Sunday, January 2

Griping about the UN

Recent events have allowed many to continue griping about the UN Now I will admit, I'm not one of their fervent supporters. However, it seems to me, besides griping about the UN be it Mr Anan, their various and sundry scandals, inefficiencies, calumnities, and farcical behaviour we should concentrate our discourse on other matters. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, before you criticise (or at least alongside your critique) build. Build a vision of where or what you want to be. Then plan how to get from here to there.

For the specific example of the UN, it seems clear that Mr Wilson's ideals of a League of Nations, a confederacy of states to help smooth matters in the world stage was a good one. The first two implementations didn't work so well. The first League of Nations was deemed ineffective because it failed to anticipate and halt the rise of one Mr Hitler and rise of the little aggression that we now call World War II. After WWII the idea still seemed to be a good one, and the UN was formed. However, the UN it seems suffers from a lack of real power. Fault can also be found with the UN many of the representatives do not represent their nation, but one individual. It is one thing to be a representative of a people. It is another to be a representative of a repressive dictator.

So, how do we first go about replacing the UN and with what? For the purposes of this discussion, I'll discuss what might go into our New United Nations (NUN).

Our governments get a large measure of their real power and ethical validity via social contract. Individuals give up some of their rights collectively to their goverment in return for security and prosperity. Likewise if a United Nations would be an ideal, its members also give up collective rights (via explicit treaty) to the United Nation for their security and prosperity. I don't think this has been done, but I could be wrong. But based on that treaty, one can organize the charter of the NUN. NATO was such a treaty organization, but did not give up any charitable or humanitarian "rights or responibilities" to the charter organization. Thus NATO has no charter to perform humanitarian aid.

Now, it seems to me that the current UN charter of responsibilities is too wide. It might be better served to be split up among several organizations. Separate the mission into smaller more agile organizations. Limit membership to democracies where appropriate. Separate charters (organizations) might include:
  1. Humanitarian aid and disaster relief
  2. Preventing genocide in the globe
  3. Security and Peace of and between member nations
  4. Spreading democracy (freedom) to those nations without it.
  5. Assistance for developing nations.
Nations members could vary between organizations. Up front, the rights/responsibilities ceeded to the charter organization should be clearly understood as well as where and how it might recieve funding. I personally think it would be wise to limit the security and genocide/human rights leagues to democratic nations.

Right now the US, as primary funding source for the current UN is in a historic position of being able to withdraw support for the current UN and push for something to replace it. Every time someone talks about problems with the UN lets encourage them to talk about what to replace it with or how to fix it. Just bitching doesn't help anyone. If you don't like my ideas, fine. That's perfectly ok. Let's start talking, discussing. Get a consensus behind some bang up ideas and get the ball rolling.