The UN: What’s the Bloody Point?

Russell Michaels

Russell is inside his own mind, a comfortable yet silly place. He is also on Twitter.

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22 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    Turn the UN HQ in NYC into low-income housing

    You can’t do that! That’s prime waterfront real estate, you can’t waste that on low income housing!

    Unless, of course, it’s a flood plain, then it’s just fine for low income housing.

    Oh, wait, we weren’t talking about housing, never mind.

    PS I agree, the UN is useless. All those baby blue helmets and white APCs I saw in Somalia were a joke.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    Going through international affairs with swords drawn didn’t really work out that well in the past.Report

  3. InMD says:

    Chesterton’s fence.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    From what I understand, the UN’s benefits are unseen rather than nonexistent.

    Two ambassadors having tea and conversations result in three ambassadors having tea and conversations and then, next thing you know, there isn’t a war. A trade deal is softened here, hardened there, and now it goes through when it wouldn’t have before.

    The whole “Let’s put Afghanistan on the UN Womens’ Rights Council!” thing is silly but it’s not one of the things that would ever or could ever result in change. It’s the meeting over tea in one of the offices there.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

      I have no issue with the UN being a diplomatic debate club. That’s a useful goal. What is a problem is… well, a lot, but I have two primary issues:

      1) The veto power of the security council means the security council is utterly useless.
      2) The UN should have zero ability to put armed boots on the ground. The UN has zero capability to maintain the discipline of said forces, and too often, the militaries providing said forces don’t bother trying to maintain any kind of discipline.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        That veto power keeps the UN alive.

        Most of the UN aren’t liberal democracies and only believe in the rule of law when it’s in their favor.
        Without veto abilities we’d have an extremely different UN. It’d vote to dismantle Israel, subject the US to war crimes trials, and various other weaponizations of the process.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

          But it also neuters the security council, which calls into question the whole point of the SC.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            This is a feature, not a bug.

            If the SC orders Russia to give back the land it stole and Russia tells them to go to hell, what happens? Ditto if China is ordered to treat it’s citizens better, or if the USA was ordered to not invade Iraq after 911?

            The Veto prevents the SC from doing things it can’t possibly enforce.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

              Again, then what is the point of the SC?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                If all the big players agree that something should be done, then it will be done and the SC gives a legal fig-leaf for that.

                So when Saddam told the SC to go to hell right before Gulf War 1, he should have understood what was going to happen. Ideally he gives back that country without having his economy shattered via war.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

                IMHO, a single point veto is bad. Hell, these days, we could have a planet killer asteroid heading for earth, and someone on the SC would veto any proposal for the UN to take action.

                On the other hand, getting 8 yea’s over 7 nay’s shouldn’t carry the day either.

                I see no problem with it being a super majority question (say, 11 to 4).

                Although that still hits my second point, that the UN should not be permitted to have command of any type over troops.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                So when 11 Dictators decide that the US military should be “held accountable for war crimes” by having our troops “tried” by the UN (which in practice might mean those Dictators), what happens?

                Or when those same dictators decide that Israel shouldn’t exist?

                IMHO this quickly results in the SC having a lot less power.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

                How many dictatorships sit on the security council?Report

              • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                If you look at it as a question of which countries have the actual capability to project military power globally or close to it I think it’s held up pretty well, even with GB and France losing their empires.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD says:

                For the 5 permanent members, yes.

                For the other 10…?Report

              • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Whether it was designed this way or not I don’t know but I see it in practice as operating as a concession to reality. It’s worth hearing and even respecting the perspective of other powers but the votes of those who can’t affirmatively do anything or more importantly step in to stop something they disagree with matters less than the votes/vetoes of those that can.

                If other countries develop real expeditionary power and influence outside of the regions where they are located it may become a serious problem but we aren’t there yet. For now it’s just rich countries who won’t fight (Japan, Germany) or that will fight but are too poor and/or wrapped up in their own regional issues to think and act globally (India and Pakistan for example).Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I think it was one of the things that Stalin needed to get him to agree to show up.Report

  5. Damon says:

    The UN has proved to be useless, but sure, let’s keep it around for diplomats to have tea and chat. Just as long was the US cuts its contribution down to say, 5% of the budget. That’s about the % of the us population vs the rest of the world.Report

  6. Michael Cain says:

    Someone’s got to do the things the ITU, IAEA, and WHO does. Only UN member states can be voting members of the ITU which, among other things, regulates satellite orbital allocations.Report

  7. Pinky says:

    “Evil is one thing, but lack of diversity is a bridge too far!”

    I don’t understand the complaints about this from the right. I think it’d be great if the left had more principles, but they currently have one, and the Taliban is violating it. Good on the left for recognizing it. Any port in a storm.Report

  8. Willy says:

    Re “sychopaths continue to terrorize their own people”…

    The world is governed and terrorized by psychopaths and the UN is one of their tools in those efforts. But the fact that a bunch of psychopaths rule is only ONE part of the equation. The true, WHOLE, but “politically inconvenient” and “culturally forbidden” reality is more encompassing. Read “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room –The Holocaustal Covid-19 Coronavirus Madness: A Sociological Perspective  & Historical Assessment Of The Covid “Phenomenon”” by Rolf Hefti at

    Without a proper understanding, and full acknowledgment, of the true WHOLE problem and reality, no real constructive LASTING change is possible.Report