THE UNITED NATIONS -- REALITY VERSUS ACADEMIC ILLUSION:
THE IRRELEVANCE OF ACADEMIC THOUGHT
By Paul Walfield
Ms. Slaughter has determined that, in these dark first days of the 21st century, the United Nations is more important than ever. You see, Anne-Marie discounts the differ- ences displayed in the Security Council, or the fact that the nations of the world have self interests. Rather, she prefers to see the United Nations the way she envisions it to be.
The United Nations did have a noble beginning, at least before it was asked to function as a peace organization. Back in 1945, the world was in search of a forum, and a means of ensuring that the devastating wars of the past were never to be repeated. The United Nations was created with that righteous goal in mind. Unfortunately, the UN has never lived up to its stated ambition.
Anne-Marie seems to acknowledge that fact when she states, "The Security Council sat on the sidelines for so many years during the Cold War that the watching public forgot to take the U.N. Charter seriously."
Unfortunately, Anne seems to lose herself in her own wishful thinking and adds, "But the U.N. has been at the center of the unfolding drama over Iraq since Bush's speech there in September. Indeed, the Charter's vision of a global institution to deal with threats to international peace and security is closer to being realized than at any time since the U.N.'s founding in 1945." She has got to be kidding, right? No, she is serious.
It is as if the reality she used in her own subtitle was nothing more than an illusion and the underlying "reality" of the UN would come shining through, just you wait and see.
Anne begins to flirt with reality a number of times. She acknowledges the uselessness of the UN during the Cold War, except, of course, when the Soviet Union was absent from the Security Council. However, she wants to portray the UN as always having the po- tential of doing good.
It is just when human kind gets involved, when people behave as people and not as the idealized version needed by academia to fulfill their vision of a united planet, that the purpose and function of the United Nations can be seen as it really is.
Annie talks about the great things the UN has done in the past to bolster her contention of what the UN can do today and in the future. Being a scholar, she must have picked the best examples possible. She starts by saying correctly that the UN was only able to act against North Korean aggression because the Soviet Union was not at the Security Council one day in 1951. She then fast forwards to the 1960's and 1970's and determines that was when the UN was in its heyday, well, kind of, as long as the two superpowers had no vested interest in what the UN was concerned about.
The zenith of the United Nations actions in defense of world peace is, according to Annie, evidenced by UN deployment of troops to the Congo in 1960. She simply forgets that, by the time the UN deployed troops, Belgium's colonial policy had created an atmosphere in the Congo that would lead to disaster, and the UN only stepped in when Belgium walked away from the ticking time bomb Belgium had created, and, then, the UN intervened only in a very limited capacity.
After Belgium left the Congo, the former colony split into four separate regions and, although the U.S.A. and the UN agreed on some items, it was only through the threaten- ed use of American unilateral force in the Congo that the UN was motivated to act in any decisive manner. For instance, one of the Congolese factions, the Katangan military, headed by a fellow named, Moise Tshombe, nearly wiped out the UN presence in the Congo. You see, he had a military aircraft. One military aircraft.
He successfully used the warplane, piloted by a Belgian mercenary named Joseph Deu- lin, to route the UN forces and pretty much show them he was in control. When the U.S.A. demanded that the UN troops have jet fighters to fly cover, the UN refused. The U.S.A. then threatened to bring in their own jet fighters, and it was only then that the UN relented and brought in some jets from Sweden. It was not the UN that was acting, it was the U.S.A.
In fact, then UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold refused to authorize reinforce- ments for the beleaguered UN troops and, while trying to prove that he could negotiate a ceasefire, the Secretary, along with his entourage, were killed when his plane went down in the Congo.
All in all, because of United Nations indecisiveness over the Congo, countless men, wom- en, and children died there.
Annie further contends that the UN boycott of South Africa was also a high point for the peace organization, but doesn't mention the fact that it was only because of America's belated participation that the boycott had any effect. She mentions the sanctioning of Rhodesia and the policing of the demilitarized zone in Cyprus, but forgets to mention how things have turned out in those places.
Annie continues to point to what she believes are the times the UN "came into its own." In 1991, the UN was able to come together and allow the U.S.A. to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. Of course, Annie leaves out the fact that it was the UN coalition that also made it impossible for the U.S.A. to get rid of Saddam at the time, and avoid the grief we are experiencing today because he was allowed to remain in power in Iraq.
