Saturday, August 27, 2005

US Shakes Up UN Reform

In a much overdue move, the US has sent 750 revisions to the UN reform referendum, sending delegates into a tailspin. (LA Times: U.S. Demands Spur Crisis Talks at U.N.). Some of the changes include the elimination of language supporting the Kyoto treaty and the International Criminal Court, both treaties we oppose and neither of which could possibly be acceptable in their present form.

The question is whether or not the UN reforms go far enough. The organization as it stands now is virtually useless, being nothing more than a siphon for US tax dollars and military spending. Despite the US paying more in UN dues than any other nation, and despite the US comprising the overwhelming majority of troops wearing the UN label, support for the US and our policies is limited to a handful of nations.

The original reform called for all nuclear bearing nations to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. This reform was stricken in the US proposal in favor of increased language targeting international terrorism. As evidenced by joint military maneuvers between Russian and China for the past two weeks, reduction of our nuclear arsenal is neither acceptable nor prudent. Inclusion of that clause in the reform document would be sure to force a US veto.

At the heart of the current UN reform charter is an ongoing struggle between the developed nations in the west and third world nations seeking to reshape the UN into their own image. China, which essentially straddles both worlds and has much to gain in a third-world centric UN, outwardly opposes the US reforms. Russia also opposes the US reforms but has their own set of initiatives that are described as being the size of a phone book.

The bottom line is the UN doesn't work. It's nothing more than a debating society, but without tapping into the US military might the organization has no ability to enforce its own resolutions. Without US funding, the organization itself could not exist. UN failures over the years are staggering, as is that organizations ability to permanently prolong a crisis.

The UN does in fact need reform. It needs far less reliance on US funding - and we need to waste far less money supporting a useless organization. It needs far less reliance on the US military. It needs a UN Security Council comprised of nations that are actually capable of setting a commitment and then enforcing that commitment rather than engaging in endless debate and revised resolution after resolution. A rotating security council of nations that have no ability or desire to enforce any decisions serves no purpose whatsoever.

Yes, we should be looking to reform the UN and the amendments submitted by the US are a good start. But at the heart of it, we should also be asking if there's any value to maintaining any commitment to an organization that takes our money, takes our troops, and offers no support in return. The reforms we submitted may be a good start, but without fundamental changes to the UN charter, the organization will remain nothing more than a useless parasite living off US tax dollars.

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