One reason to be skeptical of the U.N.

As a forum for diplomatic tag-team matches, I think the United Nations is great. There needs to be a place where representatives of nations can talk multi-laterally and try to solve diplomatic problems. But as soon as it arrogates to itself the powers of government (legislation, adjudication, administration), I respond as did Professor Wagstaff: "Whatever it is, I'm against it!".

One reason I think the U.N. is fatally flawed as a body for anything but diplomacy, and possibly for humanitarian work, is expressed by Australian PM John Howard, responding to Kofi Annan's assertion that the invasion of Iraq was illegal:

The problem with the United Nations - it is a wonderful body in many respects and it does great humanitarian work - is that it can only proceed at the pace of the collective willingness of the permanent members... You are seeing it now, tragically in Sudan. The body is paralysed. It is not doing much and the reason is you can't get agreement among the major powers. And people are dying, thousands of people are dying every month in Sudan.

How do you get around this kind of problem? If this was the way politics worked in any Western democratic republic, the voters wouldn't stand for it. There is no such check on members of the U.N.

Via Chrenkoff.


Hate to say simply, "me too", but me, too!I sometimes wonder if the UN shouldn't be downgraded to a coordinating body for scientific, medical and cultural endevours -- where it often does a lot of good and stop pretending it can be useful for collective security or the ending of genocide.What the collective security portion should be replaced with, I'm not sure. Although I can never see the US agreeing to such a thing, I think the following concepts should be central to any new collective security alliance:+The body should only be made up of democratic nations (once we decide what democracy means)+The body should only be made of nations that respect basic, minimal, human rights.+No nation should be permitted a veto over alliance actions, though any nation would have the right not to contribute to an action.+The alliance would be able to apply sanctions for a limited period, with one renewal. At the end of that time, it would either need to declare war or end the sanctions regime as a failure.In times of severe crisis, arrangements of limited duration could be made with non-member states, but such cooperation would not give these states a seat at the table.While I don't believe in the right of any one nation-state to run the world, it is also clear that the United Nations is not much more effective than its predescesor, the League of Nations at providing security and protecting the weak.

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