United Nations’ selection criteria lacks; needs confederation system

The victorious powers of World War II created the United Nations in hope of staving off another war. What they ended up doing was creating a bureaucratic and ineffective organization that does not have the power to preserve peace. Primarily, the Security Council, the U.N.’s most important decision-making body, does not work. The five nations with veto power on the council are Russia, China, France, England and the United States.

What does this mean?

This means that very rarely will anything of substance pass through the chambers. The result has been decades of nonbinding resolutions and meaningless wordplay. The Security Council was originally intended to take vigorous military action in support of peace. The veto power makes this all but impossible. To make matters worse, there is no hope of reforming this broken system. Any changes made to the U.N. Constitution must first be approved by the Security Council, where any of those five disagreeing countries is likely to veto the change. It is certainly not fair that a country such as France remains on the council, while Brazil and India have little or no voice. Unfortunately, the system cannot be realistically changed.

Corruption and waste are the U.N.’s hallmarks. The Oil-for-Food program has only been the most recent scandal in a long line of U.N. corruption and ineffectiveness. Nearly $10 billion was siphoned away from the needy Iraqi people and into Saddam Hussein’s hands under the program, while U.N. administrators lined their pockets with bribes and kickbacks.

Another notorious instance of U.N. corruption was the installation of Sudan and Libya, both violators of personal rights, onto the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The U.N. was since so embarrassed that it dissolved the committee and created a new one. The U.N. has also had a notorious anti-Israel bias, often excluding them from meaningful committees and trying to ostracize this responsible member of the international community because of regional disputes or downright anti-Semitism.

To highlight the U.N.’s ineffectiveness in stopping conflict – its primary mission – it is worth examining the behavior of peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia. During the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, 500 Dutch peacekeepers stood by and watched as an estimated 8,000 men, women and children were killed by armed militias despite the fact that the U.N. designated Srebrenica a “safe haven” for refugees. This horrific tragedy highlights the bureaucracy the U.N. has become. It is so tied up its own rules that it cannot allow peacekeepers to effectively do their jobs.

The biggest problem with the U.N. is its lack of membership criteria. There is no reason that countries such as North Korea, Iran and Sudan should sit at the same table and pretend to have equal international status as the liberal democracies of the world. These pariah countries keep the wheels of the U.N. from turning effectively and block effective action on important issues. While the U.N. has had many successes in the area of development (especially micro-loans) the U.N. fails to live up to its original mission of preventing conflict.

The answer is the creation of a new collective security organization composed only of the world’s democracies and operated without a veto power for any country. Such a “confederation” is the best way to ensure security for all the world’s people and to encourage states to adopt democratic governance.

Tyler Fultz is a senior history and political science major from Indianapolis.