Saturday, March 25, 2006

UN reform - US will only remain part of UN as long as it does not try to have a "standing army"

The UN Security Council has too often failed to act swiftly and effectively to contain international crises and needs reforming, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said today. Reuters/Scotsman report excerpt:
"Too often, the Security Council's engagement is inadequate, selective or after the fact," said Mohamed ElBaradei, last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner.

"The tragedies of recent years in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur are cases in point," he told

The Egyptian diplomat said the 15-nation Security Council had shown its ineffectiveness by failing to tackle violence in Sudan's Darfur region. "Darfur continues to suffer from the inability of the Security Council to muster sufficient peacekeeping troops and sufficient resources to prevent the continuing atrocities."
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Secretary General Mohamed ElBaradei

Photo: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Secretary General Mohamed ElBaradei. (IslamOnline) Click here to read speech in full.
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US Congress passed a law that states that the US will only remain part of the UN as long as it does not try to have a "standing army"

Here are some snippets I've extracted from Ali's blog entry last year at The Salon, entitled The UN Awakens .... Ali is a bright young Congolese man living in America whose mother works at the UN:

If the UN had a well trained - militarily and psychologically, well conditioned, well equipped, and motivated standing peace keeping/enforcing force, much of these problems would not be. The problem is that some countries - the US is the first among them - believe that their constitution is such a work of divine perfection, that it can NEVER be subordinated to anything... even an organization that they RUN, like the UN. Thus the US Congress passed a law that states that the US will only remain part of the UN as long as it does not try to have a "standing army". As a result of that, the Blue Helmets have to be recruited when there is the need, from a number of countries, with varying degrees of military training, human rights training, income, and corruption. [Edit]

A body of 191 states, and thousands of nations, cannot be turned into a puppet of ONE country's policies. It's simply impossible. The US might think they know best, and that their foreign policy is the way, the truth and the light to salvation and prosperity for all people... but it still has to convince people! It cannot simply seek to impose its will, using the UN as a rubber-stamp. That power-dynamic of misperceptions and disdain - as well as the Cold War, and the dictatorships it created - are the cause of the mess today, IMHO.

So what to do? Let the US put its money where its mouth is. Let the UN reforms that Annan is proposing go through, and create a more balanced United Nations, with Africans holding veto-wielding pernanent seats in the Security Council. Let the UN enforce culturally sensitive peace and democracy, in a multilateral way. And give the UN secretariat the resources and the power - as well as the broad-based (meaning not only the almighty US congress, but all nations) oversight - it needs to do its job on the field. Then, if that doesn't work, you can come and tell me that the UN is hopeless. [Edit]

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