Whats the point of the UN....useless again!

#42
Surely national interests are not at issue here,
Now that I've finally finished laughing and wondering where you've been your entire life... Of course they are at issue, because national policy always triumphs international policy.

Imagine a veto-less UN in which e.g. Bangladesh, Tuvalu, etc. sponsor a motion making combating global warming compulsory. How much economic damage do you expect the major CO2 emitters to sustain to implement it?
 
#43
I've worked for the UN. Several different agencies and in several different countries. And yes they are sh1t.

They are excessively bureaucratic and remote from any sense of outcome. In some programmes they are irrelevant, in others an actual drag anchor against progress.

So emotionally I agree with the criticism 100%. However:

1. There are at least 3 different 'UN' and it's important not to conflate them. There's (a) the UN as a talking shop, (b) what's called the 'Black' UN (the peacekeeping missions, so called because they write 'UN' in black letters on their wagons) and (c) the 'blue' UN, the various UN agencies.

2. The UN agencies are a varied bunch. Some are very results focused (WFP) and some are a disaster (UNESCO, on the whole) but in every case it depends on the upper management of the day - often retired politicians - and their individual programme managers. But they have very little to do with the other facets of the UN, apart from their mandate. The World Bank and the IMF are also UN agencies. I've worked for at least 4 UN agencies one way or the other and some of them could do with a rocket up their collective arrse. Sometimes they don't know if they are a donor, a coordinator, an implementer or a regulator. But there's nothing particularly unique about any of them that couldn't be done as a non-UN agency (like the ICRC).

3. Then there's the UN as a talking shop. And here is where, if they didn't exist we'd have to invent them. Imagine Cuba in 1963 WITHOUT Adlai Stevenson being able to make his case...Curtis Le May would probably have got his way and bombed us all back to the Stone Age.

3. And then there's the peacekeeping. I was in Bosnia and also involved at the edge of the war crimes issue, and there were many problems. The ROE were sh1t but that was because it was a 'Chapter 5' mission (which meant we were there at the voluntary acceptance of the combatants) and NOT a chapter 6 (peace enforcement) mission which comes with more robust ROE (just like the ones that NATO then had).

4. The other problem is the bureaucracy. As a metaphor familiar to Arrse members, the UN is like an AFV with no firepower, no mobility but LOTS of protection. We wanted a tank but ended up with a bunker. By protection I mean the layers and layers and layers of bureaucracy. Nobody in a UN agency will lose their name if an operation is delayed, but they are in sm3g if they lose $100.

But why is this? Often because of silly bureaucrats. Too often. But many of these protective rules were put in place after a lot of national governments complained that the UN wasn't doing enough to protect 'their' money. The US used this as an excuse in the 90's not to pay. We were constantly being audited in the Balkans.

In the end you get the bureaucracy you deserve and lots of the more able and/or idealistic leave.

It DOES need fixing but the answer is NOT a snappy attempt to grab a headline in the Fail as TM appears to have tried recently


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#44
No organisation is perfect, no such animal exists, the UK or any member of any world conglomerate will at some time be upset by its decisions. As for a refurbishment of the UN, moving the chairs around solves nothing, the initial problems still remain, and until the dead wood, and veto powers are removed, third world countries, tribal differences, and despotic military tyrants will flourish with impunity, nothing changes, only the uniforms.
I don't know. The word seems to be a better place after the formation of the UN than it was before. Genocide is generally kept in far off places away from civilised nations, major wars are few and far between and the Big Powers are left get on with nation building and picking their despot du jour to run the world's wild places for them. Currently the world is a tad upset because Burma is sending a million Bangladeshis home. Be thankful the resettlement programme is being overseen by a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. A cast iron cúnt like Adolf would have had them in the ovens long ago.
 
#45
What would you like the UN to do? How do you propose to change the UN? And will you complain when the newly refurbished and effective UN does something that inconveniences the UK?
I am probably not intelligent enough or experienced in such matters to design a United Nations, however doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is not too clever.

As for the inconvenience to the U.K. I am more concerned as per my OP of the poor buggers being slaughtered in foreign lands where they cannot protect themselves but we could step in and help as the UN.

It's a shambles of an organization.
 
#46
I am probably not intelligent enough or experienced in such matters to design a United Nations, however doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is not too clever.

