The UN? :huh:

albs

Junior Members
Is the United Nations a viable organisation?
Should countries adhere to UN resolutions when they are members of it, in particular those countries that are members of the Security Council?
Are UN resolutions actual international law or just agreements?
:huh:
 
D

dave arc-i

Guest
Is the UN only an updated version of the failed League of Nations. Discuss!
 

albs

Junior Members
dave arc-i said:
Is the UN only an updated version of the failed League of Nations. Discuss!

May well be. Following is a brief of the League of Nations

Brief Description of the League

The victorious Allied Powers of World War I established the League of Nations. The League's charter, known as the Covenant, was approved as part of the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The mission, as stated in the Covenant, was "to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security." U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919 for his leadership in creating the League. Despite Wilson's efforts, the U.S. Congress refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles.

The Treaty entered into force on January 10, 1920. The original signatories of the Covenant were Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, the British Empire, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India, China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hejaz, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serb-Croat-Sloven State, Siam, Czechoslovakia, and Uruguay.

The League was ineffective in stopping the military aggression that led to World War II. It ceased its work during the war and dissolved on April 18, 1946. The United Nations assumed its assets and carries on much of its work. The Library of the United Nations Office at Geneva provides a history of the League of Nations on its web site, at http://www.unog.ch/library/archives/lon/ovrvfset.html. ...ends.

This line appears to describe the UN too unfortunately:
"The League was ineffective in stopping the military aggression that led to World War II"

The UN seems to be ineffective in stopping wars too. Of the permanent members of the UN security council just two haven't gone to war with other countries that I know of - France and China. China has an appalling human rights record.
IMO the effectiveness of the UN seems to be minimal except where enough member countries agree to send in enough peacekeeping troops to stop any further aggression
 

grokit23

God mintsmak
albs said:
This line appears to describe the UN too unfortunately:
"The League was ineffective in stopping the military aggression that led to World War II"

The UN seems to be ineffective in stopping wars too. Of the permanent members of the UN security council just two haven't gone to war with other countries that I know of - France and China. China has an appalling human rights record.
IMO the effectiveness of the UN seems to be minimal except where enough member countries agree to send in enough peacekeeping troops to stop any further aggression

It may not be the best at stopping wars, but it is what we have and it is quite good at making people slow down and think about things for a bit. Think what it would be like if it wasn't there, America and Britain spent a long time trying to get other nations onside before they invaded Iraq, fair enough they did just ignore a whole pile of UN resolutions in the end (everybody does it seems) but I'd rather have them trying to seek approval for long periods than just steaming straight in without giving a monkeys towards the will of other countries.

It does give us the opportunity to discuss with the world rather than just with interested parties, this international meeting/debating centre side of it alone is reason enough to keep it in my view.

I do believe that countries should adhere to UN resolutions and pay there subscriptions too. I find it awful that some countries refuse to pay their way and then demand to be able to ignore resolutions whenever they want.
 
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dave arc-i

Guest
albs said:
dave arc-i said:
Is the UN only an updated version of the failed League of Nations. Discuss!


The UN seems to be ineffective in stopping wars too. Of the permanent members of the UN security council just two haven't gone to war with other countries that I know of - France and China. China has an appalling human rights record.
IMO the effectiveness of the UN seems to be minimal except where enough member countries agree to send in enough peacekeeping troops to stop any further aggression

France had gone to war due to colonial issues (late 40's-early 60's) in Vietnam until the US took over. I don't know what the standing is on the Algerian problem they had during the late 50's and early 60's. The Franch Foreign legion was deployed but was this just terrorist activities or a war?

China backed North Korea during the Korean War with plenty of logistical stuff. War by proxy? Then of course there was the annexing of Tibet not a war - didnt think it was allowed if you are a buhdist - more an armed invasion and military subjucation of the people.

Well then that's ALL the standing members accounted for! Any more examples from within the other nations?
This is the reason I made the comment about the league of nations. It failed albeit it in a shorter time frame than the UN but then it can only be hoped that humankind can learn from history (at least occassionally.)
I do find the notion of 'peace keeping troops' an oxymoron - troops are there to maintain balance by the fear that they are better than the forces they oppose.
 

JPsychodelicacy

Studio Elf
Of course, Albs is missing the one overarching resaon that the League Of Nations failed in its task, and that is that sactions were the only enforcement it had - the UN may have problems mustering enough troops, but the League had no manpower at all.

