UN's Power
UN is for show
48.3% (14)
48.3% (14)
UN actually has power
51.7% (15)
51.7% (15)
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Do you believe we should have a UN?

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The UN does at times seem to be almost a paper tiger by this point. N.K sanctions have not done much in the last twenty years they have been in place. It's also hard to say what effect any UN sanctions have upon any nation as those sanctions are individually enforced my members.

The UN is pro-clean earth, but the members in the council are groups of nations which all seem to be far from containing much of the green house gasses. It can appear for anyone whom studies the UN to think it is all just for show.

My question is do you guys think the UN is just for show , or a really force of good in the world?

RobertEHouse:
Never mind , in the first it actually ended before i could finish typing this

I am nominating this thread for Post of the Year.

Edit: aw, now my response makes no sense.

Spineless democrats.

edit:

OK, seriously, don't completely change the entire first post of a thread and shift the topic to something completely different, especially after people have posted in it.

RobertEHouse:
My question is do you guys think the UN is just for show , or a really force of good in the world?

The UN is necessarily not coercive in many respects, because no country would be prepared to surrender its sovereignty that way. This means in practice that the big beasts of the world (such as the USA, China and Russia) still to a large extent dictate what goes on no matter what the UN thinks, and grant unusual leeway to other states.

But the UN can ameliorate and temper some actions. Imagine 20% of a country believes that UN approval matters for a military action; that's potentially going to make a lot of difference to whether a country ends up taking military action, and whether it has allies (bearing in mind absence of allies will make the action more burdensome). In a sense, therefore, the UN matters because people believe it should. If we give up on it, it will cease to do so. But it is hard to argue that restricting the most dangerous national impulses is a bad thing.

To add to that, we can consider the UN as a sort of talking shop and neutral-ish arbiter; many countries may accept UN intervention or mediation in ways they would not trust individual states. After all, there's a big difference between an organisation reflecting a wealth of different opinions - likely therefore balancing a range of competing interests against each other - and a single nation likely to have a national interest guiding its interference.

We can also bear in mind the UN carries out a huge range of important but perhaps less obviously flashy tasks in terms of human development, aid, medicine and much more. I think it would be struggle to argue that, say, the World Health Organisation is useless.

There is only one thing worse than an organisation where its member countries only pay lip service to its ideals and that's the countries not even bothering to do that.

The UN works fine at what it is for. Assuming you see it as being for lots of little things, some of them useful, and not for big important things.

No, clearly there should be no forum for international communication or cooperation and the only type of relations between nation-states to be tolerated should be delivered from the barrel of a gun. Is that what the OP wanted to hear?

I'd argue that the UN entirely does its job. The problem is that a lot of people don't seem to understand what that entails.

The UN is supposed to provide a framework for countries to cooperate and work together; it's not meant to solve problems by itself. UN missions and activities succeed when member countries are willing to put in the money, manpower, and political will to see them through (eg: UNESCO) and fail when they don't (eg: peacekeeping mission in Somalia).

As to your poll, the answer is neither and both.

I mean, I'm theoretically on team "one world government", but considering how many factors would have to fall into place for me to be realistically on team "one world government", a stopgap to facilitate cooperation and dialogue is probably the best we can hope for.

Agema:

RobertEHouse:
My question is do you guys think the UN is just for show , or a really force of good in the world?

The UN is necessarily not coercive in many respects, because no country would be prepared to surrender its sovereignty that way. This means in practice that the big beasts of the world (such as the USA, China and Russia) still to a large extent dictate what goes on no matter what the UN thinks, and grant unusual leeway to other states.

But the UN can ameliorate and temper some actions. Imagine 20% of a country believes that UN approval matters for a military action; that's potentially going to make a lot of difference to whether a country ends up taking military action, and whether it has allies (bearing in mind absence of allies will make the action more burdensome). In a sense, therefore, the UN matters because people believe it should. If we give up on it, it will cease to do so. But it is hard to argue that restricting the most dangerous national impulses is a bad thing.

To add to that, we can consider the UN as a sort of talking shop and neutral-ish arbiter; many countries may accept UN intervention or mediation in ways they would not trust individual states. After all, there's a big difference between an organisation reflecting a wealth of different opinions - likely therefore balancing a range of competing interests against each other - and a single nation likely to have a national interest guiding its interference.

