By M J Aslam
Considering the historical background of creation of two tallest international organizations (INGO’s) of the world- the League of Nations(LN) and the United Nations (UN), it may be safely inferred that World War(s) provided the necessary impetus for the founding of each of these intergovernmental organizations. The Paris Peace Conference that put an end to WW 1st between Allied Powers and the Axis/Central Powers supplied the basis for the formation of the League of Nations (LN) on 20th January, 1920. The main objective of the LN was to achieve and maintain harmony and peace, and settle disputes, among member-nations. But, as it failed to achieve its objectives by stopping WW 2nd, it was felt and admitted that it had become ineffective and redundant, thereby losing credibility and trust among member countries.
Against this backdrop of events, the UN was founded on 24th October, 1945 in New York. Its initial membership was 32 member nations but this has, since decolonization increased to 193, at present. The UN replaced LN with a new vision of global peace and prosperity. The organization was formed to stop and settle all those conflicts among member nations that have a potential of threatening world peace by giving rise to WW 3rd. The main objectives of the UN, among others, are promotion of human rights and maintenance of international peace and security. These lofty ideals are entrenched and articulated in the UN Charter of 1945 which has been signed by almost all nations of the world.
The nagging question that arises now is: Has the UN failed to realize its objectives of world peace and resolution of regional disputes between nations amicably? Can we say that a WW 3 is imminent or necessary to be fought for re-constructing and re-naming it? Why is this august body of nations today looking so ineffective and useless? Let us find answer from undergoing discussion.
It is a fact that the UN was constructed with a lot of hope and expectation after it was agreed that it would outlaw any unilateral use of force by any member State against another and that armed force would be used in the “common interest” of the world peace and order. The veto power was given to five nations with the same objective of maintaining peace and order in the world by helping member states to settle their disputes peacefully without escalating into major crises that could lead to international wars. The formation of the UN had offered the promise of bringing into existence such “a world order in which short term goals of self-interests of States and their leaders would be always subservient to the long term goals of common interests of peace and co-operation among the member nations by following rules and procedures of the UN Charter”.
Though the UN prevented any major international war, thus far, the promise it had made to the comity of nations has not been fulfilled. The main reason for failure of the UN to achieve its goals of world peace and order is the United States which, as sole superpower, has not been feeling bothered about following the international law and the UN Charter before launching armed assault against any nation. In fact, the US has a long history of unjustified interventions in the affairs of and aggression against, other nations, well before, during and after Cold War. Several studies conducted by independent American organizations of Ron Paul Forums, Global Research, and so on reached the conclusion that the US has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of civilians between 20-30 million in wars and conflicts scattered over the world in 37 victim nations of American aggression and interference (staggeringly disturbing figures, indeed!!). More poignantly, and un-hypocritical and an honest assertion is that the overwhelming number of victims among the millions dead are unarguably the Muslims of Iraq, Afghanistan and erstwhile ISIS held areas that were bombed by US since 9/11.
Apart from USA, the former USSR also did a great harm to the UN. In December 1979, it launched a unilateral armed assault against Afghanistan which was valiantly resisted and fought by the Afghan people. When Soviets ended their occupation of the country in 1989 (February), around 2 million Afghan civilians were left dead and millions were displaced. It is pertinent to note that the pangs of foreign occupation are still alive and experienced by the Afghans on their soil. Sadly.
The dissolution of the USSR on 26th December, 1991 meant that the US would not have any global competitor in geopolitics and therefore there were no constraints on it in making unilateral aggression on sovereign lands. The bipolar world of the Cold War got transformed in the process. The US, by the size of its economy, tremendous progress in science and technology, production of most unmatched war weaponry and presence of its troops in every continent, dominated geopolitics in the attendant unipolar world order.
The dissolution of the USSR emboldened and energized the US in its aggressive foreign policy of interference into the affairs of the others. Although the remnant of the former USSR, Russia, is trying to re-establish its international hegemony by supporting Assad regime of Syria, the fact is that the US is the only global power dominating geopolitics.
