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Old 09-07-2003, 06:51 AM   #1
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Fixing The Un Part 2

[Q]There is a way out of this mess of interventionist policy, but it is also a route out of American unilateralism. It entails allowing other countries to have a say on when and how the United States can intervene. It would mean returning to the United Nations and proposing new rules to guide the use of force. This is the path that Franklin Roosevelt took in 1944, when he put his backing behind the creation of a new world organization with a mandate to use force to defend ''international peace and security.'' What America needs, then, is not simply its own doctrine for intervention but also an international doctrine that promotes and protects its interests and those of the rest of the international community.

The problem is that the United Nations that F.D.R. helped create never worked as he intended. What passes for an ''international community'' is run by a Security Council that is a museum piece of 1945 vintage. Everybody knows that the Security Council needs reform, and everybody also knows that this is nearly impossible. But if so, then the United Nations has no future. The time for reform is now or never. If there ever was a reason to give Great Britain and France a permanent veto while denying permanent membership to Germany, India, Brazil or Japan, that day is over. The United States should propose enlarging the number of permanent members of the council so that it truly represents the world's population. In order to convince the world that it is serious about reform, it ought to propose giving up its own veto so that all other permanent members follow suit and the Security Council makes decisions to use force with a simple majority vote. As a further guarantee of its seriousness, the United States would commit to use force only with approval of the council, except where its national security was directly threatened.

All this is difficult enough, but the next step is tougher still. The United Nations that F.D.R. helped create privileged state sovereignty ahead of human rights: a world of equal states, equally entitled to immunity from intervention. One result has been that since 1945 millions more people have been killed by oppression, abuse, civil war and massacre inside their states than in wars between states. These have been the rules that made tyrants and murderers like Saddam Hussein members in good standing of the United Nations club.

This is the cruel reality of what passes for an ''international community'' and the comity of nations. United Nations member states will have to decide what the organization is actually for: to defend sovereignty at all costs, in which case it ends up defending tyranny and terror -- and invites a superpower to simply go its own way, or to defend human rights, in which case, it will have to rewrite its own rules for authorizing the use of force.

So what rules for intervention should the United States propose to the international community? I would suggest that there are five clear cases when the United Nations could authorize a state to intervene: when, as in Rwanda or Bosnia, ethnic cleansing and mass killing threaten large numbers of civilians and a state is unwilling or unable to stop it; when, as in Haiti, democracy is overthrown and people inside a state call for help to restore a freely elected government; when, as in Iraq, North Korea and possibly Iran, a state violates the nonproliferation protocols regarding the acquisition of chemical, nuclear or biological weapons; when, as in Afghanistan, states fail to stop terrorists on their soil from launching attacks on other states; and finally, when, as in Kuwait, states are victims of aggression and call for help. These would be the cases when intervention by force could be authorized by majority vote on the Security Council.

Sending in the troops would remain a last resort. If the South Africans can persuade Mugabe to go into retirement, so much the better. If American diplomats can persuade the Burmese junta to cease harassing Aung San Suu Kyi, it would obviously be preferable to using force. But force and the threat of it are usually the only language tyrants, human rights abusers and terrorists ever understand. Terrorism and nuclear proliferation can be contained only by multilateral coalitions of the willing who are prepared to fight if the need arises.

These rules wouldn't require the United States to make its national security decisions dependent on the say-so of the United Nations, for its unilateral right of self-defense would remain. New rules for intervention, proposed by the United States and abided by it, would end the canard that the United States, not its enemies, is the rogue state. A new charter on intervention would put America back where it belongs, as the leader of the international community instead of the deeply resented behemoth lurking offstage.

Dream on, I hear you say. Such a change might lead to more American intervention, and the world wants a lot less. But we can't go on the way we are, with a United Nations Charter that has become an alibi for dictators and tyrants and a United States ever less willing to play by United Nations rules when trying to stop them. Clear United Nations guidelines, making state sovereignty contingent on good citizenship at home and abroad and licensing intervention where these rules were broken might actually induce states to improve their conduct, making intervention less, rather than more, frequent. [/Q]

First of all.....what do you think of this? There was a good thread a while back in which we were posting ideas about reforming the UN. What do you think of this part of the article?

Secondly, the article is an 8 page read, but well worth it. I enjoyed it and found it quite interesting. I figured some of you would too.

MODS...I put it in here....because reforming the UN did not directly deal just with WAR but the issues of Human Rights as well. I thought it may be better received in here. If you think otherwise do what you must.



http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/07/ma...partner=GOOGLE
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Old 09-08-2003, 04:00 AM   #2
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Hello,

Didn't have time to react to this post until now, so please forgive the late reaction (although I'm surprised there hasn't be any reaction at all).
I've only read the quoted piece here, but I agree largely with what's being said. The Security Council does need more permanent members and the veto has to go.