We can also bear in mind the UN carries out a huge range of important but perhaps less obviously flashy tasks in terms of human development, aid, medicine and much more. I think it would be struggle to argue that, say, the World Health Organisation is useless.

So from what i am understanding UN almost exist almost like a dream for few nations of hope. Yet, reality doesn't really show that if one looks at least the part of last thirdly years.

All one would have to do is look at Rwanda and Bosnia and how the UN seems to not know anything about being a beacon of hope.

The Tutis genocide in Rwanda, which the UN denounced and then sent blue helmets as they stated to "stop the genocide". As the UN troops set barracks up in Rwanda, and moved in heavy equipment.They did nothing, not even setting up safety zones for Tutis on the run or put a stop to the death trucks to the camps. Instead they just ended up counting trucks to the camps with people. One commander had his barracks set only four or five miles away from one death came. Requesting action to carry out the mission they were ordered to do so. He was stopped.

https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/201/39240.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/special/2014/newsspec_6954/index.html

The Bosnian war which had already lead to the deaths of many civilians on both sides was a failure. UN Once again decided to interfere and designated safe zones for towns and villages. Only to forget that that requires them to actually defend the very population the promised to do so.Instead once the opposite side learned the UN would withdraw instead of fight to hold a safe zone. All they did was fire in the air and the UN troops would be told to abandon the safe zones they set up. To just leave the town population to fend for themselves at the approach of armed individuals. at the hands of armed groups.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/16/world/un-details-its-failure-to-stop-95-bosnia-massacre.html

Dreams are great, but not when they cost lives so needlessly.

I think the poll escapes the real importance of the UN. The real power of the UN is that it can quickly congregate and spark dialogue and thus diplomacy by extension of that media presence. The UN has teeth because it quickly weaponises the idea of condonable and uncondonable activity of one nation and quickly assessing one nation's political capital to do something that is otherwise on the fringe of acceptability.

Moreover it's a viable aid to the various nations that have veto powers as that gives them a unique edge in creating the fertile grounds for inequal presence.

And this is 'soft power' aligned with countries that seek the rule of law and trade in general, which does have some commensurate benefit into things like avoiding many wars over material access as well as help solidify the idea of fixed borders that we enjoy today. Fixed borders are, for better or worse, one of the key components we've had that have helped alienate current nations to traditional ideas of empire and the wars that encouraged.

Helping put the brake on transforming flashpoints into shooting wars.

It also intercedes in the possible extensions of which middling powers can skirmish or outright fight over various geostrategic platforms.

For instance, during the Konfrontasi ... Australia had sabre teams of SASR in Borneo. The UN dictated that Australia simply couldn't invade Indonesian soil given the fact that Australia at the time was fighting a hot-cold series of political and military clashes against then Indonesian head of government, Sukarno.

Australia skirted this rule constantly in things like Operation Claret through the engagement justification of 'Hot Pursuit' ... So Commonwealth forces would encourage a skirmish (or outright fabricate their occurrence) to justify SASR or patrolling units to 'pursue without understanding of borders to destroy the capacity of the enemy to organize'.

That being said, because of the general unwillingness of Australia and other Commonwealth nations wanting to put a world spotlight on its operations in the South Pacific and the real reasons for continually having border skirmishes in the region, it did halt the potentiality of that conflict spiralling into a full blown shooting war through direct occupation of parts of Kalimantan.

Given that in order to avoid that spotlight of the Commonwealth still playing an aggressive hand in the South Pacific, Commonwealth forces wrote up casualties as happening in "East Malaysia" and not wishing to give ammunition to thedebate of aggressive imperialism, couldn't then be seen as forming beyond the liberally defined border division between then newly created Malaysia and Indonesia.

RobertEHouse:

Agema:

RobertEHouse:
My question is do you guys think the UN is just for show , or a really force of good in the world?

The UN is necessarily not coercive in many respects, because no country would be prepared to surrender its sovereignty that way. This means in practice that the big beasts of the world (such as the USA, China and Russia) still to a large extent dictate what goes on no matter what the UN thinks, and grant unusual leeway to other states.

But the UN can ameliorate and temper some actions. Imagine 20% of a country believes that UN approval matters for a military action; that's potentially going to make a lot of difference to whether a country ends up taking military action, and whether it has allies (bearing in mind absence of allies will make the action more burdensome). In a sense, therefore, the UN matters because people believe it should. If we give up on it, it will cease to do so. But it is hard to argue that restricting the most dangerous national impulses is a bad thing.

