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What do you think of the UN?
UN is great.
9%
 9%  [ 2 ]
UN should be disbanded.
47%
 47%  [ 10 ]
They should kick out the dictators.
42%
 42%  [ 9 ]
Are you talking about the Man from U.N.C.L.E.?
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 21

Author Message
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:38 pm    Post subject: The UN Reply with quote

Oil for Food, Annan putting down Israel while lending legitimacy to Hezbollah, China stopping any action in Darfur, to me it seems that the UN is going the way of the League of Nations.
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The UN is a meeting place. Sometimes this meeting place facilitates certain agreements on things. It is up to the parties involved to fufill their pledges. The UN is only as broken as the states that compose it. By that measure we might say the UN is a failure. But this is much more a condemnation of the power of obstructionist states like the US than it is of less powerful states.

A consistent policy for UN reform would probably make it more democratic and binding, and would have countries like the US much more involved in trying to implement social and economic agreements. But consistency may not be desirable in this case.

Also, Oil for Food is a relatively minor case of profiteering compared to the present occupation regime, and certainly economic fraud committed against many developing countries more generally. Most of the Oil for Food-related "kickbacks" came from the US, UK and other "willing" states. Therefore it would be, on balance, wrong to characterize the UN as being somehow obstructionist to the will of a benevolent America, when the reality is often different. This was historically true, for example, when the US supported Apartheid in Africa. A traditional grievance of Arab countries has been that the US has essentially vetoed or ignored all supposedly hostile resolutions that sought to resolve conflicts with Israel. This issues are complex, though, and I can't claim to have any special knowledge of them.

However, perhaps your comparison with the League of Nations was to suggest that with the advent of crass international aggression by Right-wing regimes, hopes for some liberal internationalism seem to be long since destroyed. I would say this stretches the point too far.
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The US obstructionist? As I recall, it is not the US blocking action in Darfur. It is not the US that vetoes any and all resolutions to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions.

There are villain states in the world, but the US is not one of them.

Do you seriously think Iraqis were happier under Saddam? That the Afghanis long for the return of the Taleban? Do you think the world will be safer when Iran has nukes? Do you think nuclear proliferation in the mideast would stop with Iran?

You appear to have a very warped view of reality.
McGuire





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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here here. Best thing to do is to get rid of the UN, start a new UN-like organization with only democracies in it. The democratic world has been united on Iran, Sudan, NK etc but has been blocked by the Chinese & the Russian Czar. Time for a change
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it is not the US blocking action in Darfur. It is not the US that vetoes any and all resolutions to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Well, the US does veto or refuses to sincerely cooperate on things like the framework on climate change, much of international law including war crimes, almost all social and economic development agreements, and many resolutions concerning human rights violations in allied or client states. It also ignores the opinion of the legality of its actions with regards to many of its military adventures or those of its allies and/or client states.

Darfur is a complicated problem because most high-level policy-makers, I assume, understand that it is not a wise policy to simply invade an area, assume all policing responsiblities, and then try and sort out massive humanitarian crises and ethnic conflicts. Instead, all countries involved first hoped that things would kind of sort themselves out, and then later they supported proxy forces like the African Union troops. These have been of mixed success, and have repeatedly had to demand increased global support and funding. It has little to do with the dreaded Chinese.

Likewise, sanctions is a largely political tool against Iran, and there is no evidence it would do anything but hurt the Iranian people and steel their support for their government. I think countries are right to be reluctant to impose sanctions on Iran after seeing how much of a success they were in the valiant fight against Iraqi children.
Quote:
Do you seriously think Iraqis were happier under Saddam? That the Afghanis long for the return of the Taleban? Do you think the world will be safer when Iran has nukes? Do you think nuclear proliferation in the mideast would stop with Iran?
These are nonsensical "when did you stop beating your wife?" questions. I believe that over time both Iraqis and Afghans would be happier without an occupying force in their countries, without local or national dictators, without incredible levels of unemployment, without religious and corporate institutions trying to oppress them in numerous ways, without all sorts of crime and reactionary laws. I would support things that move them in that direction, of which I do not think that the current occupations are facilitating but are rather bringing out the worst in all factions involved. I believe that we should be assisting people who want to take control of their own communities and productive life. This assistance should be done within a global context, however, and should be overwhelmingly social and economic instead of military. We should also remove reactionary policies like the war on drugs, radically reduce our prison populations, and otherwise "heal thyself." I mean, I think, what do I know.
Quote:
Here here. Best thing to do is to get rid of the UN, start a new UN-like organization with only democracies in it. The democratic world has been united on Iran, Sudan, NK etc but has been blocked by the Chinese & the Russian Czar. Time for a change
If Russia will not be accepted as a "democracy", which may well be fair, you will have given yourself a fairly high test. Besides, there is a sort of "efficient market theory" that might well apply to richer governments: They already have the resources and knowledge base, if they were going to do something voluntarily they already would have... But that's just random musings.
Hunter





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
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Location: Edmonton

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NATO is not trying to occupy Afghanistan, they are trying to give the Afghans the chance to live without the Taliban telling everyone how to live.

As a female, I strongly support the NATO mission, and all people should. To think that Afghans can survive without our help is low level thinking. I do not want to see women being beheaded or stoned because they have been raped. That is what the Taliban were doing, and would do again if NATO was not there.

