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United Nations - Good/Bad/Ugly ?

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Dallas, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    From 1945 to the 1970’s, the United Nations looked to be a strong successor to the failed League of Nations. Success of sorts in Korea and the Congo had boosted its international image. However, many of the problems from the Cold War it could not stem. The effective occupation of Eastern Europe by Russia made a mockery of the promises made at Yalta and other war meetings. The treatment of Hungary in 1956 could not be stopped by the United Nations. Likewise, America’s involvement in Vietnam could not be stopped.
    By the end of the 1970’s the United Nations had lost some of its prestige. It was clear that the two superpowers, America and Russia, would follow the foreign policy that they wanted to regardless of what the UN wanted.

    The whole issue of the relationship between America and the UN weakened the UN. Since 1945, America had been the dominant force in the UN. America provided the UN with 25% of its annual budget and expected to have a big say in final UN decisions - an influence that matched the hundred of millions of dollars America has paid into the UN’s budget. Likewise, some major international problems were dealt with by America flexing her diplomatic muscles (such as in Suez and especially in the Middle East) rather than the UN solving them.

    As more and more Asian and African nations gained their independence and joined the UN, power blocs within the General Assembly have developed. These have challenged the belief that the old order of western nations should dominate the UN simply by using their financial clout and their historic connections. Seven blocs have been identified:
    the Developing Nations which consists of 125 states the Non-Aligned Movement which consists of 99 states (mostly Asian and African who avoid joining military alliances) the Islamic Conference which consists of 41 states the African group of 50 states the Latin American group of 33 states the Western European group of 22 states the Arab group of 21 states.

    Within the General Assembly, all nations regardless of wealth, military power etc., have one vote. The same is true in the specialist agencies - one nation one vote. However, much of the important UN work is done in the Security Council and the five nations of Russia, America, Britain, France and China still have the right to veto a decision of the Security Council. This system has been challenged by the newer members of the UN who want one nation one vote in the Security Council as well. The five permanent members of the Security Council have fought to keep the system as it is claiming that as the five permanent members invest far more money into the UN’s budget and, as a result, should have more sway than nations that pay far less into the UN’s budget.
    In 1985, this theme was even taken up by America’s Congress which declared that:

    "Voting rights (in the UN) should be proportionate to the contribution of each member state to the budget of the UN and its specialised agencies."

    In 1985, America provided the UN with 25% of its budget; the USSR provided 10.5%; Angola 0.01% and Saudi Arabia 0.86%. America claimed that such an investment should have its rewards. If the ‘Big Five’ withdrew their financial support or reduced it to the level of other nations in the UN, then the UN itself would face near bankruptcy. There was little the UN could do if members failed to pay their contribution. After the Congo crisis from 1960 to 1964, Russia, France and Belgium refused to contribute to the $400 million it had cost the UN to bring peace to the Congo.

    Throughout the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, the UN run up debts nearly totalling $1 billion. In 1986, America refused to pay 50% of its annual contribution in protest at the influence newly emerging nations had or were attempting to get. America pointed out that 85% of the UN’s budget was paid by just 20 nations yet many smaller nations were trying to reform the way the UN was run (especially its voting system) without making the same financial commitment to the UN.

    Towards the end of the 1980’s the UN appeared to have split in two: the richer old established nations that essentially funded the UN on one side and the newly established but poorer nations on the other side. These nations claimed that they were only poor because so much of their annual wealth was taken up in paying off debts to the world’s richest nations. The world’s richest nations have responded to this charge. They claim that internal corruption within these newer nations is responsible for their poverty - not the debts they owe for money borrowed.

    Within just 45 years of its birth, the UN stood at a crossroads. If it divides into rich and poor nations, where does this leave the whole concept of all nations working for one common goal?





    ***

    I really am mixed when it comes to the UN. I mean it really is a world body of hand wringers. That's really how I feel about it. The US can't do much there. It has tried. With China and France and Russia undermining most of what Britain and the US strives to accomplish. Nothing ever get's done.

    I sometimes just wish the US would opt out of the UN completely. Ask them to move the body to France or something.

    We sink billions each year into this circus of disorder w/o anything positive coming from it.

    Good intentions aside. Our reputation as a wold power hurts us. Everyone loves to hate the United States. We aren't pefect. We are against genocide and wars (mostly) and wish all the bad guys would just go away. The problem is that those with veto power in the UN outnumber Britain and the US. Different cultures and power hungry governments who can't seem to do anything right.