As for the inconvenience to the U.K. I am more concerned as per my OP of the poor buggers being slaughtered in foreign lands where they cannot protect themselves but we could step in and help as the UN.

It's a shambles of an organization.
In reference to my earlier post then you're talking about the UN as peacekeepers.

There are two issues there. One is 'do we send a mission? The second is 'What do they do when they get there? (i.e. the ROE).

The ROE for Myanmar would require (under the UN Charter) approval for a Chapter 6 mission as this wouldn't be agreed by Myanmar itself. That in turn means an opposed amphibious landing or coming over from the border, presumably from Bangladesh...again, more agreement required. All of this has to be voted for in the General Assembly.

That takes us back to the first part. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has a military and civilian staff and in my time the head soldier was a German 3*. They can put together any mission you like, but they need authority (voted on by member states) and they then need troops (volunteered by member states) and then they need an operating budget (you've guessed it...).

Now when they get all the above they're not very good at the management side for all the reasons I've discussed, and there is considerable room for improvement, but much of the underlying problem is about how the member states vote.

Taking the Bosnian example: it could be argued that the problems of working with the crap RoE we had were such that we shouldn't have gone at all: but the people at DPKO went off at half-cock because they were under pressure to 'do something' (sound familiar?). It took 3 years of not achieving very much at considerable cost before NATO turned up. In many cases the same contingent just changed head dress. It was the RoE that changed.


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#47
Worked for them for a few years as a contractor. The organisation is top heavy with arse covering and kissing clowns who would be out of their depth on damp blotting paper. The contractors on the ground are expected to make them look good while constantly fending off their wuckfittery and trying not to let them get you killed.

Wouldn't trust them to sit the right way round on the bog.
 
#48
Here is a challenge, why do the UN not tell NK unless they let them in to look at suspected 'concentration camps' whenever they demand (i.e. 24 hours) then they will be even more angry and do nothing except be angry?

Why is it all about the US and WMD?

From a UN perspective, the UN are allowing NK to deal out what appears to be against everything the UN and decent people stand for.
 
#49
Here is a challenge, why do the UN not tell NK unless they let them in to look at suspected 'concentration camps' whenever they demand (i.e. 24 hours) then they will be even
Because the UN's founder states were very careful to hamstring the UN's ability to intervene in the internal affairs of members. That was the last thing they wanted it able to do, in case it got in the way of their overseas interests.
 
#51
Because the UN's founder states were very careful to hamstring the UN's ability to intervene in the internal affairs of members. That was the last thing they wanted it able to do, in case it got in the way of their overseas interests.
So why not say that you are not United, foxtrot oscar. Were the UN not also against our Iraq folly? Seems that could have been a good idea! But they were shown their irrelevant mantra again.
 
#52
So why not say that you are not United, foxtrot oscar.
Because it also serves to regularise certain ways of acting and makes the international sphere rather more predictable.

It can also, if played properly, emit the sort of noises the can help realise a UNSC member state's preferred outcomes.

Were the UN not also against our Iraq folly?
In the words of Redbeard Rum, "Opinion is divided on the matter." Apparently, the relevant UN Resolutions authorised bombing the **** out of Iraq and overthrowing their government even though the words 'bomb', '****', and 'overthrow' never appeared.

Certain countries know best what the will of the 'international community' is, regardless of what mere other countries say on the matter. The UN is a convenient way of advertising this.
 
#53
The only part of the UN that I have any sympathy or regard for are the peace keepers. The idea of being a witness to the wholesale slaughter of people while being told you cannot intervene has always sickened me.
Ironic that the original UN building was built on the site of a former slaughterhouse.
 
#54
The UN was intended to be not-very-effective. This isn't a bad thing. UN components keep being criticised for not exercising power, that they don't have, to over-ride national power, which they shouldn't do. A lot of people (often of a Daily Mail persuasion) talk about the UN as if it's entirely separate from the nations that comprise it &, weirdly, alternate between complaining that UN agencies are too powerful & too weak. (Every so often there's a fuss about a paper published by the UN High Commissioner for Something Or Other despite its being just that - a piece of paper, not an edict from the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.)

The UN is merely 193 perenially-squabbling nations that are all batting for their own interests that jointly employ an organisation that isn't (in many ways) fit to fulfil expectations, many of which are excessive. A complaint against the UN for, say, not conducting a peace-keeping operation should really be directed at the nations who refuse put one together & agree on its purpose, RoE, funding, etc.

