There can little doubt as to the fact that the most significant problem confronting the Organization of United Nations (U.N.) is this organization’s operational ineffectiveness, which causes many political observers to suggest that U.N. continuous existence, in its present state, does not make much of a sense. Ever since the time of its founding in 1945, U.N. has failed to effectively solve even a single international conflict. In his article “Going with a Winner”, Davis Pryce-Jones says “The pitiful record of the U.N. in the Middle East speaks for itself. Far from preventing war, it precipitated it in 1967; stood by impotently in 1973; could do nothing about the Syrian invasion of Lebanon and would have accepted the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait unless the United States had acted; prolonged the Palestinian refugee problem; washed its hands of Israeli security; in short, has been pointless at best, harmful at worst” (Pryce-Jones 20).
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For the duration of last 30 years, not a single U.N. Session has been conducted, without delegates spending a great amount of time, while discussing what can be done to “eliminate hunger in developing countries”. Yet, despite milliards of dollars being poured into these countries’ economies, over the course of decades, people in Africa did not become less hungry. The reason for this is simple – “developing countries” are not really developing, they are rapidly descending into primeval savagery. In its turn, this points at U.N. bureaucracy’s unwillingness to face the objective geopolitical realities as they are. Even people, who think that the existence of U.N. is vital, within a context of protecting world’s peace, cannot avoid mentioning that this organization needs to be reformed. In the preface to their book “The United Nations. An Introduction”, Sven Gareis and Johannes Varwick state: “It is also impossible to overlook the fact that the UN in its present form is unable to play its role adequately as motor and agent of a comprehensive politics of world order” (Gareis and Varwick, Preface, 2005).
Nowadays, only very few people remember that U.N. was being founded as the instrument of enforcement the so-called “Peace of Westphalia” on a global scale.
According to the Peace Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which was signed between European countries that participated in Thirty Years War, every country’s sovereign right to define its form of government, and its state religion, without the involvement of a third party, such as Holy See, represents the legal foundation of international law. In his article “Sovereignty: An Introduction and Brief History”, Daniel Philpott provides us with the insight on the utter importance of Peace of Westphalia, within a context of legitimizing the notion of national sovereignty: “Before the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, the first modern revolution in sovereignty, there was no sovereignty; no legitimate authority was supreme within its territory… Westphalia set new standards for each of sovereignty’s three faces. It made the sovereign state the legitimate political unit. It implied that basic attributes of statehood such as the existence of a government with control of its territory were now, along with Christianity, the criteria for becoming a state” (Philpott 2005, p. 360). Ever since the Peace of Westphalia was signed, it became possible for the members of geopolitical community to base their attitude towards the participants of just about every military conflict on absolutely rational principles. However, the today’s objective realities indicate the fact that U.N. has actually been transformed into something opposite from what it originally used to be, namely the tool of Globalization, the ultimate goal of which is being declared the creation of World Government, because the existence of such government automatically implies the elimination of the notion of “national sovereignty” out of international body politics. This is the reason why U.N. fully supported NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 and America’s war against Iraq in 2003 (in both cases under the excuse of protecting the democracy), which was nothing but the most blatant violation of the most fundamental principles of Peace of Westphalia. In other words, U.N. acted against the declared purpose of its own existence as protection of peace and countries’ national sovereignty. Ever since 1999, the notion of national sovereignty had ceased to represent an ontological value, in the eyes of international community’s members. This is the reason why recent years saw the dramatic increase in the number of international conflicts, with U.N. proving its operational impotence, while addressing these conflicts. Foe example, after Russia had invaded Georgia in 2008, the U.N. Security Council had met up for four times, during the course of 7 days, after the beginning of hostilities, without being able to come up with a resolution, which would address the issue. While people were being killed by hundreds on daily basis, U.N. bureaucrats were engaging each other in verbal duels, on whether Russia’s invasion could be considered as the act of war or not. In his article “The Five-Day War Managing Moscow After the Georgia Crisis”, Charles King says: “The true significance of the latest crisis in the Caucasus is that Russia has embarked on a new era of muscular intervention, showing little faith in multilateral institutions, such as the un Security Council or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in which it exerts considerable influence” (King 2008, p. 5).