The only thing I have still doubts about is the focus of the UN. At the moment it places sovereignity above human rights. This has as a consequence that the UN may defend tyrants and dictators, as stated in the article. On the other hand, should the UN place human rights above sovereignity, then it opens the way for invasions in name of defending human rights. Which route should the UN follow? I don't know at the moment (but I have a slight preference for valuing sovereignity).
Whatever route the UN will follow, it's member states have to accept it; they have to accept a decision by the UN. Even if it goes against one's own wishes, a decision of the UN is a decision you have to follow. That may be the toughest part of keeping the UN relevant.

C ya!

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Old 09-08-2003, 11:19 AM   #3
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I've been thinking about this. I agree that there need to be more members of the Security Council and yes, the veto has to go. Sovereignty or human rights? Tough call; I have a slight preference for human rights.
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Old 09-08-2003, 06:09 PM   #4
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I think reforming the Security Council is a good idea.

1. Getting rid of the Veto I think is a good idea and would actually help US foreign policy more than it would hurt it.

2. Expanding the permanent members of the Security Council is a good idea, but should not be done simply as way to represent the global population more. The new permanent members should be countries that actually contribute a large amount of resources to UN Peace Keeping efforts or other International Security arrangements or situations. When I say resources, this can mean either military forces, economic and humanitarian development workers, or simply money.

Considering that, would Germany, India, Japan, and Brazil be the #1 candidates?

3. I think Bosnia and Kosovo have proven that Sovereignty is never a defense of Gross human rights abuses.

4. "As a further guarantee of its seriousness, the United States would commit to use force only with approval of the council, except where its national security was directly threatened."

Here lies a big problem. The USA already does this despite the difference of opinion among many other countries about this. In addition, the USA would never give a foreign assembly any kind of a veto over what it considers to be in its National Security.
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Old 09-08-2003, 06:11 PM   #5
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Sting2,

Good to see you back.
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Old 09-08-2003, 06:18 PM   #6
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Welcome back Sting!
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Old 09-08-2003, 06:43 PM   #7
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Welcome back Sting!
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Old 09-08-2003, 07:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
Here lies a big problem. The USA already does this despite the difference of opinion among many other countries about this. In addition, the USA would never give a foreign assembly any kind of a veto over what it considers to be in its National Security.
This is a big problem. What constitutes "National Security"? And what interest does the United States have in giving another organization control over how the US protects its national security? Is there an incentive to the US for a change in the UN?

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Old 09-08-2003, 07:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
4. "As a further guarantee of its seriousness, the United States would commit to use force only with approval of the council, except where its national security was directly threatened."

Here lies a big problem. The USA already does this despite the difference of opinion among many other countries about this. In addition, the USA would never give a foreign assembly any kind of a veto over what it considers to be in its National Security.
You and I could not see eye to eye on this, and many of the same things we argued were argued on the world scale. I say this not to start it all up again, but because it is a BIG PROBLEM.

I am 100% against giving any country any say over another when a sovereign nations National Security is a stake. It should not just apply to the US.

The real problem is who decides when another nation is at risk? Will anyone ever agree on this issue when push comes to shove?
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Old 09-08-2003, 08:23 PM   #10
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Sting, it is really good to have you back!

I was going to wait until I read all 8 pages, I still have not done that yet.




America would not participate in the U N if it did not have a veto.


I believe the case for war in Afghanistan was made. There were no vetos.

Seventy per cent of the American people believe Iraq/ Saddam had a role in 9-11.

That simply is not the case.

The rest of the world knew this and would not support a “preemptive war”.


If preemptive war is justified then Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was justified.

Our Navy fleet had been based in the U. S. at San Diego.

FDR had it moved out of the U. S. to the Pacific to threaten Japan.
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Old 09-08-2003, 09:02 PM   #11
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I think the United Nations continues to be a place where the countries of the world try and reach agreements on difficult international issues. The use of military force has always been a very controversial issue. The UN has only approved the use of force a few times in its history, yet there have been dozens of wars since its formation in 1945.

The individual countries themselves obviously decide when their national security has been threatened. Unfortunately, not all countries are democracies, and the decision to use force is sometimes made by a dictator.

Given the differences among countries in terms of government, interest, culture, etc, its not surprising that 100% agreement within the UN is rare. Still, it helps to attempt to achieve that consenses even if it does not fully happen.

The best answer to the questions on National Security I think is that sometimes nations will agree and sometimes they will not. That sounds a little simple and kind of silly, but that is generally what happens.

In the future though, as globalism and interdependence increase, and bring up the standards of living in other countries, the need for intervention should decrease. In addition, as countries become more interdependent, they tend to agree more on difficult international issues. A truely global and interdependent society is still a long way off, perhaps centuries away. But as the world moves in that direction, finding consenses in the UN should eventually become easier.

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Old 09-08-2003, 09:11 PM   #12
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"If preemptive war is justified then Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was justified."

"Our Navy fleet had been based in the U. S. at San Diego."

"FDR had it moved out of the U. S. to the Pacific to threaten Japan."

I'd have to disagree with this. Japan had already been engaged in a decade of aggression against other countries in the region. The US fleet was sent into the Pacific not to attack Japan but to possibly deter further Japanese aggression.
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