July 23, 2007 at 09:03:48
by jalil bahar Page 1 of 2 page(s)
The UN Security Council record in recent years is indefensible. It’s failure to stop atrocities in Sudan, Somalia, the moral and military debacle in Bosnia, the egregious human rights violations that UN “peacekeepers” committed in the Congo—all have sunk its credibility. The organization’s management structure makes it unworkable. With a secretary-general that is basically appointed by the US, who lacks executive authority sitting atop a sprawling secretariat full of overlapping, incompetent, patronage-ridden bureaucracies, sclerosis is unavoidable. Since a handful of rich Western nations pay the bills, most member countries have no vested interest in seeing funds spent properly: glad-handed waste has been massive. Adding to the mess, the UN created over time almost 100 agencies, special funds, and commissions—semi-independent fiefdoms outside the secretary-general’s control.
The organization’s management structure makes it unworkable. With a secretary-general that is basically appointed by the US, who lacks executive authority sitting atop a sprawling secretariat full of overlapping, incompetent, patronage-ridden bureaucracies, sclerosis is unavoidable. Since a handful of rich Western nations pay the bills, most member countries have no vested interest in seeing funds spent properly: glad-handed waste has been massive. Adding to the mess, the UN created over time almost 100 agencies, special funds, and commissions—semi-independent fiefdoms outside the secretary-general’s control.
Vetoes rendered by a few members of the Security Council repeatedly thwart the UN incapable of any decisive action. In the Korean War and the first Gulf War—two major tests of the Security Council as a guarantor of collective security—the UN was an afterthought. In both conflicts, the United States and Britain dispatched military forces to counter aggression and only later sought UN approval. In 2003, during the second Iraq crisis, the UN has spectacularly flinched from providing anything. The membership of the security council itself … with permanent membership by some nations that no longer command substantial economic or global presence and the absence of others that do… make it a joke. Or even worse, countries like the tiny nations of Tuvalu holding the same voting rights in the general assembly as say Indonesia!!
This is because in the end, it is not in the interests of the United States for the UN to change much. The US either directly or indirectly appoints the Secretary General and the heads of most international agencies. The U.S. itself has proven itself unable to lead with any competence. On the one hand it is beholden to the pervasive influence of the Israeli’s and the Brits. On the other hand, Americans themselves have become increasingly isolated and ignorant. “Hicks”, is probably a better description of most Americans. Unfortunately, most Americans no longer have a basic understanding of the world beyond their shores inside their key institutions or indeed any moral authority to lead.
The world no longer follows the United States. There are many who would readily follow the almighty dollar, but America has lost its spiritual and ideological primacy now that Communism has been defeated. Its recent grab for oil and Bush’s deceptive and hypocritical war against Islam in the name of terrorism and democracy while supporting the state sponsored terrorism of Israel and puppet dictators in the Middle East (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, you name it…) has meant total loss of credibility for the United States.
In order to lead you must have followers. The United States no longer has followers. It has no credible alternative vision worth following today. When you have people like Gerry Falwell, the head of America’s 20 Million Southern Baptists and Bush’s fundamentalist Christian electoral base call the ‘Prophet Muhamad’ a terrorist … in effect, America is defacto providing Christianity as an alternative to terrorism, not democracy as an alternative to terrorism!Unfortunately amidst this leadership vacuum we find that organizations such as Al Qaeda and indeed populist regimes like Chavez in Venezuela are finding increased NOT decreased support.Many professional analysts inside our domestic security organizations are pitting the causes of this increased opposition on ‘fanaticism’ or ‘religious extremism’ or renewed interest in ‘socialism’…
But the reality is whatever form anti-Americanism, or opposition to oppression or dictatorship takes, (be it religious or left wing or both), these entire movements are nothing but “means of opposition” by the disenfranchised. I remember students who opposed the Shah on college campuses in Iran joining left wing organizations not because they were socialists BUT because these organizations offered some form of opposition to tyranny. Also, for example, Palestinians do not join Hamas because they are fanatics…they join Hamas because it strongly opposes the state of Israel…they become fanatics later or in the process of joining Hamas. Castro or Chavez do not offer socialism, they offer an alternative to American driven corruption.
The point is, after years of exploitation and corruption; many nations are disenfranchised and are forced to voice their opposition to their governments for their conditions and for US support for these governments by joining radical opposition movements. They simply have no other ‘legitimate’ means available to them to effect change. I believe a solution to many of the problems the United States government currently faces (such as the situation in Iraq, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the genocide in Sudan, etc.) can all be best resolved through the creation of NEW regional organizations that operate independently of the United Nations or American influence.
Regionalism is a more effective means of resolving international problems than through UN or US interference. Indeed the creation of the European Union and the African Union are providing some indications of ‘what can be done’!
Regionalism can provide an expression of a common sense of identity and purpose combined with the creation and implementation of institutions that can more effectively shape collective action within a geographical region…without the US or UN!
The world can be divided into several ‘regions’ that can effectively pool resources and provide essential services that international organizations provide through UN agencies such as WHO, FAO, WIPO, IMF…
Regionalism can be defined as an international region with a limited number of states linked by a geographical relationship and by a degree of mutual interdependence and (international) regionalism.The
European example is especially valid in this light, as the European Union as a political body grew out of more than 40 years of economic integration within Europe. Today, Europe boasts a directly elected central legislative body, a common currency, a central bank, a ‘superior’ court and of course free flow of goods, services, and labor! I would venture to say, that one day NATO will be replaced by a European Defense Organization with assistance from the United States.
Central staffs in all these international organizations could be ‘emptied’ out and passed into regional entities within the ‘political’ framework of these new political groupings…providing direct supervision and accountability. What great way to ‘reengineer’ the United Nations?!
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Former Iranian Diplomat, now retired real estate investor in Delaware