The biggest problems are its bureaucratic inefficiency (hence all those silly pieces of paper about trivialities) & enormous ethical deficiencies, both of which could be greatly reduced (though not eliminated) by 1 simple change: allow the govt of each member state to distribute its membership fee between UN agencies/offices/programmes/whatever according to its own discretion. That way, underperforming elements (like that pungent joke of a human rights committee) get defunded whilst the few that actually do a bit of good (like fighting infectious diseases) would get more funding.

Then there's the thorny question of the permanent membership of the Security Council & the veto power it carries. Should India get a permanent seat? Brazil? Germany? What should be the rationale?

There's no intergovernmental agreement on any major reform, so nothing happens.

I've given UN reform/replacement a fair bit of thought over the years & I've come to the opinion is that the UN is obsolete, too badly-organised, too weighted in favour of undemocratic nations, too easily exploited by some of its worst members (e.g., KSA) & too discredited an organisation to be worth keeping. It's no longer necessary to get hundreds of diplomats in the same room when govts want to communicate with each other en masse, not that there's much reason to do that. Smaller groups of interested nations assembled for more specific purposes (e.g., G7, G20, Pacific Forum, NATO, OAS, etc.) are more effective for intergovernmental discussion & co-operation anyway.

The various bits that are useful - IMO, WHO, IAO - etc. should be split off & become independent. Everything else should be consigned to oblivion.

The UN's usefulness has always primarily been to help provide just a little bit more stability than we would otherwise have by (1) establishing a baseline for what's acceptable conduct by nations & encouraging nations to behave according to the same set of conventions & (2), by way of seeming to have the support of the 'international community,' give a veneer of legitimacy to decisions agreed to by not-very-large groups of countries (such as the permanent members of the SC). There should be something(s) to do that. A world forum of democratic nations (along the lines of the G20 but larger membership & wider variety of issues) could be a good idea, though determining a clear, uniform & immutable delineation between 'democratic' & 'undemocratic' could be tricky, & excluding a large & powerful country like China would be problematic, but it would have the air of 'legitimacy' that the UN lacks. A world security forum could perform the job of the UNSC, & do it better if the membership criteria permanently exclude states that have no interest in keeping the peace (e.g., KSA; Iran) or no ability to contribute to doing so (e.g., Micronesia; Lesotho). It could include undemocratic nations (e.g., China; Russia) &, to avoid being cumbersomely large, each seat not held by a permanent member could rotate through a fixed list of nations every several years.
All pie in the sky of course, unfortunately.
 
#55
The UN is a corrupt organisation. The shenanigans with the oil-for-food programme allowed officials at the very top of the UN hierachy to purlion millions of dollars. It's like FIFA but the bungs are much, much bigger.
 
#56
It is a serious subject, but do you see change on the horizon? Or is everyone involved happy with the way that things are.
A fairly easy and meaningful change would be to relocate their HQs from New York/Geneva etc to the most needed continent ie Africa. Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Somalia would be good candidates.
 
#57
I particularly like it when nations can veto actions proposed against themselves and their accomplices.
 
#58
A fairly easy and meaningful change would be to relocate their HQs from New York/Geneva etc to the most needed continent ie Africa. Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Somalia would be good candidates.
Oh yes, somewhere like that where there are no corruption opportunities and no risk of attack on the heads of the UNs hydra.

And an edit:https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/french-embassy-under-attack-02-03-2018.273234/

Ok, so we're talking French not UN as such, but It's no good siting a fireman in the middle of the fire.
 
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ugly

LE
Moderator
#59
I know there is a Myanmar thread, a Balkans thread, a Syria thread and a North Korea thread.

But surely it is long overdue an overhaul of the ineffective dis-United Nations.

What exactly is this expense achieving?

www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41420973

Veto's to massage the ego of 'super' powers or their wannabe ilk.

Africa is a melting pot of violence that has laughed at the UN for decades. The Middle East is a melting pot of violence.

What is the UN mandate and is it worth a damn anymore?

Thoughts on a postcard......
There was a point during the Bush Administration (cant remember which one) that there was a groundswell of public opinion to kick the UN out of the USA.. No doubt at the time the Canadian liberals would have welcomed them with open arms!
 
#60
UN going the same way as Oxfam but probably getting shagged easier, you just point a gun!
 
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