The useless UN

Photo Credit: Agencia Brasil, Wikimedia
Photo Credit: Agencia Brasil, Wikimedia

Over a year and a half has passed since the day the cradle of civilization was rocked once again with violence, when soldiers of the Bashar Al-Assad regime fired on Kurdish protesters in an action that would begin a civil war in Syria. A United Nations resolution to intervene with military force has been proposed and turned down twice by the Security Council, despite a body count nearing 25,000, which leads one to ask the question. What is the UN? What does it do? What is it for? What seems like a simple question is answered with simplistic and childish answers like, “to keep world peace and provide a forum for nations to discuss issues.” Well, if that is indeed the purpose of the United Nations, then they have failed miserably at their first task, and are not as effective and efficient as Skype in the second one. Yet, the organization spends 13.9 billion dollars annually, and has an ever-expanding level of staff. A Staff, which I may add is diplomatically immune. Everyone who is a direct employee of the United Nations, with no exceptions, from peacekeepers to secretaries answering phones, is immune from international law.

The peacekeeping operation of the United Nations, which is what we, as Canadians seem to be most proud of ever since the Rwanda genocide, appear on the exterior to be extremely cohesive and effective measures that have been taken. However, it’s a facade. Peacekeepers had been in Rwanda long before the genocide, but would not send help to the very small, outnumbered and outgunned unit that was there until after the worst week of the genocide had passed. What you might not know is, not too far away at roughly the same time in West Africa the United Nations peacekeeping forces were performing a very different kind of mission. Recently a random poll conducted in the capital of Ivory Coast found that roughly eight out of ten girls under the age of sixteen had performed sexual acts on peacekeepers regularly in exchange for food and/or shelter. This is not an isolated incident either, OilforFood, Guns for Gold, Sex for Shelter, look any of those up, and you will find behind every major scandal involving the exploitation of the under privileged, it will without a doubt lead back to the United Nations. Has anyone paid for these crimes? No. Everyone involved was diplomatically immune.

So we move on to more recent events. The war in Iraq. This was a war the United Nations Security Council categorically opposed, but the United States with assistance from the United Kingdom invaded anyway. Unlike the United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Bush administration had set out very clear goals and achieved them. Everyone who had violated human rights, on either side of the conflict, was swiftly brought to justice, because these soldiers were not diplomatically immune, and what we ended up with was a successful, clean, and just war. Now, politically many may disagree with the very nature of the war, but that’s semantics, and is better left for a different counterpoint. What no one can deny is a clear American victory. Arguably the United States protected the people of Iraq, not only from their own dictator, but from the United Nations peacekeeping forces themselves, who unlike Lynndie England would have never been brought to justice.

And justice is really what it’s all about. A bloated, overfed, meaningless bureaucracy like the United Nations will never understand the meaning of justice. Sure, we’ll toss them their dues, we will participate in their charade, and we will look the other way when they commit atrocities, but why? Why not lead the way, and leave the United Nations? Why not say an organization that has strayed so far from what we joined it for is not only irrelevant, but counterproductive, and we will have no part in it? It’s the same reason why no one will step foot in Syria.

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