Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The UN: What is it Good For?



What would be our logical reaction, when we see an organization or an institute does not function properly as it should?

In such a hypothetical scenario, we would perform some investigation in the first instance in order to find out what is / are the reason/s of such an unsuccessful performance. The result of our investigation would undoubtedly lead us to some limited conclusions as follows.

1- Either the director or the board of directors have not done their job in a professional and appropriate manner.


2- Some parts or the whole structure of that organization /institute need a fundamental change/reorganization or some serious minor /major adjustments in different terms in various parts, for example.


3- The combination of both issues mentioned above.

Generally speaking, i don't think it would be another option beyond the three issues mentioned above, in such a hypothetical scenario. Now, let's use this simple example with regards to the overall performance of the United Nations in response to our contemporary problems in the international arena.

A quick review in this matter reminds us to some tragic and still unsolved events such as: the Palestine and Israel conflict, genocide in Rwanda (1994), Yugoslav war (1991-2001), invasion of Afghanistan (2001), invasion of Iraq (2003), military intervention in Libya (2011), the current civil war in Syria (since 2011), Iraq, Yemen, Ukraine, and the rise and emergence of various Islamic terrorist groups in the Middle East and most parts of Africa could be mentioned. All these unbelievably horrific and tragic events have resulted to the deaths of millions innocent people, total destruction in different terms in various parts of the world, enormous waves of refugees and internally displaced people, who are living in a very inhuman and harsh conditions around the globe.

All examples mentioned above, indicates the fact that the United Nations as the only legitimate, legal, powerful and authoritative international institution in our world, has not been able to perform its job and responsibility in a professional and appropriate manner in response to various international conflicts and disasters particularly since 1990 onward.

This catastrophic and unacceptable resume leads us to some serious questions as follows. What was / or is the role of the United Nations in all these disastrous events? Why the UN has not been able to avoid all or some of these horrible events or at least decrease the level of total destruction in different terms in all these events? Does the current director of the UN, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and the directors of different departments of the UN, have enough qualification, competence and experience for performing their important tasks? Or does the structure of the UN need some fundamental change or some serious adjustment?

In response to these critics, some might claim that the UN has also done some positive job in different parts of the world with regards to various problems. I agree; this is something that can't be denied. But i illustrate my answer by using some simple examples.

Assume, we hire a taxi to drive us from point A to point B. Or we are visiting a doctor when we are sick. In both cases, there are a logical and unwritten agreements between us (as the passenger or patient) and the taxi driver or doctor. The agreement is that in return to an amount of money, we expect to get a reasonable, reliable and certain service. In case of hiring the taxi, we expect that the driver take us to our destination with a fair price, on time and in a very safety manner. So is the case of visiting the doctor. We expect that we get a certain treatment and get rid of our disease or sickness in return to an amount or money. In both these examples, we don't give a Noble Price to taxi driver or doctor in case of successful results. Because, they have paid to do their job in a fair, reasonable and professional manner. But, we criticize or in some cases we might probably file a lawsuit against them, if they don't do their job in a professional and good manner.

So is the case of the UN. If the UN has done some positive job, the organization has fulfilled parts of its responsibility and duty, as it should. Because,the UN has received some amount of money to provide some positive service in response to some conflictual or disastrous events around the world. As such, this is not a logical argument in response to enormous failure, neglection and incompetency of the UN with regards to various horrific events around the globe.

The whole responsibility of the UN has been limited to 1- Releasing reports about different economic, social, cultural or political events or violation of human rights somewhere around the world. (In this respect, lots of individuals, academicians or NGOs would provide such reports, which in most of cases their reports are more reliable than the UN).
2- Collecting money or charity for some parts of the world. (Lots of NGOs are doing this job. Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, for example, is doing this charity job much better than the UN. Even the students in the elementary school near my home can collect money for some disastrous area. In terms of violation of human rights, some organization like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch are doing this job much better than the UN).

One might say the international community need a place to discuss some conflictual issues with each other. In this respect, those states can rent a conference saloon in a hotel or a coffee shop for their discussion. They don't need a huge expensive building like the UN offices in New York or somewhere else around the world. Honestly, what else, the UN is doing?

In sum: The UN might have been able to solve some problems during the Cold War era, based on the special characteristics of the international community in those years. But not anymore. Because, we have arrived into new era. In comparison with the Cold War era, the structure of international community has fundamentally changed in different terms. As such, the new challenges have emerged; some new challenges that need new laws. convention, regulation and the new type of implementation. The overall failure of the UN in various occasions indicates the fact that this huge costly bureaucratic organization is completely incompatible with our contemporary challenges in different terms. The current UN is like a dead body that different doctors would try to artificially pomp its heart and blood in a unrealistic and delusional hope to keeps it alive; an impossible and uselessly costly mission.

M. Sirani                              19.04.2015