Concerns that the United Nations is heading fast towards the fate of the League of Nations grow by the day. The latter failed largely due to the inability to enforce punitive measures. Leave alone the fact that most countries had not committed to the agency’s membership at the time. The recent civilian casualties in Mt. Gaza and death of hundreds of thousands in Syria are violations of the Geneva Conventions.
A toothless body?
Definitely. The war crimes have exposed the UN as toothless in dealing with the real war conflicts. Some critics regard the agency as worthless and a waste of resources.
The world is alarmed by the imminent loss of importance of the norms and laws that have been existed for centuries to defend civilians during the war – laws sanctified in the Geneva Conventions after the Second World War.
President Obama’s concession on the failure of the U.S. to live up to the Geneva Conventions in the handling of prisoners stirred a can of worms. The world’s stance on the Geneva Conventions in the wake of conflicts in African and the Middle East is unclear. The only line in black and white is the UN inability to exert its mandate in dealing with war crimes.
The UN Security Council is apportioned significant blame for its failure to conduct the real diplomatic business of the multinational agency.
Today, the UN Security Council is busier than ever. Meeting almost daily, including weekends, with discussions going into late hours of the night. The ever-lengthening agenda includes discussions on crises from North Korea to Libya. However, the long list has failed to yield actionable outcomes to address the growing problem of conflicts and insecurity. The agency risks failing its core function – maintenance of international peace.
Axing the UN may be Justified
In 2013, the UN Security Council blocked efforts to address the deteriorating political and humanitarian situation in Syria. Today, the conflicts in Syria present the world with one the largest refugee problem. Similar instances have occurred in parts of the Middle East and Africa.
Calls for reform of the UN are peaking. The agency may be living on borrowed time as perceptions that it is out of date and mired in confusion escalate.
The case of Syria, North Korea, Ukraine, and Sudan are only a few that highlight the UN as a mere supplemental diplomacy body. The agency insistence on “interference” receives criticism for its failure to recognize the overriding humanity and any moral sensibility.
The rise of ISIS is blamed on the UN’s failure to sanction action by member states. Countries such as the UK, Russia, America, Denmark, and Australia operate in Syria without reference to the UN’s policy. Sometimes in blatant opposition of it. Such as the contemptuous and deplorable state in which the agency is held worldwide.
The uselessness of the UN is complicated by the confusion about its case for humanitarian intervention, which does not fall in its 1945 charter. In addition, permanent members of the agency’s security council – America, Russia, France, and China – have fractious relationships.
Diplomats and governments must agree on what to do – a difficult outcome to realize.
The UN peacekeepers represent another failure of the agency. Deployment of peacekeeping forces proved to be unsustainable on numerous occasions. Regions often experience renewed violence upon withdrawal of the forces. In most instance, UN forces are barred from engaging warring rivals. The draconian rules of engagement led to the death of Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide. A similar predicament is being witnessed in the warring regions today.
Proliferation in global insecurity due to war and conflicts calls for drastic measures to stop the situation. Failure of the UN to bring to book perpetrators of war crimes, and its inability to act by emphasizing the need for indifference, places the agency in a precarious situation.
Dependence on the UN to maintain global peace is a pipe dream if current developments are anything to go by.