Today, the U.N. has been turned into the bureaucratic quasi-state, which exists simply for the sake of its existence. In his article “Saving the U.N.: A Challenge to the Next Secretary-General”, James Helms makes a perfectly good point when he suggests: “As it currently operates, the United Nations does not deserve continued American support. Its bureaucracy is proliferating, its costs are spiralling, and its mission is constantly expanding beyond its mandate – and beyond its capabilities. Worse, with the steady growth in the size and scope of its activities, the United Nations is being transformed from an institution of sovereign nations into a quasi-sovereign entity in itself” (Helms 3). It is important to understand that U.N. represents the biggest bureaucratic apparatus that has ever existed on the face of the Earth. However, as history shows, bureaucracy is only concerned about remaining in position of authority, while being perfectly aware of essentially a parasitic mode of its existence. It has become a common practice for even the lowest-ranking U.N. officials to use U.N. paid private jets, while travelling internationally. These people spend millions of dollars to hold a variety of meaningless conferences and symposiums (“elimination of world’s hunger”), simply to socialize with each other, while eventually growing to believe in their own importance. They never experience any shortage of money – U.S. alone contributes $3.5 billion to U.N. on annual basis! During the course of numerous conferences on “elimination of world’s thirst”, held by U.N. in recent years, throughout the world, the participants (consisting of U.N. officials) used to quench their thirst with champagne that cost $1500-2000 a bottle, while staying in eight stars hotels. In his article “Saving the U.N.: A Challenge to the Next Secretary-General”, Jesse Helms exposes U.N. “humanitarian initiatives” as being counter-productive, in their essence: “U.N. bureaucracy mistakenly believes that caring for the needs of all the world’s people is exactly its job. From the bureaucracy’s vantage point, there are no international, national, or even local problems — all problems are U.N. problems. Thus we have the recent Habitat II conference in Istanbul, where the United Nations spent millions of dollars to address the concerns of cities – an issue that legitimately should be handled by local or national governments” (Helms 1996, p. 5).
In its turn, this brings us to conclusion that U.N. biggest problem (operational ineffectiveness) has deterministic subtleties, which mean that hardly anything be done to improve organization’s reputation, in the eyes of ordinary people. This is because the very ideological premise, upon which Organization’s existence is based, is conceptually wrong. This premise implies that world’s countries are equally interested in pursuing the policy of international cooperation as such that has value in itself. This, however, could not possibly be the case, simply because such policy can only benefit a particular country, for as long as it corresponds to this country’s national interests. Apparently – the effectiveness of international cooperation is proportionally related to the extent of countries’ sovereignty, that participate in such cooperation, and has very little to do with the existence of international political bodies (U.N.), as it is being commonly believed today. Two strong neighbouring countries are much more likely to respect treaties signed between them, then strong and weak countries, for example, even though that in latter case, the legitimacy of these treaties might be guaranteed by international organizations. The validity of this thesis can be best illustrated by the failure of League of Nations, which was founded in 1919, to prevent the outbreak of WW2 in 1939, and by U.N.’s failure to put an end to the conflict in Middle East.
The only purpose for founding U.N. in 1945 was to manage geopolitical developments in bipolar world (U.S. vs. USSR) in orderly manner and to prevent the outbreak of WW3. Yet, it was not the U.N. bureaucracy, which prevented Cold War from turning into WW3, but the fact that both super-powers were in possession of weapons of mass destruction. The various international agreements are not even worthy of the paper they are being written on, unless signatories have practical interest in sticking to the terms of these agreements. This provides us with the insight on the true cause for U.N. utter failure to bring peace to the region of Middle East – Jews and Palestinians are simply not interested in living peacefully side by side and there nothing can be done about it; yet, U.N. appears to be simply incapable of facing this objective reality. Moreover, the U.N.’s advertised concerns over “global inequality”, “global hunger” or “global thirst” have nothing to do with Organization’s actual agenda of setting up a stage for the emergence of World Government. This is the reason why organizations affiliated with U.N. are now being so preoccupied with promotion of the idea of “global governing”. In his article “Globalization Talk at Davos”, while referring to World Economic Forum, which had taken place in Davos on January 30, 2009, Thomas Eddlem talks about it as an attempt of world’s Plutocracy to legitimize its strive to take over the world: “What Merkel’s (German Chancellor) proposal would mean in concrete terms is global government (which Globalists call “global governance”) and the creation of this global government through various international institutions under the umbrella of an empowered United Nations” (Eddlem 2009). These ideas correspond rather well to those contained in the book “The Next Global Stage”, written by one of the most ardent supporters of the idea that U.N. operational mandates should be extended, Kenichi Ohmae: “The global economy ignores barriers, but if they are not removed, they cause distortion. The traditional centralized nation-state is another cause of friction. It is ill equipped to play a meaningful role on the global stage” (Ohmae 2005, p. 25). Thus, only very naïve people can believe that the issue of U.N.’s operational ineffectiveness can be addressed by reforming this organization – ever since the collapse of Soviet Union, the existence of U.N. had ceased to make even a formal sense, because it is now U.S., which remains a unilateral arbiter on international arena. In other words, the only people that benefit out of U.N. continuous existence are this organization’s officials, the number of which today amounts to 84.000. Therefore, the purely cosmetic methods of increasing organization’s efficiency (reducing its bureaucratic apparatus in size, designing humanitarian initiatives, popularising the notion of “environmental friendliness” among the citizens of U.N. countries-members etc.), can never be truly effective.