    It's frustrating to say the least. It probably needs to be disolved completely.
  2. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    The UN has become a joke. The organization is powerless and corrupt and is unable to police itself.
  3. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    I agree...to be honest I doubt many would argue with you about that either.
  4. windward

    windward NFL Historian

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    When I think of the United Nations the word "feckless" comes to mind. "Inert" is another.

    With the ability of China, Russia, the US, Britain or France to veto any substantive resolution makes any type of significant move on the UN's part very difficult.
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    We ought to toss them out and tell them to go to Europe where they want to be anyway. Free up all the expensive real estate in NYC and get rid of all the problems we have with all the parasites there.
  6. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    Funny that. The UN says X and a country says "nu-uh" then ends up getting itself embroiled in a very nasty situation - yeah, that's a problem with the U.N.

    Sure the UN isn't perfect but that is made problematic by the fact that some powerful countries completely ignore it -- the whole point is that the powerful countries have to be on board for this to work.
  7. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    The UN was designed to be powerless. And work through negotiation. Many of the faults it is accused of are part of the structure of the organization to begin with.

    It gives a place for countries of the world to bark, so they don't end up biting.

    We don't see the benefits of it as much, because lots of that takes place in the grassroots of a lot of the third world. Yeah, it is kinda inefficient and corrupt. Though looking at our government, I can't really see that great a difference. I think it is a function of most large governmental style organizations.

    The USA also uses the UN for it's own interests, sometimes things that are not in the interest of many of it's other constituents.
  8. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Maybe UNESCO or part of the Medical section is worthwhile. But the rest of it is an expensive JOKE. How about a Human Rights committee with Libya on it?
    Or some of the other wonderful governments that have been on it before.
    Abersonce, I am not suprised you defend it. Liberals love big corrupt, useless, government organizations.
  9. Hoov

    Hoov Senior Member

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    It may be inefficient and have its problems but i wonder how bad things would be without it. Could be one of those things that you dont realize the benefits until you've lost it.
  10. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    I think that's a good point.

    Also, as Abersonc points out, the UN can only be as influential as the more powerful nations allow it to be.

    As the more powerful nations routinely do end-runs around an organization, the organization becomes less influential and more fringe.

    You can blame the organization, but blame also surely rests with some of its members.

    So, another question - What are the United States, the EU, China, Russia, etc. doing that renders the UN largely incapable of fulfilling its positive mission in a meaningful way?
  11. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    The most powerful countries aren't the only ones that ignore it.
  12. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    Big difference between some tiny country experiencing political turmoil not playing along and some superpower ignoring the UN. The UNs power comes from the big countries wielding a stick. If the superpowers ignore the UN then other countries are free to as well. Of course, it is sometimes in superpower's interest to make the UN look ineffective, that way the country can get the public to completely ignore UN reports and do whatever we want.
  13. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    United Nations - Good/Bad/Ugly ?

    Bad, Ugly...
  14. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    Unfortunately, these countries all have different agendas. You can just look at the Iraq situation to find out how some of the more powerful countries undermined the sactions on Iraq to see this.
  15. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Let us not forget that the creation of the UN was strongly advocated by the US and is on US solid to reflect our predominant status, so to the extent that the organization is riddled with corruption and inefficiency, we bear some responsibility for that as one of the leading nations in the world.

    We use it to advance our agenda, we condemn it when it exhibits a mind of its own and opposes our wishes.
  16. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    It's mostly being condemned for corruption in the oil for food program. I don't think our country had anything to do with this.
  17. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    and how others completely ignored inspections that completely discounted the reason the public was given for going to war
  18. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    I seem to recall the Iraq government refusing many of the inspections. I see the point you are trying to make, but you are using a bad example. I think Russia, China, and France should have put more pressure on Iraq to ensure these inspections were allowed to take place. This step probably would have prevented the second gulf war.
  19. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    But his point is a legit point.

    We use it when it is to our advantage and condemn it when it does not go our way.

    Others do it as well.

    His examples and yours were valid examples.
  20. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    This explains why the organization isn't very useful. GATT, NAFTA, the World Bank, the European Union, NATO, and OPEC all have more teeth than the United Nations.

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