And you know what? It’s going to achieve fuck-all. There’s no point in even bothering to write about it, despite the fact that this blog generally tries to focus on international relations. There’s no point even though I love the concept of the UN, and genuinely believe it can be a force for good in the world. These days there’s never any point in writing about the UN – which is why the section of the archives about that organisation is so sparsely populated – after a couple of posts I realised that no idealistic proposals to make it better would ever have any chance of taking effect, so the whole thing became incredibly depressing.
Because, at the moment, the UN is about as influential and important as its League of Nations predecessor was. It’s been about as good at stopping genocide and slaughter as the League was at stopping Mussolini invade Abyssinia or Japan rape Nanking. Its Security Council is manned by two countries which the UN Secretary General has declared to have acted illegally, and two more countries with a less than adequate devotion to democracy and human rights. Yet without the US, Russia and China (and let’s have no illusions about Britain’s relative importance) the entire organisation will be even less effective than it is now, so booting them out or slapping them on the wrist (so making them withdraw in protest) isn’t even slightly an option.
So instead we have watered down attempts at institutional reform, and ineffective compromises over poverty reduction. And the only real way to explain it is by blaming the United States – which, due to the nature of this here interweb, if I do means I’ll instantly get inundated by irate Republicans accusing me of anti-Americanism and “decent left” morons saying I’m only saying that because of my views on Iraq (even though I still don’t really HAVE any views on Iraq).
So don’t bother paying any attention to what’s going on in New York: the entire exercise is a pointless waste of time and – especially – money, all of which would be better spent elsewhere. A global force to fight poverty and injustice is – at the moment at least – only going to piss about and fail to agree on anything.
That’s why Superman is such a great idea – he’s basically a benevolent dictator, able to act on his unswerving belief in what is right – truth, justice and the (idealised) American way, without ending up debating in committee for weeks and months while people die all around him. Because democracy, for all its benefits, is crap at acting quickly – which is precisely what the UN needs to do whenever a crisis appears, and precisely what it always fails to do.
Whatever the solution, until we have actual superheroes (no doubt genetically-engineered mutants or something, so more like the X-Men than the Justice League or Teen Titans), whenever something needs to be done we’re screwed – because nothing can be done via the UN these days. And you have no idea how much that pains this idealistic internationalist to type. But look at Sudan, Rwanda, Kosovo, Iraq, those mentalist central Asian dictatorships – look at all the times and places where fucked-up madness has been going on and the international community has failed to act. Despite the best efforts of Kofi Annan, he’s no Superman.
If the UN can’t mobilse the nations of the world to do some fucking good, it’s a failure – even if it is down to the stubborness and self-interest of those nations that it fails. Because if, after sixty years, the UN hasn’t managed to build at least some kind of sense of global responsibility and unity (the clue’s in the name), there’s very little hope.
Or we could do what we do at the moment and simply pray that America will somehow get around to sorting everything out, even though there’s tit all real evidence that she has the capability, let alone the will to act as the world’s superhero. The idea of humanitarian intervention – revived post facto to justify invading Iraq (“because, like, getting rid of Saddam was really good and stuff”) – is actually, I believe, a good one. (But then, as my belief in the EU should demonstrate, I don’t buy into all this sovereign nation bullshit.)
But any such humanitarian intervention needs to be conducted with restraint and – most importantly – consistency. Remove Saddam? Fine – get rid of Saparmurat Niyazov, Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong Il, Islam Karimov and all the rest of the world’s psychotic dictators as well. Act to free people from the oppression of dictatorship? Fine – act to free them from the oppression of poverty and disease as well.
Under the current UN arrangements that’s never going to happen on a large enough scale – the limited group that is the Security Council couldn’t even agree on removing Saddam, a well-known mass-murdering nutter. But the US is likewise never going to bother removing dictators when it can see no direct benefit to its own national interest. People are selfish – nations doubly so. And fair enough – why the hell should they have to sort out everyone else’s problems just becuase they’ve got the money and the guns?
So what’s the fucking point of even cunting trying, eh?
Yours, a disillusioned and depressed internationalist, currently fucked off with the state of the world.