The Afghans want NATO there, but before schools can be built, that allow females, the Taliban needs to be taken out. That's what Canada has the military for, to take out the bad guys. We are not fighting there to take the land away from Afghans, we are fighting to give them a taste of what freedom truely is!!!
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Afghans the chance to live without the Taliban telling everyone how to live.
In Afghanistan it is illegal to try and convert someone away from Islam. That is, legally, and in the Kabul-administered. Obviously the warlords and "Taliban" forces that control much of the country may be more reactionary than some parts of the Western-backed "Islamic Republic of Afghanistan." To the degree that the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is democratic, it seems to be willing to select some very reactionary laws, including perhaps the return of a Ministry related to vice and virtue like the Taliban had. Of course, they have nicer sounding laws and constitutional paragraphs that they post for international observers. But I have found that all countries tend to share the same basic liberal sections of their constitutions on paper.

Anyways, the intention of the mission was to destroy operating al-Qaeda networks that had allegedly fused with the Taliban state, making it impossible to organize counter-terrorist activities with that particular set of state authoritarians the way we might in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Of course, Pakistan has recently announced that it would actually let bin Laden and other al-Qaeda members be "free" (as in, a sort of truce) if they promise to live peaceful lives, along with Taliban members and equivalents in Waziristan. The invasion may have disrupted the more audacious of the terror groups but they seem to have built back up into a more coherent resistance force. The more realist angle of the invasion was supposed to create a base area to put pressure on Iran and Pakistan, and Central Asia more generally. This has obviously failed or at least had mixed results, as pressures in Waziristan and Baluchistan build.

It is also true that in the wake of September 11th, the USA felt it had to convert a largely criminal and non-state problem into one of armies and states. This was important both to give a sense of striking "back" at someone, but also it gave them options to resolve long-standing grievances with "rogue states." As Rumsfeld repeatedly insisted, it had to be a "boots on the ground" mission and not simply more bombings of pharmaceutical companies and training camps like Clinton did against Sudan and Afghanistan late in his Presidency. This is also why negotiations with the Taliban were never taken seriously (perhaps by either side) and almost immediately they started laying the groundwork for an invasion backed by local (paid-off) warlords, exile groups and rebel armies. Of course, this led to the natural problem of having a new Afghanistan that is split between... warlords, drug lords, rebel armies, a weak occupation-backed state, etc. This may indeed be an improvement, but it is hardly some wellspring of freedom compare to alternative uses for the same money (let alone military forces).
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UN must be disbanded ASAP
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hunter wrote:
NATO is not trying to occupy Afghanistan, they are trying to give the Afghans the chance to live without the Taliban telling everyone how to live.

As a female, I strongly support the NATO mission, and all people should. To think that Afghans can survive without our help is low level thinking. I do not want to see women being beheaded or stoned because they have been raped. That is what the Taliban were doing, and would do again if NATO was not there.

The Afghans want NATO there, but before schools can be built, that allow females, the Taliban needs to be taken out. That's what Canada has the military for, to take out the bad guys. We are not fighting there to take the land away from Afghans, we are fighting to give them a taste of what freedom truely is!!!


Without Canada and NATO, the Afghanis would survive, they are strong people and used to hardship. It would just be a sorry life that I would not wish on my worst enemy. Can you imagine, as a woman living in the West, being stoned because they caught you wearing nail polish, or heard your shoes making noise? Because the sun touched your exposed skin? Life under the Taleban, from what I have read and heard (which may not be true), honestly sounds like hell on earth.

The price for freedom is steep and terrible, but what is the alternative to paying it?
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Can you imagine, as a woman living in the West, being stoned because they caught you wearing nail polish, or heard your shoes making noise? Because the sun touched your exposed skin? Life under the Taleban, from what I have read and heard (which may not be true), honestly sounds like hell on earth.
Of course, to be clear, this is still the facts of life for a large section (if not majority) of Afghan women, and independent of the Taliban there are building institutional changes that could continue to make things worse. From Human Rights Watch:
Quote:
Women and girls continue to suffer the worst effects of Afghanistan's insecurity. Conditions are better than under the Taliban, but women and girls continue to face severe governmental and social discrimination, and are struggling to take part in the political life of their country.

Afghan women who organize politically or criticize local rulers face threats and violence. Soldiers and police routinely harass women and girls, even in Kabul city. Many women and girls continue to be afraid to leave their homes without the burqa. Because many women and girls continue to fear violence by factions, many continue to spend the majority of their time indoors and at home, especially in rural areas, making it difficult for them to attend school, go to work, or actively participate in the country’s reconstruction. The majority of school-age girls in Afghanistan are still not enrolled in school.
The country has not flipped some binary of "not-free" to "free." (Although, on that count, Freedom House continues to list Afghanistan as in the "Not Free" column. They note that, "To the extent that it functions, the justice system discriminates against women, and they are unable to get legal redress for crimes committed against them.")
biggie





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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time to create a useful world forum - one that has some sort of ability to get things done. Establish a set of rules/reactions for certain events. ie. genocide, nuclear expansion and the like. No more dithering..
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Time to create a useful world forum - one that has some sort of ability to get things done. Establish a set of rules/reactions for certain events. ie. genocide, nuclear expansion and the like. No more dithering..
What rules would you put in place and how would they differ from specific existing agreements against genocide and the like? How would the member nations be empowered or required to participate and why would they agree to this?
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the end, it would come down to the US or some other big military power. If they are willing to bomb, invade, or whatever any country breaking an agrement like the non-proliferation treaty, then the treaty will be obeyed. If no one is willing to enforce the treaty, then it will be broken.

People put down unilateral action and all, but in the end it is the only way serious undertaking get started. Ask the people getting slaughtered and driven out of the Darfur what they think of multilateralism.
REWJR





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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UN - Useless Nations ...
Craig
Site Admin




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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald Hughes wrote:
The UN is a meeting place.


1. It is a VERY expensive meeting place
2. It is a meeting place that does have a certain amount of authority. And that authority is not democratic. Tiny Islands like Vanuatu have the same voting power an India.
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