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May 1, 2002 6:34 AM   Subscribe

(.) (.) The United Nations: Non partisan independant arbiter of international matters or hyper-politicized arena? You make the call
posted by BentPenguin (20 comments total)
Since the early 80's, the Saudis have been awash in petrodollars...rivers and rivers of it. They use this money to buy off people. The UN has been corrupted and no longer has any moral authority. They're on the take.
posted by mikegre at 6:39 AM on May 1, 2002

The UN is a farce. A shame. We do need some international body but when you get a bloc of 25 Arab and or Muslim nations working together then the deck is stacked if the issue is something of concern to them.
Here is but one example: Syria--a nation that is clearly a terror nation and which occupies Lebanon with 30 thousand troops is allowed to sit at the revolving chair of the Security Council. By contrast, Israel is never allowed a chance for this seat. It simply is denied to them. With that oneexample, how can the UN by any standard be judged impartial?
posted by Postroad at 7:08 AM on May 1, 2002

I make the call? Looks like you beat me to it, Penguin. They're all a bunch of boobs.

If the US withdrew from the UN it would be the worst diplomatic move in the history of humanity and I'll tell you why. Those on this planet who seek to overthrow the concept of democracy with their own selfish tyranies are looking for any circumstantial evidence to prove that compromise and diplomacy can't work. If the US left the UN it would be the equivalent of Pilate washing his hands. We'd never recover.

Countries who seek our demise would see us on the run and want to take advantage of that. Countries who see us as allies would take our withdrawal personally. It'd be like we were cowardly running away from a fight, and our allies would either have to follow suit (thus leading to a chain reaction not unlike what started World War One with countries taking sides), or publically denounce our action in an attempt to remain in the UN game.

Withdrawing is diplomatic and political suicide. I wouldn't put it past Bush & Cheney to do that, but it would be wrong.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:14 AM on May 1, 2002

Oh. Another thing: "Americans should realize this fact and start asking themselves a couple of questions. For instance: Should the US have been sitting in the commission with communist Russia for almost half a century?"

Didn't communist Russia fall? Being active members in the international arena helped America and Russia get to a point where they could work together towards peace. Fifty years ago I'm sure there were people demanding America stop working with enemies like Russia. Turned out relatively okay though, didn't it?

You can't win an argument with fists, but if we withdrew from the UN that's all we'd have left to bargain with. Staying in the UN means we're still in the debate. Withdrawing means we gave up. Wrong message to give the rest of the world. Those tyrranies want us to quit. It'd make their efforts easier if they didn't have to worry about America interfering with their inhumane methods upon their own peoples.

We must not withdraw. If we give up, they win.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:24 AM on May 1, 2002

No need to withdraw. We did that in League of Nations. We exercise a mighty voice in UN and pretty much get what we want when we want it...not always, though, but by staying in we can make public when they act in ways that are clearly hoplessly out of whack (and by that I don't mean when they disagree with an American policy).
posted by Postroad at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2002

The US never joined the League of Nations.

The UN has evolved to its current state simply because it lacks the authority to back up an resolutions it passes. So you wind up with rogue states that look at them crosseyed and do what they want anyway. Then everyone cries out that the US should stop whatever it is that is going on, then they cry out that we should stop being the world police, then we change presidential administrations and our policies change and the cycle begins anew, with a different spin.

Politics as usual carries on, and on and on.................
posted by a3matrix at 7:56 AM on May 1, 2002

why would we want to give up our veto power in the security council? how exactly would that make us better off?

the withdrawal issue aside, there are serious credibility problems with the U.N. as a human rights monitoring body. It would be sort of like appointing a committee of Congress to monitor human rights in the U.S. The situation is particularly bad with Israel--witness the outrageous attempt at the Durban conference on rasicm last year to condemn Zionism as a racist ideology.