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It appears that in very near future, the U.N. will either be disbanded or transformed into the branch of World Government, which is why it does not make much of a sense to even discuss the possibility of U.N. beginning to live up to its name. In coming years, U.N. will remain what it used to be for the duration of last twenty years – the global bastion of world’s corruption and incompetence. This organization’s existence had long ago assumed inertial subtleties – many people simply cannot imagine modern world without the U.N., even despite the fact that, during the course of its operational history, this organization had proven itself as counter-productive factor of geopolitics. Nowadays, U.N. has turned into the biggest financial sham ever – the billions of dollars in “economic aid” to “developing countries”, from U.N., are being laundered through Africa’s banks and placed on private accounts of those U.N. bureaucrats who whine about “world’s injustices” the most. U.N. officials are being continuously caught accepting bribes and indulging in variety of illegal activities, while taking a full advance of their diplomatic status. The editorial “Den of Thieves: Corruption at the U.N.”, available in National Review Magazine from December 13, 2004, provides us with the insight on the actual scale of corruption, associated with this organization’s “humanitarian initiatives”: “U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan should either resign, if he is honourable, or be removed, if he is not. He has presided over no less than the largest corruption scandal in the history of the world, Oil for Food. Never has the U.N. been more disrespectable or useless” (National Review 2004). Thus, we can conclude this paper by suggesting that the best way to deal with U.N.’s inefficiency is disbandment of this organization altogether. In near future, it is not bureaucrats in high offices, but ordinary people out on the street, which will be put in position of defining the political realities in the world. These realities will correspond to the new era in world’s history: “communities” vs. “organizations” and “states”. There are many indications that point out to the fact that this new era has already began – the group Hamas, with the membership of 1000 men, has been keeping the whole region of Middle East (and consequentially, the whole world) in the state of permanent political tension, for the duration of last 10 years, despite the fact that it does not even exist officially. Osama bin Laden (single individual) has declared a war on U.S. in 2001, which continues even today, whereas – it has only taken four years for America to defeat both: Germany and Japan, during the course of WW2. Therefore, the international organizations deprived of communal spirit, will become the thing of the past in very near future. This statement concerns U.N. more then any other international organization. U.N. has been given many chances to prove its usefulness; yet, it had failed miserably at just about every of its undertakings. Therefore, it would only be logical to kick the hordes of U.N. bureaucrats out of their offices and to ask them to do something useful for a change, like helping farmers with their agricultural work.
- Den of Thieves: Corruption at the U.N. 2004. National Review. vol. 56, no. 23, p. 16.
- Eddlem, T. 2009. Globalization Talk at Davos. New America.
- Gareis, S. and Varwick, J. 2005. “The United Nations. An Introduction”. Palgrave, MacMillan.
- Helms, J. 1996. “Saving the U.N.: a Challenge to the Next Secretary-General”. Foreign Affairs. Vol.75, no. 5, pp. 2-7.
- Pryce-Jones, D. 2002. “Going with a Winner”. National Review, vol. 54, no. 19, pp. 20, 22-23.
- Philpott, D. 1995. “Sovereignty: an Introduction and Brief History”. Journal of International Affairs. Vol. 48, no. 5, pp. 353-68.
- King, C. 2008. “The Five-Day War: Managing Moscow after the Georgia Crisis”. Foreign Affairs. Vol. 87, no. 6, pp 2-5, 6-8, 9-11.
- Ohmae, K. 2005. “Next Global Stage: Challenges and Opportunities in Our Borderless World”. Upper Saddle River, Wharton School Publishing.