To add to that, we can consider the UN as a sort of talking shop and neutral-ish arbiter; many countries may accept UN intervention or mediation in ways they would not trust individual states. After all, there's a big difference between an organisation reflecting a wealth of different opinions - likely therefore balancing a range of competing interests against each other - and a single nation likely to have a national interest guiding its interference.

We can also bear in mind the UN carries out a huge range of important but perhaps less obviously flashy tasks in terms of human development, aid, medicine and much more. I think it would be struggle to argue that, say, the World Health Organisation is useless.

So from what i am understanding UN almost exist almost like a dream for few nations of hope. Yet, reality doesn't really show that if one looks at least the part of last thirdly years.

All one would have to do is look at Rwanda and Bosnia and how the UN seems to not know anything about being a beacon of hope.

The Tutis genocide in Rwanda, which the UN denounced and then sent blue helmets as they stated to "stop the genocide". As the UN troops set barracks up in Rwanda, and moved in heavy equipment.They did nothing, not even setting up safety zones for Tutis on the run or put a stop to the death trucks to the camps. Instead they just ended up counting trucks to the camps with people. One commander had his barracks set only four or five miles away from one death came. Requesting action to carry out the mission they were ordered to do so. He was stopped.

https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/201/39240.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/special/2014/newsspec_6954/index.html

The Bosnian war which had already lead to the deaths of many civilians on both sides was a failure. UN Once again decided to interfere and designated safe zones for towns and villages. Only to forget that that requires them to actually defend the very population the promised to do so.Instead once the opposite side learned the UN would withdraw instead of fight to hold a safe zone. All they did was fire in the air and the UN troops would be told to abandon the safe zones they set up. To just leave the town population to fend for themselves at the approach of armed individuals. at the hands of armed groups.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/16/world/un-details-its-failure-to-stop-95-bosnia-massacre.html

Dreams are great, but not when they cost lives so needlessly.

See me post above. You're misinterpreting what went wrong in those situations. Had the Security Council had the political willpower to order peacekeepers to set up and hold safe zones, the troops would have done so. The UN and its operations have exactly as much power as the nations backing the UN give them. The UN is a framwork/structure/organizational blueprint from which to launch programs/missions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_peacekeeping#Formation:
He told me the UN was a "pull" system, not a "push" system like I had been used to with NATO, because the UN had absolutely no pool of resources to draw on. You had to make a request for everything you needed, and then you had to wait while that request was analyzed... For instance, soldiers everywhere have to eat and drink. In a push system, food and water for the number of soldiers deployed is automatically supplied. In a pull system, you have to ask for those rations, and no common sense seems to ever apply.

- (Shake Hands With the Devil, Dallaire, pp. 99-100)

Thaluikhain:
The UN works fine at what it is for. Assuming you see it as being for lots of little things, some of them useful, and not for big important things.

But the problem with that approach is that the UN does pretend to do the big important things. It talks the talk and makes gestures, which detracts from the ability of other organisations to do them with any sort of legitimacy.

You have to royally screw up to get to a scenario where the entire UN security council will agree to deal with you. Cosying up to one of the powers has gotten enough people by in the past.

But no, the big things aside, the UN does many nice little things.

RobertEHouse:

So from what i am understanding UN almost exist almost like a dream for few nations of hope. Yet, reality doesn't really show that if one looks at least the part of last thirdly years.

All one would have to do is look at Rwanda and Bosnia and how the UN seems to not know anything about being a beacon of hope.

The Tutis genocide in Rwanda, which the UN denounced and then sent blue helmets as they stated to "stop the genocide". As the UN troops set barracks up in Rwanda, and moved in heavy equipment.They did nothing, not even setting up safety zones for Tutis on the run or put a stop to the death trucks to the camps. Instead they just ended up counting trucks to the camps with people. One commander had his barracks set only four or five miles away from one death came. Requesting action to carry out the mission they were ordered to do so. He was stopped.

https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/201/39240.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/special/2014/newsspec_6954/index.html

Rwanda isn't a good example of this. For starters, we don't want the UN to transform into merely a military power. Moreover, the UN has dictates on what is or isn't genocide. There is already 6 current hard coded rulings as to justify the decree of a regime performing a 'genocidal' campaign. And all UN member states have signed off that they needto act upon conclusive evidence of its occurrence.

