue helmet and a whistle. And, of course, for any of this to have made a difference, it would’ve had to have happened about four years ago.

As usual, the United Nations fell asleep at the wheel, and millions have been paying the price. If this resolution passes, it will be another case of far too little, far too late. Isn’t it time we admit that the U.N. is completely and utterly powerless to prevent, diffuse or end armed conflict and genocide?

Update: Similar sentiments from this Gazette editorial about Venezuela’s bid for a seat on the security council:

It’s not as if Chavez could make the Security Council less effective than it is now. Russia and China already take care of that, as we have seen in the case of Iran’s determined rush to acquire nuclear weapons. Sanctions? No no, say the Russians and the Chinese. Let’s talk and study for a few more months before we get to sanctions. What could go wrong?

From Rwanda to the Balkans to Darfur to Lebanon, and elsewhere, the Security Council has shown itself impotent and useless. Or worse than useless, as in approving a toothless resolution to disarm Hezbollah.

[. . . ]

Slaughter continues in Darfur, Iran becomes nuclear, Hezbollah re-arms. At the UN, meanwhile, urbane and well-dressed diplomats keep talking about process.

Venezuela on the Security Council? Hey, why not? It’s not as though other members such as Syria have exactly set the bar all that high.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Palubiski 08.30.06 at 7:02 PM

It has become ridiculous, hasn’t it?

One solution, while still maintaining a “functioning” UN, would be to establish an organisation of democratic states that would have a mandate to stop the WORST of the countless human rights abuses happening all over the world.

Regional squabbles and inter-ethnic conflicts…where casualties are minimal…. could be or left to the U.N. for “management”.

I’m not bashing the UN because it’s become fashionable; I merely am of the opinion that it CAN’T do much to stop large-scale conflicts.

Reply

2 josh 08.30.06 at 8:24 PM

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