The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Security Council woes... again.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/10/politics/10iran.html?pagewanted=print

The above article is just the latest in a series of events showing how badly the United Nations needs reforms to address the serious issues that threaten global security today. For years, not days or weeks or months, the U.S. has sought to bring suspicious Iranian nuclear activities to the world body's highest council, thus far unsuccessfully.

The irony of the article above, however, is that it shows that the U.S. is wrangling with Russia, China, and India not over the issue itself, but rather over whether the Security Council should consider the matter at all. With "France, Britain, Germany, and the leadership of the European Union all favor referring the issue to the Security Council" -- and repeatedly expressed concerns from IAEA officials themselves -- it is clear that Iranian nuclear proliferation is one of the greatest threats to worldwide stability today. Even "President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he agreed that Iran needed to be kept from making nuclear arms but added that it was premature to take up the matter at the United Nations." Perhaps Putin would prefer taking that step after the Iranians test their first bomb.

Of course, this doesn't stop with Iran. The reason that the Security Council has not done anything particularly significant in regards to the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, stems from the same problem -- in that case, China's refusal to consider the matter there. China's dependence on certain resources mined in the region, it seems, is enough reason for the world's highest body to ignore one of the worst human rights situations on the planet.

Then again, the Security Council would never take up the issue of China's political prisons, which hold an estimated 4-6 million political prisoners in forced labor conditions, either.

And you wonder why diplomats typically become drinkers?

2 Comments:

  • At 3:56 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    Welcome Dennis ;-) Nice to see your computer is working. Now we liberals won't be living in an echo chamber any longer.

    I've been wondering for awhile, as a general supporter of the UN, what can be done to overcome the Security Council impasses that block the UN from ever fulfilling its promise. The Security Council, in my mind, is a dinosaur, and needs to be reformed, both membership and veto-wise. I think serious consideration needs to be extended to Japan, Brazil, and Germany, among others, and also, I think we need to look at possibly abolishing the one-state veto, and expanding it, on issues of security and defense, to a two-state veto or at the bare minimum a 2/3 majority.

    Also, though, to re-hash words from the Bolton debate, I think the UN's effectiveness in large part depends on what the states' make of it. I think the Bush administration right now does not support it, either implicitly or explicitly, and I think that attitude has a strong influence, when shared by other states, in weakening the capabilities of the UN. At this point, UN action is generally US action--we blame the UN when it doesnt act, but we've set a tone where everyone expects us to lead, and if we stall, everyone loses direction. This could in part change if we were to cede one-vote vetoes, or step back from trying to micro-manage the UN. Right now though, I just see us eating at the UN from its core.

     
  • At 6:42 PM, Blogger Dennis said…

    When it comes to the Security Council, I'm not sure just adding more members really solves anything personally. I mean, I'm all for Japan or India having a seat there (lord knows they're more important than, say, France these days), but it just seems like that would lead to more gridlock in the end.

    And, honestly, I don't think that the Bush administration has been showing any less support to the UN than previous administrations. Remember, Clinton's war on Serbia was not UN-mandated, nor were other actions he took such as the cruise missile attacks on Afghanistan in the late 1990s. The real problem, as I see it, is that the administration realizes that, as much political capital as they spend at the UN, there are many countries with vested financial and political interests in not questioning the serious problems and questions that need to be addressed.

    When Sudan gets voted onto the UN Human Rights Commission and the U.S. voted off, you know something isn't exactly kosher.

     

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