But by the time the Rwandan Genocide happened, there was no hard evidence.

For starters, planning a military scale operation with the capacity of occupation andactive policing is hard work. It requires significant investment and requires a hgih degree of efficiency of agency in terms of the interceding party. Effectively military brass will spend years planning out an invasion. What will be needed? How large is the resistance? Do we have the numbers? How and from where do we mobilise our forces?

Moreover Tutsis aren't a race or religion. They were an arbitrary social group created by imperial colonisers. The Belgians and Germans emphasized the idea of Tutsi and Hutu as if to create social classes that would police their own occupation by foreign powers. You had numerous social groups both fighting and infighting on a disorganised front of uncontrolled violence. Wealthy Hutu were largely indistinguishable from wealthy Tutsis in terms of culture and even distribution across the state of Rwanda. Even in terms of individual objectives... hence why so many Hutus were also slaughtered.

In the case of one person's genocide, is a case of one person's revolution against a traditional aristocratic class. In the case of one person's revolution, is the case of one person's possible secession or play for the government... and so on.

To whom does the UN prescribe are 'friendlies' and worthy of backing militarily?

There was a reason why the UN was incredibly cautious to act. Not only was there acts of violence as leftover sentiments from the Hutu persecution by the aristocratic classes in 1961 began simmering into implaccable hatreds ... but it was confusing. Moreover, by whatever time the UN could organise a mobilization of forces necessary to halt the violence, the Rwandan Genocide was already over. The UN has no military force that is specifically theirs and theirs alone. So effectively the UN is basically saying to each member state that contributes peacekeeping soldiery to "trust me."

If you dumped a whole bunch of soldiers in a place without the necessary education to understand the differences of the competing factions and the nature of the conflict, you're goingto end up with a whole series of confused commanders on the ground arguing with rear echelon about the worthiness of launching an operation or even just engaging the "enemy". After all, there is little distinguishable difference between a Hutu with a machete or gun and a Tutsi with a machete or a gun defending themselves. They didn't wear different state colours, they didn't organize into any intelligible hierarchical structures and they all had different reasons to fight.

Where do you put down FOBs and where do you station response force personnel when the confrontation is especially liquid, with an unknown quantity of possible belligerents, and is spiralling out of control into neighbouring countries and transcends national borders?

Afterall, you can't just tell commanders; "Shoot the bad guys with guns and machetes killing people... not the good guys with guns and machetes killing people."

And keep in mind... you have less than 3 months to work all this shit out!

The simple fact of the matter is by the time the UN could standardize engagement protocol and organize the mobilization, the genocide was well and truly over already. Not only this... but the conflict wasn't even isolated to Rwanda. And any soldiers on the ground would have found routinely engaging with the RPF that was formed to oust the government. The RPF led by Paul Kagame also then went on to displace 2 million Hutus and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Hutu and Tutsi people.

Rwanda was a clustrefuck of 'no good choices, no good answers' in terms of UN occupation.

The problems of post-colonial Africa is best handled by the now feasible African Union...

Avnger:

RobertEHouse:

Agema:

The UN is necessarily not coercive in many respects, because no country would be prepared to surrender its sovereignty that way. This means in practice that the big beasts of the world (such as the USA, China and Russia) still to a large extent dictate what goes on no matter what the UN thinks, and grant unusual leeway to other states.

But the UN can ameliorate and temper some actions. Imagine 20% of a country believes that UN approval matters for a military action; that's potentially going to make a lot of difference to whether a country ends up taking military action, and whether it has allies (bearing in mind absence of allies will make the action more burdensome). In a sense, therefore, the UN matters because people believe it should. If we give up on it, it will cease to do so. But it is hard to argue that restricting the most dangerous national impulses is a bad thing.

To add to that, we can consider the UN as a sort of talking shop and neutral-ish arbiter; many countries may accept UN intervention or mediation in ways they would not trust individual states. After all, there's a big difference between an organisation reflecting a wealth of different opinions - likely therefore balancing a range of competing interests against each other - and a single nation likely to have a national interest guiding its interference.

We can also bear in mind the UN carries out a huge range of important but perhaps less obviously flashy tasks in terms of human development, aid, medicine and much more. I think it would be struggle to argue that, say, the World Health Organisation is useless.

So from what i am understanding UN almost exist almost like a dream for few nations of hope. Yet, reality doesn't really show that if one looks at least the part of last thirdly years.