The U.N. is most successful at activities that are non-political. Programs like the World Health Organization and UNICEF do a lot of good, and should be supported. The U.N. can also serve an inportant role in marshalling world opinion and building diplomatic consensus in crisis situations. but we shouldn't look at it like some kind of panecea for the world's problems. it's a political body with special interests and hidden agendas, just like any other.
posted by boltman at 8:12 AM on May 1, 2002

it is neither,... the u.n has been politicised since its very inception, that this should continue is no great shakes. Some of mans proudest acheivements have been accomplished due to bodies associated with the U.N. The world health organisation which co-ordinated the eradication of smallpox (in the wild) in 1977 is a notable example and the planned eradication of polio by 2010. Politics is full of footballs is just so happens that in the international arena the u.n is often mistaken as a pitch.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:34 AM on May 1, 2002

Those aren't boobs, they're supposed to be eyeballs...Sheesh!

As for withdrawl, I agree that it would be a monumental blunder.

But the UN being manipulated so much, and Annan playing right along, really makes giving pennies to Unicef at Halloween a tough call for me.

As a sidebar, a good friend of mine is a long time employee of the UN in NYC, and I think folks would be shocked at the depraved amount of waste in the UN Budget.
posted by BentPenguin at 8:49 AM on May 1, 2002

Do you really think the UN is being 'manipulated'? There are so many countries that vote, and pretty much every resolution against Israel is supported by every country in the world besides the United States (which abstains). Or could it be that supporters of Israel think that any condemnation of that nation is rooted not in a genuine desire to censure rogue states, but in racism and anti-semitism. It is not hard to be convinced that the Arab nations have problems with Israel that rise above mere concern over rights violations, but you will have a hard time convincing me that the many security council resolutions that actually pass without a US veto are in the same vein.

I do understand when people say there is a 'double standard' in that it takes poltical will to create these censurious resolutions, and by nature of its colonial founding and subsequent wars Israel has more enemies than most. However when it comes time to vote I do not believe the UN is being manipulated, the resolutions that do pass are often quite watered down and have support of the entire world.

To me, this is the same thing as those people who are cancelling subscriptions to the New York and LA Times because they are "anti-Israel." When it is your belief that a country is morally superior to others, it is natural to see any criticism, even if the rest of the world feels it is deserved, as some kind of irrational attack.
posted by cell divide at 9:20 AM on May 1, 2002

What cell divide said. When you're looking at 100-something to 2 (US and Israel) votes in the UN, there can be only 2 possible scenarios: either there is a worldwide conspiracy against Israel or maybe, just maybe, Israel is in the wrong in those cases. The people who bash the UN (not that it doesn't deserve criticism) never consider the latter a possibility, which is testimony to their blind support of Israel.
posted by laz-e-boy at 9:36 AM on May 1, 2002

First, go look at this site and actually click a few of the things on the top bar.

Yes, the UN isn't perfect, nothing is, but withdrawing because they sometimes don't do what you want is not the answer. even in regards to the Human Rights Commision vote, yes we were voted out, and yes some of the members are in violation of the Declaration, but we still support the Declaration. as long as we support the wording of it, and the Charter, we should remain a member, you don't change a group by walking away. The UN exists for peace, and as the only organization that can foster any sort of world unity. we are part of the world, and sticking our head in the sand will not solve anything.

if we left what would you have us do? turn our back on the rest of the world, concerned only with ourselves and our profits? The ideals of the United Nations are noble and worthy of our support, they are the main force for peace, unity, and a global sense of identity; there are no better goals.

"Without the United Nations our country would walk alone, ruled by fear instead of confidence and hope."
Eleanor Roosevelt

"The UN is not just a product of do-gooders. It is harshly real. The day will come when men will see the UN and what it means clearly. Everything will be all right—you know when? When people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction, and see it as a drawing they made themselves."
Dag Hammarskjöld (1905- 1961), Swedish statesman, Secretary- General of the United Nations.

read the charter, how could we not want to be a part?
posted by rhyax at 3:36 PM on May 1, 2002

We need MORE U.N., not less.
posted by rushmc at 4:22 PM on May 1, 2002

The United States Should Withdraw From the United Nations

Damn straight, amen, and 2nd that!

The people who bash the UN (not that it doesn't deserve criticism) never consider the latter a possibility, which is testimony to their blind support of Israel.

If it's between the whole world, and blind support for Israel, blind support it is. Israel is an island of democarcy in an ocean of militant theocracies, military juantas and absolute religious monarchy. This, and the Arabs (and most Muslims around the world, and some non-muslims) want to wipe out the Jews (and name Israel) from the face of the earth. Can you say the same for Israilies? Do they want wholesale destruction of the Islamic countries and population at-large?