Interesting to note that Bush and the Neocons are trying to do to the UN what Hitler and the Nazis did to the League...

J.
 

albs

Junior Members
JPsychodelicacy said:
Of course, Albs is missing the one overarching resaon that the League Of Nations failed in its task, and that is that sactions were the only enforcement it had - the UN may have problems mustering enough troops, but the League had no manpower at all.

Interesting to note that Bush and the Neocons are trying to do to the UN what Hitler and the Nazis did to the League...

J.

I agree with you both.
But sanctions are effective if enough countries and their people work towards them. That is shown by the collapse of the South African Apartheid system under heavy sanctions.

The UK and the US have undermined their position in the UN by going it alone on invading Iraq. The US have a very bad idea and record on fair trade.

I think that if the countries of the UN unite in sanctions against the US they could really cause the American people to think about their governments foreign and trade policies. Sanctions could be started to force the US to comply by tthe Kyoto agreement. The US needs trade to survive. Sanction them to make them play fair.


In the case of the UK, as far as I know we were a fairly respected country until Blair took us to war. Now that we have undermined the UN I think that the respect we have from other countries has been diminished. The UK should start demanding more from the US in return for our support for the Iraq war.

I saw an article on the number of terrorists operating in the 20/21st century. During the 70/80s at least double the number of terrorist organisations were operating. The US didn't worry about those groups because they operated in France, Germany and Northern Ireland.
I hate the fact that Blair glued our country to the Bush campaign against Bin Laden. With the ceasefire in Northern Ireland I for one was feeling that the UK didn't have any real enemies. Now IMO Blair has created us a new enemy and probably worse than the old Irish ones. These new ones can't be negotiated with.

rant over
 
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dave arc-i

Guest
The americans with their conveniently short memories over the war on terrorism fail to remember the generous financial support the IRA recieved from the States!

Who said they can't be negoiated with? Oh yes - the government "We will not negotiate with terrorists."

Sanctions are NOT effective as Ian Smith quite happily proved in Rhodesia for years - South Africa - the very example you choose to use - supplied all the oil the country needed for example! Where are we now with that kettle of worms, yes, Robert Mugabe and a dictatorship.
Iraq, another example - sanctions were in place - we still had to use miliatary action to get 'our' way.
 

grokit23

God mintsmak
Sanctions can be effective when properly enforced, but it helps to have the big stick to threaten sanction breakers with (the League of Nations didn't have any sticks).

Sanctions when applied to several countries in the same region will be much easier and more likely to be broken between those countries as they try to maintain their economies. See dave arc-i's comments regarding Rhodesia/South Africa. This is to be expected and much harder to enforce.

Enforcement of sanctions has to be done at both ends of trade, ie: countries must police their own businesses that will try to trade with the sanctioned state as well as just stopping the obvious representations from the sanctioned state. The British have a long habit of publicly declaring support for sanctions and then immediately finding a hundred and one ways to break them for vast profits with government collusion, nothing new there, but things were meant to change under Blairs ethical government. Instead, we're now doing more in the way of unethical trade with sanctioned nations. :sad:
 

grokit23

God mintsmak
dave arc-i said:
The americans with their conveniently short memories over the war on terrorism fail to remember the generous financial support the IRA recieved from the States!

So true! The American relatives in our family are reminded of this every time one of them mentions that they're scared to fly or there's been another terror warning. :lol:
 

Meijin

Member
Couple of points Albs:

Yes, international law (hard law) is partially constituted by laws/resolutions passed by the UN. Other organisations, such as NATO, will also form theor own 'regimes' (which basically is the term for sets of formal rules and practices in agreements they come to).

Yes, the UN IS a viable organisation, but there are some problems too. Firstly, the UN does NOT have an army. Yes, it has 'peacekeeping' forces but they are 'merely' that, they are NOT an army and they only go to places when peace, or a truce, has been agreed (thus the mess in Yugoslavia - beyond their normal remit). If the UN had an army it would be able to do a lot 'more' things (get my drift) but states, as yet, are very reluctant to give over their troops to fight in a war that is not in their own interests - it would mean troops dying ina combat that may not be directly related to one's own state - and justify THAT to the parents/electorate. So, the UN only goes in during peacetime (i.e., Cyprus or Cambodia...).

(Should the UN fight wars? A big question and VERY debateable to my mind....)