All one would have to do is look at Rwanda and Bosnia and how the UN seems to not know anything about being a beacon of hope.

The Tutis genocide in Rwanda, which the UN denounced and then sent blue helmets as they stated to "stop the genocide". As the UN troops set barracks up in Rwanda, and moved in heavy equipment.They did nothing, not even setting up safety zones for Tutis on the run or put a stop to the death trucks to the camps. Instead they just ended up counting trucks to the camps with people. One commander had his barracks set only four or five miles away from one death came. Requesting action to carry out the mission they were ordered to do so. He was stopped.

https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/201/39240.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/special/2014/newsspec_6954/index.html

The Bosnian war which had already lead to the deaths of many civilians on both sides was a failure. UN Once again decided to interfere and designated safe zones for towns and villages. Only to forget that that requires them to actually defend the very population the promised to do so.Instead once the opposite side learned the UN would withdraw instead of fight to hold a safe zone. All they did was fire in the air and the UN troops would be told to abandon the safe zones they set up. To just leave the town population to fend for themselves at the approach of armed individuals. at the hands of armed groups.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/16/world/un-details-its-failure-to-stop-95-bosnia-massacre.html

Dreams are great, but not when they cost lives so needlessly.

See me post above. You're misinterpreting what went wrong in those situations. Had the Security Council had the political willpower to order peacekeepers to set up and hold safe zones, the troops would have done so. The UN and its operations have exactly as much power as the nations backing the UN give them. The UN is a framwork/structure/organizational blueprint from which to launch programs/missions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_peacekeeping#Formation:
He told me the UN was a "pull" system, not a "push" system like I had been used to with NATO, because the UN had absolutely no pool of resources to draw on. You had to make a request for everything you needed, and then you had to wait while that request was analyzed... For instance, soldiers everywhere have to eat and drink. In a push system, food and water for the number of soldiers deployed is automatically supplied. In a pull system, you have to ask for those rations, and no common sense seems to ever apply.

? (Shake Hands With the Devil, Dallaire, pp. 99?100)

My link was in the description, It was from a UN investigation over what happened in Rwanda. The Actual document, about what you just found in two seconds on WP.It goes into more detail, about how the planing seemed sound but they didn't send enough resources. They also believe that Rwanda situation could be stopped but it would have required more man power. What you didn't get from Wikipedia was the fact that in context the UN mentioned how Snafu the whole situation was.

Eh, it was more useful before globalization and mixed national economies. When out-and-out war was how we handled political disagreements, rather than impose sanctions and strongly worded condemnations on CSPAN-8 at 3 in the afternoon.

Also the UN only works with Nations themselves. Rogue nations, terrorist group and nations that simply don't want to be part of the UN don't care. You can't force ISIS to come to the table by withholding Doctors without Borders from helping them. They want to kill the doctors in the first place!

Addendum_Forthcoming:
For starters, planning a military scale operation with the capacity of occupation andactive policing is hard work. It requires significant investment and requires a hgih degree of efficiency of agency in terms of the interceding party. Effectively military brass will spend years planning out an invasion. What will be needed? How large is the resistance? Do we have the numbers? How and from where do we mobilise our forces?

My first link addressed this, it was in a long investigation UN copy looking at the planing that would have been required to care out a strategic plan into Rwanda.This was after the UN had gone to Rwanda and they were looking into exactly why it ended up the way it did. The UN did not exactly really accomplish a goal, they had a force yet it was to small. So they were not able to establish a safe zone, Because of protocol, and because of equipment. So they were also unable to able to stabilize the country. So was the point to just look and smile at all the Rwanda's fighting , what was the point.?

Addendum_Forthcoming:
But by the time the Rwandan Genocide happened, there was no hard evidence.

Right so ....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_genocide ......never happened? , How about the UN marking the "twenty year anniversary" of this and the UN passed a resolution in 2014.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47596#.Wmeo7q6nGpo

Even the fact that you can find UN official record photos if you google or ask the UN itself.(then again nobody believes anything,anymore)

Addendum_Forthcoming:
In the case of one person's genocide, is a case of one person's revolution against a traditional aristocratic class. In the case of one person's revolution, is the case of one person's possible secession or play for the government... and so on.