After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2nd August, 1990, the UN passed Resolution 678 on 29th November, 1990 giving ultimatum to Iraq to withdraw its forces from Kuwait. This Resolution provided justification to the US, supported by other nations for the Gulf War that led to the defeat of Saddam Hussain. This Resolution was, however, replaced and rescinded by Resolution 687 adopted on 3rd April 1991 by UN and accepted by Iraq. Although Resolution 678 was replaced by Resolution 687, concluding paragraph 43 of the former, “decides…to take such further steps as may be required for the implementation of the present resolution and to secure peace and security in the area” has been used by the US as giving it a “right of self-defence” : a mere pretext to bomb Iraq in 1996, 1998 and then the brazen invasion of that country in 2003 also took place under the so called “right of self-defence”.
The illegal implementation of the rescinded-Resolution 678 was not confined to the Gulf area only. The US has used this self-invented right of self-defence against Sudan & Afghanistan also. It may be noted that under the UN Charter armed attack against any sovereign nation requires “prior permission” of the UN and any such act of self-defence has to be “necessary “ and “appropriate”. But, being a veto power, it is undeniably clear that, any resolution against its unilateral use of military force against any nation would be vetoed by it in SC. This unilaterally vested-power of veto has been applied by the US on implementation of all UN Resolutions that provide for the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Issue with Jerusalem as the capital of State of Palestine. The US is exclusively responsible for Israeli occupation, settlement of Jews in occupied territory by Zionist State and procrastination of the creation of Palestinian State. It has made UN SC hapless and helpless in finding a solution to this vexed problem that is consuming the precious lives of Palestinian children, men and women in the occupied lands daily at the hands of Zionist Forces who are backed by the US. The American decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has been rejected by the UN GA and UN SC in absolute majority vote on 21st December, 2017. Only nine “countries” that are actually the patches of islands in the Pacific Ocean supported US on 21st December, 2017 in the UNGA special session voting on US-decision-declaring Jerusalem capital of Israel. They are mere colonies of the US dependant on its remittances.
All this proves not only how the US has broken international law, time and again, but also that the UN is helpless in defending its Charter.
In the American Invasion of Iraq, it was admitted that Saddam Hussein didn’t possess any “weapons of mass destructions” and that the war was fought over a brazen lie that killed millions of Iraqi-Muslims. It is documented that George W. Bush spoke lies after lies in his public speeches to invent the “justification” for Iraqi invasion by making his people believe in his lies and that the actual war theory was “weapons of mass deception” invented & employed by duo Bush-Blair to destroy Iraq. (Weapons of mass deception: “The uses of propaganda in Bush’s war on Iraq”, (2003) by Sheldon Rampton & John Stauber). George W Bush and seven top US officials, without hesitation or remorse, lied after lying, made 935 “false statements about the security risk posed by Iraq in the two years following September 11, 2001 that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003”.
“Even when it was proven beyond a doubt that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destructions never existed, the fact that the war had been fought for a lie no longer seemed consequential. What difference does it make, answered George W. Bush…. when it was pointed out to him that no weapons of mass destructions had been found”. (TD Allman in his book “Rogue State”, New York (2004) page 328). Really, what difference it has had made to the Americans and the British people because they and their nations are safe. But see what has been done to Middle East by these “super powers” while spreading lies. These unilateral aggressions and the repeated infringements of UN Charter by the US “has destroyed belief in America’s goodness, among hundreds of millions of people, nations and people, [who] see it the greatest threat to civilized human values and decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressor or desire their own enslavement”. (Ibid, pages 1-5).
A vehement critic of American foreign policy, William Blum, an American historian and journalist, calls the American State a “rogue State” for its brazen acts of intervention and aggression by the unilateral use of military power against other nations which, in his opinion, have destroyed dozens of established democratic and non democratic systems of the world. (Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (3rd edition, 2005) by William Blum). Noam Chomsky has called it “by far the best book on the topic”.
The multipolar world order in which actions and decisions are taken not by a single big power alone but other nations’ say is also considered and involved under multilateralism for armed action against erring nation or for settlement of conflicts though reflected in UN Charter and Resolutions are no more in sight. The rhetoric that the UN will solve issues on its agenda is played with euphoria. National interest has dominated geopolitics while innocent civilians in conflict areas are losing their respective rights of living, liberty and so on. In the ultimate analysis, the UN seems to have become a rubber stamp for approving unilateral military actions of the five veto powers especially the US, wherever and whenever their alleged “national interest” demands it. This powerful institution of UN has been rendered powerless by repeated violation of its Charter and the Resolutions by these big powers led by the US.
—The author can be reached at: [email protected] The views expressed are personal and not of the organisation that the author works for.