The UN Undermines Its Own Authority


Ambivalence in the United Nation has reached epidemic proportions. The UN secretary general contradicts what the organization stands for and in so doing has reduced the organization to a toothless tiger.

During his recent visit to India, Kofi Annan called for a bilateral resolution of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, tacitly overriding the 1947 UN declaration of Kashmir referendum.

The sense of betrayal among Kashmiris is easily fathomable. What they have been striving for over the last 50 years has been quickly and easily dismissed by Annan himself. He urged India and Pakistan to reach a negotiated settlement, as if the UN has never resolved to mediate and mandate. Any one aware of the history of conflict between the two countries know that a large number of past negotiations have failed, good intentioned or otherwise.

Yet the Big Bullies deftly use the UN resolutions to bomb Iraq and sanction countries they hate about. Thus the UN has relegated to a paper symbol of the weak and convenience tool for the Big Bullies.

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If the UN chooses negotiations over already existing resolutions, then it can do nothing when countries like Israel and India refuse to negotiate.

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For one thing the Secretary General has exposed himself as a man who lacks integrity, professionalism and respect for the organization he heads. Even though his primarily role is to work relentlessly to implement the world community resolutions, he does not advocate all of them. Instead, he allows the world's bullies to deftly use UN resolutions to bomb Iraq and sanction other enemies.

This could be a symptomatic of a more systemic licentious error to come. If the Secretary General makes overturning the UN mandate palatable in the Kashmir affair, the next in line is Palestine. What Israel considers its right to annex East Jerusalem through occupation during the 1967 war, in violation of UN charter, can be relegated to an endless matter of mutual negotiations after the example of Kashmir. The UN will argue if India and Pakistan can negotiate, why not Palestine and Israel for the occupied lands?

If the UN chooses negotiations over already existing resolutions, then it can do nothing when countries like Israel and India refuse to negotiate.

Furthermore, the organization has become wrought with inaction. Despite the holocaust wrought upon the Bosnian Muslims by the Serbian bloodhounds, the UN did nothing for two and half years and the endless resolutions at the General Assembly imploring the UN to act decisively, for two and half years they only resorted to the use of rhetoric. While millions of Bosnians rendered homeless, 300,000 buried in mass-graves and 200,000 women raped, the UN was debating the merit of "containment" and equating the murderer with the murdered. The aftermath was even more disastrous - a portion of former Yugoslavia was carved out creating Bosnia. The new map of Bosnia was drawn completely hemmed in by Serbia and Croatia with no direct access to the sea. Croatia was allowed to be a pure Croatian state, Serbia a pure Serbian state, yet Bosnia was gloated down as Muslim-Serb-Croat coalition. Perhaps NATO and the UN wanted to make sure that there was no place for a Muslim state in the heartland of Christian Europe.

And the century old Chechnyan sovereignty-struggle has been left in the cold to appease the Russian bully. Despite the unprecedented barbarism unleashed by the Russian armies against the defenseless people of Chechnya, the UN only mused and mulled over resolutions, lest they upset the Russians or get vetoed. The Chechens have no historical, political, religious or cultural proximity with the Russians and their claim on Chechnya is untenable.

Nevertheless the West has no economic interest, vis--vis their political dtente over Chechnya and so does their shadow power base in the UN. Since the end of the cold war the West is nimbly taming the Russian Bear while ensuring the UN does not get in their tactical way. The talk of democracy, justice and freedom are mere convenience tools here. Perhaps the accumulated failures of the UN may gravitate the Muslims toward their dream of a united Muslim organization.

The practice of veto power for the Big Five in the UN is a supreme example of being undemocratic. Any one of them can overturn what the rest of the world considers just and right. Or if one of them sides with any renegade nation the world opinion is puffed out. The unrelenting intransigence of Israel colluded by the US in the Palestine issue is a case in the point. The Big Five will argue that they have restraint, judgment and democracy as control valves unlike others. Yet their conceited self-glorification of a high moral ground over others is laughable. The United States is the only country in the world with a history of dropping nuclear bombs on a human society, despite the media-favorite phantoms like Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Central Asian countries and so on.

The preferred flavor of the Secretary-General is nonetheless surgically selected. In keeping with media glamour and political correctness, citizens of the third world are handpicked from time to time. Boutros Ghali and Kofi Annan are cases in point, but made sure that they do not represent the value system of the third world majority.

Until the UN frees itself from trepidation, coercion and lip service it will remain unfaithful to its commitment.

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Ferdous Islam is a computer professional currently working in the Middle East.




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