As far as sanctions are concerned, it would be difficult to arrange sanctions against the US because the US is very powerful economically and militarily (its a unipolar world at present). The US has, in the past, refused to pay its due (as with refusing to pay its UNESCO contributions during the Reagan years) and this can seriously affect the ability of the UN to carry out humanitarian works. (I disagree that sanctions are ineffective tho' - in general - in the case of SA as Dave AI said above).

At present, the most we can hope for is that states continue to talk to states and some moral imperative ensures they abide by resolutions passed.
 

Meijin

Member
Yeah, I've got a moment so I want to just talk about the new suggestions for the UN:

OK, SOUNDS good doesn't it, the UN review body is suggesting that it might consider 'going in' on active service to stop genocide (lots of shame in the last decade because of Rwanda and Yugoslavia etc). However, I am really wary of this proposal for a change in the 'nature' of the UN. I think that this could, potentially, be very divisive. Obviously 'genocide' is an unspeakable crime, but I wonder whether it is possible for the UN to walk a neutral line in the sense of not 'taking sides' but being able to stop such crime. I think that it could end with the UN being seen as partial, and perhaps by 'sides' who would become alienated by the UN and 'ruin' the perception of it as a neutral and respected organisation - and end the opportunity for talks.

So what? you might say, but I think that IF the UN did take on the role of military interventionist, then there would be NO international body that fulfilled the function of peacekeeper/diplomatic talking shop because it would be perceived as having taken sides. No international peacekeeping or diplomatic body is really worrying. I think it is inevitable that this will happen if it takes on a military role.

I can see WHY this role has been suggested recently, because a panel has been appointed to examine the role of the UN, a result (in large) part due to the actions of the US and the 'new world order' and because of criticism of its alleged 'failures' in the last 10 years. We were rightly shocked when the UN compounds were bombed in Iraq (and also in Nairobi),but it was obviously viewed as a partial body by virtue that it is in Iraq, but I wonder whether this would become more common if the UN does take upon itself the right to bear arms and fight.
 

albs

Junior Members
It does seem to me that the UN is being actively discredited by the present US government. To me this indirectly sends an insult to all the member states from the US, by implying that the UN is ineffectual and also corrupt. (See recent US activities towards UN). The US also does not pay its UN membership dues in full.

As far as I know the only entity able to stand up to the US in its new sole superpower role is the UN. It is also the only entity that may be able to temper the US gungho attitude to foreign policy. I really hope that there are no more invasions of any country without UN approval.

The US publicised policy to Iran and North Korea is very frightening. We are reminded again by the Iraq war that the US are willing to overstep the mark when it comes to having their way. They are the only country to have dropped nuclear bombs on civilians (genocide almost) and have proved they will invade another country without world approval (UN).
 

Meijin

Member
'Out of the many - one' is sort of what you're arguing tho' Albs - us vsUS - but I believe that phrase is actually the motto of the US and look how long it took to get that state together - one revolution and one civil war...organising opposition within the UN perhaps not so difficult but the military strength is seriously lacking

Another big problem: nuclear powers and capitalism - the majority of the nuclear powers are capitalist and have a vested interest in maintaining relations with the US (in terms of economy) whilst the other nuclear powers russia and china (which are not in favour of the US themselves really) pose a 'threat' to western liberal capitalism - therefore, our enemies enemy is our friend, so to speak...

Yes, too right, US only state to use fullscale nuclear weapons which has never really been held as a warcrime, altho' it absolutely is
 

albs

Junior Members
Meijin said:
'Out of the many - one' is sort of what you're arguing tho' Albs - us vsUS - but I believe that phrase is actually the motto of the US and look how long it took to get that state together - one revolution and one civil war...organising opposition within the UN perhaps not so difficult but the military strength is seriously lacking

But surely the rest of the world could exist trading together profitably if the US was excluded from all trade agreements? Do we really rely on the US to be able to live our lives? I wonder if it would hurt the US if all the developing nations set up their own World Trade Organisation and started renegotiating. The US is undoubtedly very powerful, militarily and commercially, but if enough smaller countries organised themselves then the overbearing attitude of the US neo-conservatives could possibly be tempered.
 

grokit23

God mintsmak
albs said:
The US is undoubtedly very powerful, militarily and commercially, but if enough smaller countries organised themselves then the overbearing attitude of the US neo-conservatives could possibly be tempered.

Hence the US doing its best to discredit and obstruct the principle means for these smaller countries to talk and organise themselves. A weak UN is in the best interest of the USA.
 
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