The U.N. is very anti-Semetic, and biased. There are more Islamic countries who always band togather against Israel (and the U.S.), no matter what the issue. And then there's France. Against all this, blind support for Israel, I say.
posted by Rastafari at 4:43 PM on May 1, 2002

Did you bother to read the article, Laz-e-boy or Cell Divide?

Or do statistics, facts, figures, and truth scare you?

The double standard demonstrated very elegantly: Syria's on the security council in spite of their occupation of lebanon, support of Hizbollah and slaughter of intellectuals and politicians. Israel, on the other hand, is not allowed on. Does Israel occupy lands? Yes, they do. Do they support terrorist organizations? Well, there's the IDF, but umm, every country has a military, and Israel's been very restrained in using theirs, in light of the daily attacks on civilians that they've had. Do the slaughter intellectuals or politicians? Well, they might bore them to death in debate in the Knesset, but other than that, no.

Do they squash all outside views except the state view? Ever witnessed a Knesset session? It's pretty wide ranging in there.

Why, for example, is it ok for the UN factfinding mission to pursue questions of a "slaughter" of 33 gunmen and 22 innocents, but there's no uproar and no investigation over the Palestinian Authority working with the IRA to create bombs, developing chemical weapons, violating virtually every agreement they've ever signed, and supporting the straight up murder of "collaborators?" Why does the United Nations condemn none of that? Strangely silent on the stringing-up-from-telephone-poles thing that happened a few days ago. Strangely silent on the Karin-A and the Dolphinarium. Strangely silent because what, Jews eat the blood of Muslims on Passover? Or was that Germans?

Please explain how there's not a double standard? Thanks. Facts or statistics would be useful. I admit that I have the easier job claiming there is, as there's this lovely article that essentially lays out for you several of the double standards doing my work for me.

Refuting the points, rather than claiming some "jew-fear" bugaboo (as synagogues around the world are firebombed and Jews are warned not to look too jewish and jewish children are beaten and Isreali's are bombed in their supermarkets) would be useful to the discussion here.

I'd love to believe that the United Nations doesn't have a double standard and it's just "jew-fear" bugaboo. But unfortunately, nobody supporting the United Nations can point to evidence than any other country in the world, short of perhaps Iraq, is treated like the pariah that Israel is. And Iraq is gaining favor.
posted by swerdloff at 5:34 PM on May 1, 2002

if we left what would you have us do? turn our back on the rest of the world, concerned only with ourselves and our profits? The ideals of the United Nations are noble and worthy of our support, they are the main force for peace, unity, and a global sense of identity; there are no better goals.
I hear violins.

We need MORE U.N., not less.
Maybe you need more U.N, I could use a whole lot less. What a money pit.
posted by thirteen at 7:20 PM on May 1, 2002

You taunt me (YTM).
posted by ParisParamus at 8:03 PM on May 1, 2002

Swerdloff, from my reading the point was that the UN has a double standard, but Israel is still very much in the wrong. Basically the main difference is that Israel is a very young country with very few natural allies since it's a state based on exclusivity of religion (not unique on any count, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia also come to mind) and since it was created out of thin air less 50 years ago.

I lived in Israel and very much sympathise and emphasise with the "whole world is against us" mentality; anyone who visted S. Africa in the last decade of apartheid noticed the same thing. With few friends, it is natural that the weak-in-diplomacy strong-in-weapons is going to get picked on in the diplomatic realm. Be glad that that is Israel's weak point. Ask any Palestinian what it's like to be strong diplomatically and weak militarily is like. Being Jewish has everything to do with not having a large worldwide constiuency that Arabs or Muslims or Europeans have, but next to nothing to do with the actual reasons Israel is being singled out.

In other words, Israel is wrong. The occupation is dead wrong. It's not the only one, but it's one of the few that have no-one (besides the world's most powerful country, that is) to stand with it. This is something Israel has to deal with, even if it's not the fairest situation in the world. If Israel didn't give the international community real reasons to complain, the criticism really would die out.
posted by chaz at 9:37 PM on May 1, 2002

it appears there is no more room on the moral high ground
posted by johnnyboy at 1:40 AM on May 2, 2002

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