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What ever happened to reforming the UN?

By Frank Salvato
web posted April 24, 2006

For a moment, fleeting as it was, there was hope that the ultimatum crafted by US Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL) calling on the United Nations to reform would work. Hyde's legislation tied reform to the monetary contributions (dues) by the United States. But with politicos on Capitol Hill watering down the legislation and the United Nations proposing a new human rights council that may very well boast Cuba as a member, it seems that a subject that has drifted from sight has also drifted out of mind.

Today, more than ever, the world needs an organization where world leaders can meet to hash out differences and confront rogue states hell-bent on domination and global conquest. Conflicts in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as social upheaval in Europe and South America cry out for an organization that can provide solutions. Genocide in some of these regions demands action.

Sadly, the United Nations has weathered the storm of criticism brought on by the Oil-for-Food scandal, a high level scandal in which the UN was complicit in illegal money laundering. Oil-for Food not only found the UN placing greed over humanitarianism but by its very actions created an "eleventh hour" with regard to nuclear and bio-chemical proliferation. In allowing Iraq, Russia and Syria to play "Where's Waldo" with Saddam Hussein's nuclear and bio-chemical weapons program material the UN proved to the world that even when the future of the planet is at stake it cannot be trusted.

The UN has evolved into an ineffective, unaccountable body bloated with bureaucratic egos that offer unenforceable and hollow resolutions. Its councils and commissions are tainted due to the inclusion of states that sponsor and harbor terror, thus its inability to define terrorism, let alone a plan to eliminate it. Half-hearted, neutered peacekeeping initiatives either leave "peacekeepers" watching acts of genocide while sitting with their collective fingers in their noses or see the very people charged with protecting the threatened raping and abusing them.

In a move that illustrates just how hollow and comedic the actions of the United Nations have become, Iran's ambassador, Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi, was elected to serve as the vice chair of the disarmament commission. The commission is charged with promoting the disarmament of nuclear weapons and reviewing treaties that deal with nuclear energy. Danesh-Yazdi takes his seat as the world scrambles to find a non-military way to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Further spotlighting the UN's madness of including aggressive regimes in their policy making arms is its consideration of Cuba and Venezuela for the new Human Rights Council. Cuba is regularly cited by humanitarian organizations, including Human Rights Watch, as a nation which violates human rights on a daily basis. Venezuela's strong-man Hugo Chavez stands arm in arm with Fidel Castro and aggressively postures toward his neighbors and the West.

If the United Nations' decisions on who is included to formulate policy is bordering on the absurd, its track record for providing cogent solutions is dismal. You don't have to go too far back into its history to find evidence to prove so.

The ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan can only be described as genocide. While the UN Security Council is rendered ineffective because of the fanatical ideology of some of its key member nations (these are the same nations that can't be bothered to come up with a definition for "terrorism") the government of Sudan publicly denies that it is aiding the aggressive Janjaweed militia group, while it secretly supplies them with arms. Experts contend that Janjaweed has been infiltrated by al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Estimates have more than 180,000 people killed and more than 1.8 million people displaced due to this conflict.

In just one-hundred days in 1994 and estimated 937,000 people – amounting to approximately 9,370 people a day – were slaughtered in Rwanda as UN "peacekeepers" stood by with their hands tied, forbidden from engaging the aggressors. Despite urgent pleas, both before and during the slaughter, by Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire the United Nations did nothing.

The list goes on: The Arab-Israeli conflict? Failure. The Indian-Pakistani conflict? Failure. The Lebanese crisis? Failure. The Kosovo conflict? An ongoing failure. Congo, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire; failure, failure, failure.

Now, when the UN is served with an ultimatum to reform or lose funding from its host nation and largest financial and physical benefactor it chooses to fail again by allowing despot regimes onto commissions designed to combat their very actions and allowing the deadlocked, bureaucratic status quo to continue despite the existence of matters that threaten the very well-being of our planet.

There is nothing in the global rule book that says the United States has to be a part of the United Nations. The idea that the US might draw together an organization of nations that actual does something in the face of crisis and evil, that reacts to squash acts of genocide and moves to physically block the proliferation of nuclear technology – perhaps starting with the NATO countries – is not at all far-fetched. At this point, considering an alternative to the non-action and rhetoric of the UN is a legitimate idea. Besides, we could use the office space in Manhattan.

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal.us. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education project. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, numerous radio shows coast to coast and his pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict. He can be contacted at oped@newmediajournal.us Copyright © 2006 Frank Salvato

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