Don't give me bull....about Genocide, "Believe Me"

When you use a quote like that about genocide, you devaluate yours, and everyone's life to a generalization. In one quote which strips away all the humanity people have. You no longer have a "revolution" but a killing ground which was like Cambodia that can never develop into anything till it stops.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
To whom does the UN prescribe are 'friendlies' and worthy of backing militarily?

Well considering many nations of the world do not like Genocide (WWII and all.) The Tutsi would have been considered friendly as they were the ones being slaughtered. The Hutu had over thrown the government killing them, but their militias didn't stop. Aiming at civilians women and children whom i will end it there as it's very gruesome.

RobertEHouse:

So from what i am understanding UN almost exist almost like a dream for few nations of hope. Yet, reality doesn't really show that if one looks at least the part of last thirdly years.

All one would have to do is look at Rwanda and Bosnia and how the UN seems to not know anything about being a beacon of hope.

One can quite validly criticise the performance of the UN peacekeeping missions in Rwanda and Bosnia.

On the other hand, it has carried out dozens and dozens of missions. In plenty it is widely regarded to have done a good job (e.g. Sierra Leone). You just don't tend to hear about the ones that go okay or well: there's no catastrophic massacre to make the news, and without that Western media don't bother reporting much that goes on in small, poor, faraway countries.

Let's also bear in mind that many major countries have attempted similar sorts of operations. For instance, the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan; France and the USA in Vietnam, or the USA in post-invasion Iraq; the UK in mandate Palestine. These are all reasonably equatable with UN peacekeeping missions. As you might have guessed from those I deliberately selected, often the results are less than happy there too.

The UN is useful as a forum. And little more than that. And that's what it should be.

RobertEHouse:

My first link addressed this, it was in a long investigation UN copy looking at the planing that would have been required to care out a strategic plan into Rwanda.This was after the UN had gone to Rwanda and they were looking into exactly why it ended up the way it did. The UN did not exactly really accomplish a goal, they had a force yet it was to small. So they were not able to establish a safe zone, Because of protocol, and because of equipment. So they were also unable to able to stabilize the country. So was the point to just look and smile at all the Rwanda's fighting , what was the point.?

It wasn't there in any capacity to potentially face a wider regional conflict. If the UN went in there shooting, it would have likely lead to sporadic conflict with the RPF. And the UN was in no capacity to fight a ground war as well as protect the millions displaced.

Right so ....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_genocide ......never happened? , How about the UN marking the "twenty year anniversary" of this and the UN passed a resolution in 2014.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47596#.Wmeo7q6nGpo

Even the fact that you can find UN official record photos if you google or ask the UN itself.(then again nobody believes anything,anymore)

Who is questioning the genocide never happened? Hindsight is 20/20... foresight not so good, and when judging people's decisions it's best to judge them on the information and conditions they faced at the time. The UN didn't have command decision to initiate a conflict on spotty intelligence. Nor could it plan anything substantial in the whole three months the genocide went on.

If you don't believe me, you might want to look up the responses world leaders actually capable of mobilizing the soldiers necessary were saying. They didn't want to see another Somalia.

Don't give me bull....about Genocide, "Believe Me"

When you use a quote like that about genocide, you devaluate yours, and everyone's life to a generalization. In one quote which strips away all the humanity people have. You no longer have a "revolution" but a killing ground which was like Cambodia that can never develop into anything till it stops.

Okay, so what would you have done that would actually have been viable to stop a 3 month long purge? Something meaningful without materiel, without soldiers, without relief, without international support, and without a clear operational vision as to a preferred outcome?

You can't just dump soldiers without debrief and logistical planning. So let's take on two months for that. It's a theatre of operations that hadn't ever been preplanned in any Western forces in terms of large scale mobilization. So tack on a few months of intelligence for that...

Need combat and camp engineers? Helicopters for quick interdiction and essentially 'persuading' the RPF from marching on civilian locales? Well that's going to require a hefty amount of bitumen, shovels and *people*... and, you know, special operations personnel ... Simply digging the ditches needed to keep hygiene in the FOBs, alone?

Next you need to start exfiltrating non-coms out of the country that the UN cannot guarantee their safety. Whole lot of international observers and humanitarian workers that may become convenient hostages for one group or another trying to secure leave out of the country... if the UN did legitimate pick a faction to bolster to the exclusion of the multitude of competing interests ...

It took two months for a piecemeal deployment of soldiers insufficiebt to actually fight an enemy, nor legitimately police the country. Effectively by the tail end of the conflict was UNAMIR able to establish an authoritative presence.