Annie also forgets the millions of women, children, infants, and men who died in Rwanda because the United Nations refused to act.
She forgets the tens of thousands who died in the Balkans because the UN failed to act. She forgets that the U.S.A. did not allow the UN's impotence to stop it from going in mil- itarily and ending the carnage there. She forgets that, because of decisive U.S. action, peace was brought to the area and Milosevic is now on trial for war crimes--all no thanks to the United Nations.
While Annie explains that the UN was to have had its own military force, she skims over the reality that no self-respecting nation wants their troops under the command of a for- eign power and that, as such; national sovereignty is a fact of life, in spite of wishful thinking to the contrary.
Annie wants all to understand that "some truths transcend politics." She claims that a belief that war only should be allowed in the event all the world agreed that a common interest existed for its authorization was possible prior to the Cold War. She dates the pre-Cold War era as ending in 1951, forgetting the Cold War predated the Korean War, actually beginning in 1945
Then, again in a series of amnesia attacks, she asserts that Syria, Angola, Russia, Ger- many, and France all have a common interest in seeing Iraq disarmed. She forgets that France and Russia threatened to veto any proposed military action to disarm Iraq and that Germany, Syria, and Angola were both on record vehemently opposing the use of military force in Iraq for the purpose of disarmament.
Again defying reality and sticking with wishful thinking, Annie only sees what she wants to see. France, Germany, et al claimed to have a common interest in disarming Iraq, true. But, when it came to actually taking decisive action to, in fact, disarm the terrorist nation, they not only had no "common" interest with the U.S. position, they threw up roadblocks.
The UN was and is a dysfunctional world body. Yet, Annie, the Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, says it works.
She wants to believe that the UN is an organization similar to a court of law. She views the members as judges who weigh evidence and arrive at decisions with the same blind justice found in the U.S.A., metimg out justice under the law, bound by and living up to their obligation to act in accordance with the evidence.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The UN is made up of nearly 200 independent sovereign nations. Each with their own interests, each acting only in their own interests.
When France and Germany decide they need more evidence to view Iraq as an imminent danger to the world, or to the United States, it isn't because there isn't enough evidence, or that they don't believe America. It is because the particular interests of each of those nations tells its government to perceive events not as a member of a collective, not in solidarity with any other nation-states, but as a separate national entity with interests very different from those of other nation-states.
Annie continues to mystify by deciding that, whatever way the UN acts, it means it is more relevant than ever. According to Annie, if the UN vetoes or fails to authorize U.S. action against Iraq and the U.S. proceeds anyway, the UN can take credit in any case, if the U.S.A. is successful. And, after a war, the U.S.A. will need the UN to help in the cleanup. That makes the UN more relevant than ever, for Annie.
In other words, in Annie's world, if your action or inaction has no effect on a particular outcome, that proves relevance because, well, you can always say you were really on board all along, if things worked out well. How intellectual, how academic, how absurd can you get?
She also commends the UN for forcing America to act slowly in the case of Iraq. In the mind of Annie, slowing the pace on ridding the world of a tyrannical regime in possession of weapons of mass destruction is a good thing. That is exactly what the UN has done since last September, forcing us to move more slowly than we would like, to make our case more publicly, to give inspections a chance to succeed.
It never occurs to Annie that, when opposition to an action is ultimately ignored, it is, by definition, irrelevant. It would never occur to Annie that, when agreement is finally reached on group action which would not have been forthcoming, except for the threat of unilateral action by one, the group by itself, by definition, is impotent.
Annie may have a great deal of knowledge which she gleaned from texts and lectures throughout her academic career, but her apparent inability to fuse that book knowledge with the reality of the world makes her conclusions and academic thoughts irrelevant.
Paul Walfield is a freelance writer and member of the State Bar of California, with an undergraduate degree in Psychology
and post-graduate study in behavioral and analyt- ical psychology. He resided for a number of years in the small town of
Houlton, Maine, and is now a California attorney. His articles appear in numerous periodicals and on numerous websites. He
has been the featured guest on KTSA News Talk Radio. CONTACT INFORMATION: Email:
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor