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Copyright © 2008 riceNpeas
Is it all just for show? An examination of the harsh realities of decision-making in the United Nations, and the powers who control it.

When the United Nations was officially founded in 1945, the idea was that the UN would replace the League of Nations, and would do a better job of maintaining international peace and preventing war than its not-so-successful predecessor.  On paper, the goals appeared obviously righteous: the facilitation of cooperation amongst the nations of the world on the issues of international law, international security, economic development, social progress, and issues of human rights, thus creating a common grounds for unity and thereby preventing war.  Allegedly, each nation within the organization would have an equal voice and the initiatives of the organization would ultimately better the quality of human life all around the world.  Perhaps the concept was too utopian for a corrupt and greed-ridden world, or perhaps the greed of the UN’s more powerful voices was too great a contender for the spirit of unity, but whatever the reason, it seems appropriate to examine the organization’s tremendous failures, more than six decades after its inception.

It is no secret that the UN is currently run by the key players; the biggest, wealthiest, and hence, most powerful nations are at the forefront of all decisions and initiatives.  The undemocratic nature of the Security Council’s five permanent seats lends itself to more than just skepticism; yet why has the mainstream media failed to bring attention to the fact that the five most powerful nations (or rather, the single most powerful nation and its back-door buddies) – the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, and Russia – maintain “permanent” status while the remaining ten seats are rotated amongst every other country in the world, with no state holding office for more than two years?  Why has no one in the mainstream media, after all these years, publicly questioned the unethical “veto power” that these permanent seats hold, even in the face of a unanimous vote of the other ten nations?  The result is blatantly obvious, even to the least globally conscience of the world’s citizens; the Security Council is, in essence, a contrived illusion.

For nearly half a century, the US has imposed an unethical trade embargo against the sovereign nation of Cuba, banning, not only free trade between the US and Cuba, but also, banning trade with any other nation which docks in a Cuban port, forcing non-US traders to make the decision between trading with a so-called “Third World Country,” or with the world’s most dominant super-power.  The choice is clear, and, this begs the question as to the level of responsibility this blockade holds in regards to Cuba’s current economic crisis.  This denial of the basic right of free trade, which has been in effect since 1962, was codified into law in 1992, under the subterfuge of “bringing democracy to the Cuban people.”  The General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted for the condemnation of this excessive and unreasonable blockade; yet the power of the US is too great for the so-called “democracy” of the UN.  Hence, the blockade continues and the Cuban people continue to struggle in keeping up with a global community from which they have, in essence, been locked out.

The ploy of “bringing democracy” to so-called “oppressed” people never seems to get old.  After the search for “Weapons of Mass Destruction” was exposed as a farce, the purpose of this ludicrous “War on Terror” quickly changed gears.  “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was the new buzz-phrase; the war was now being waged for the just cause of rescuing the Iraqi people from the so-called “haters of freedom.”  Yet prior to 2003 invasion, Resolution 1441 had been unanimously voted on by the Security Council, allegedly giving Iraq its final chance to comply with the UN’s concern in regards to Iraq’s armaments.  Yet even the arm-twisted Resolution 1441 did not include plans for military action.  In fact, the United States Ambassador John Negroponte emphatically stated, “[T]his resolution contains no ‘hidden triggers’ and no ‘automaticity’ with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA or a Member State, the matter will return to the Council for discussions as required in paragraph 12.”  Yet the stipulations set forth in paragraph 12 never came to pass.  The “discussions” mentioned never had a chance to take root, for another initiative was already in order.  As is commonly known and widely recognized, the overwhelming majority of the UN never supported the war; yet, through mafia-like manifestations, the “Coalition of the Willing” was formed and it was onward with the invasion.  Pierce Morgan of The Daily Mirror would later go on to more appropriately define it as “a coalition of the bullied, the bribed, and the terrified.”  For who could speak out against the world’s only super-power over the deafening sounds of the patriotic drums of war?

And lest we forget the Israel/Palestine conflict!  Perhaps no other conflict in history has been so widely acknowledged as an act of state-sanctioned terrorism.  More so than any other issue, the General Assembly and the Security Council have overwhelmingly voted to condemn Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.  Yet the victims continue to be portrayed in the vast majority of international media as terrorists, backed politically, morally, and economically by the US Administration.  The Security Council passed 131 resolutions between 1967 and 1989, 88 of which criticized Israel and/or acknowledged the corruption of its interests.  Not to mention the 429 resolutions of the UN General Assembly, 321 of which condemned Israel for its actions.  Why, then, has no one questioned the fact that none of these nearly 500 resolutions have come to pass?  Why has the international media failed to acknowledge the International Court of Justice’s ruling that all UN Security Council resolutions have been legally binding since 1971?  Why has Israel been allowed to continue its reign of terror with the US smiling approvingly over them?  Why have the cries of Palestine, and moreover, the voices of the international community, been stifled and ignored for more than half a century?  The answer is evident to anyone willing to look beyond the propaganda; the fate of Palestine terrifyingly lies in the hands of those with the most economic, political, and military power: the supporters of Israel.  Using the Holocaust as a moral crutch has long since past; economic and political interests now serve as the moral high-ground for brutality and state-sanctioned terrorism, and the UN remains powerless to stop it.

With the only organization set to enforce global justice in the hands of a pathological criminal, the future of international harmony and the hope for worldwide human rights looks grim.  We now live in a world where the nations within whom the “powers that be” have a vested interest are the ones who receive aid and support, while the ones in most need are oftentimes blatantly ignored.  Foreign aid is never altruistic and always comes with a price.  Civilian life is trampled as power is sought after, bulldozing over nations and flattening justice like a steamroller.  War is waged with reckless abandon.  Corporate greed takes precedence over human life.  Resources are depleted as nations for justice are bullied and blackmailed.  There are no checks and balances in place.  Might makes right.  And, perhaps most frightening of all, the media aids the manufactured façade as the world’s greatest terrorists masquerade as the seat of global justice.

1st February 2008
There's No Democracy in the UN
By Jill Bolstridge