Eldridge Clever said 'If you are not part of the solution, you are a part of the problem". The UN was created to be a solution to international conflict, yet today it is firmly part of the problem. Improved industrial relations notwithstanding, the UN has failed to bring representative international governance on our world's most desperate issues. Their idle complicity to illegal foreign policies has fostered several modern day holocausts and contributed to the greatest threat to internationalism since it was created over 60 years ago. So, why then does the UN still exist?
It is quite likely the UN saved my life. When the entire world turned its back on Yugoslavia, the UN didn't. Though my memory is cloudy, I remember distinctly that the first black person I ever saw was a United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) solider and I remember being absolutely fascinated that while his skin was much darker than anyone I had ever seen; his palms were almost the same colour as mine. And while to me, the bullets, bombs and underground shelters were all just a game, the reality was that we had a man from Africa on the other side of the world in Knin, risking his life for a cause he neither understood nor cared for. It was the essence of what the UN was created; to help those who cannot help themselves.
While some cried for international intervention, the then U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker, said: "We don't have a dog in this fight," and President George Bush, Sr. asked U.S. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft: "Tell me again what this is all about". When the US had no cause to protect, the UN did; preservation of human life.
In 1999, the USA did have 'a dog in the fight'. It was Bill Clinton's fight against impeachment and national ridicule. The US-led 79-Day NATO bombing of Belgrade, without approval of the UN Security Council (UNSC) exposed the ineffectual and derisory power of the UN. And while a "humanitarian catastrophe" was propagandised as justification, the truth and human cost were subordinate to the personal and national interest of but one UN signatory.
In 2001, and less than 24 hours after 19 extremists hijacked and deliberately crashed four commercial aircraft to cause mass devastation on U.S. soil, UNSC condemned the attacks and under resolution 1368. The UN argued for peace while bringing the non-state actors responsible to justice. The Bush Administration decided to declare war on an entire country of 35 Million innocent people. This time Article 51 of the UN Charter was propagandised as justification, and the UN just watched as over 3,000 innocent civilians perished to the U.S. bombardment in just the first six months of the illegal invasion.
In 2003, Iraq happened. Another holocaust the UN did not approve. However, this time UN Security General, Kofi Annan actually called the war 'illegal'. The propagandised rhetoric was Weapons of Mass Destruction. Then there was Libya, more aggression and, death, though this time with the approval of the UNSC. Today Syria suffers as Ukraine wonders if she will be next. The new episode is an old paradigm illustrating just how the UN has become little more than a waste of resources and a plethora of deferential and submissive organisations run by sycophantic bureaucrats trading morality for a pension with benefits.
I have no standing in passing judgement on the actions of those entrusted with making enormously difficult decisions, most of which are far beyond my comprehension. However, I do believe I am entitled, just like every other person, to ask the question of why the UN has not been sacked?
The very organisation, intended to diplomatise the international community has abysmally failed. Its incompetence in failing to restrain bloodthirsty leaders has contributed to the deaths, displacement and, innate sense of vengeance in millions of innocent people. Moreover, it's immobilisation at failing to hold to account all international acts of terrorism permits future dictators intent on masterminding imperialistic foreign and domestic policy to reign over the most vulnerable and defenceless people.
From starting out as the solution to international disharmony, it has become the very problem to international harmony. Today, there are 193 members in the UN, yet, over 22% of the UN funding came directly from the USA. NATO has 28 members and with the USA again providing almost 20% of total NATO funding. The UN can no longer be called a coalition of international members; it simply being used as a very clever hygiene instrument for illicit and often complicit political greenwashing tactics.
Perhaps I should be more grateful that the UN saved my life. Indeed, some of my peers are. But the UN was not created to save the lives of the few; it was created to preserve the life of the most vulnerable, all of the vulnerable. But who will sack the UN, or at minimum redefine their charter accordingly? I doubt anyone cares enough.
For the surviving fatalities, we'd rather criticise and cry Serbophobia when a failed musician and former brute for kicks, says 'We bombed the crap out of the Serbs'. Why would we possibly care enough to instil change, when it's so easy to sell hate. And so, the UN will stay for as long we commoditise hate.