You know, all that stuff... with that non-existent force pool and military budget that the UN gets? All of that without sufficient planning or support would have just looked like a whole lot of dead peacekeepers in boxes.

Well considering many nations of the world do not like Genocide (WWII and all.) The Tutsi would have been considered friendly as they were the ones being slaughtered. The Hutu had over thrown the government killing them, but their militias didn't stop. Aiming at civilians women and children whom i will end it there as it's very gruesome.

Hutus were also killing other Hutus. Tutsi militia were fighting Tutsis and Hutus. Foreign military personnel, mercenaries and paramilitaries were signing up under Paul Kagame in neighbouring countries.

With the 'strategic' cuts to my post either you don't like my historical depiction of the political climate that the difference between Hutu and Tutsi is non-extant beyond whatever emphasis imperial colonisers exacerbated or you have some vague sense of understanding just how the UN operates. To put it bluntly... about 1.5 million Hutus were displaced. Hundreds of thousands Hutus murdered.

Nobody knew what to make of the conflict and only by the time beyond post-colonial birds coming back to roost did they realize the extent of the damages. The battlefront was *everywhere*. And nobody had a good idea of who we should even back. Paul Kagame wasn't some saint of the people. By the end of the conflict it was quite realistically a case of backing one of 7 different factions, all with a monumental amount of suffering and bloodshed they were responsible for.

You're under the illusion the UN would have somehow been 'victorious' ... but legitimately, what exactly were you expecting to do?

This situation wasn't like East Timor. This wasn't simply scattering militants across a border, and peacekeepers can oversee elections. This was a country at war with itself, and not simply with two different perspectives but many.

RobertEHouse:
The Bosnian war which had already lead to the deaths of many civilians on both sides was a failure. UN Once again decided to interfere and designated safe zones for towns and villages. Only to forget that that requires them to actually defend the very population the promised to do so.Instead once the opposite side learned the UN would withdraw instead of fight to hold a safe zone. All they did was fire in the air and the UN troops would be told to abandon the safe zones they set up. To just leave the town population to fend for themselves at the approach of armed individuals. at the hands of armed groups.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/16/world/un-details-its-failure-to-stop-95-bosnia-massacre.html

Dreams are great, but not when they cost lives so needlessly.

How are they costing lives? That is to say, surely people the UN fail to prevent being murdered would be murdered if the UN wasn't there? And more besides? The UN often falls far short of what people want it to be, yes. That's not to say the UN has no value.

Catnip1024:
But the problem with that approach is that the UN does pretend to do the big important things. It talks the talk and makes gestures, which detracts from the ability of other organisations to do them with any sort of legitimacy.

Not sure what/who you mean here. Do you have examples of other, better organisations that are being pushed aside by the UN?

RobertEHouse:
All one would have to do is look at Rwanda and Bosnia and how the UN seems to not know anything about being a beacon of hope.

The Tutis genocide in Rwanda, which the UN denounced and then sent blue helmets as they stated to "stop the genocide". As the UN troops set barracks up in Rwanda, and moved in heavy equipment.They did nothing, not even setting up safety zones for Tutis on the run or put a stop to the death trucks to the camps. Instead they just ended up counting trucks to the camps with people. One commander had his barracks set only four or five miles away from one death came. Requesting action to carry out the mission they were ordered to do so. He was stopped.

As others have mentioned, the situation in Rwanda was incredibly difficult.

Firstly, the genocide in Rwanda was extremely fast and it wasn't centralised in the way the holocaust was centralised. People were killed at government checkpoints, by militias in their own villages and homes. Often the people doing the killing were just random mobs urged on by government radio, sometimes they were paramilitaries, there was no one actor responsible and no single location in which it took place. It's extremely unlikely that any action by the UN could have halted the genocide. Let's get that out of the way before we move onto the more controversial question of whether the UN could have saved more people.

Secondly, one of the first events of the genocide was a very brutal murder of UN troops by members of the presidential guard (who also assassinated the prime minister). The UN were also being openly blamed for the previous assassination of Rwanda's president (both the murdered president and prime minister, it is worth noting, were Hutus, not Tutsis, but we'll get to that whole can of worms in a moment).

UNAIR had a simple mandate in Rwanda, the mandate was to support the government and monitor the ceasefire between the government and the RPF (a Tutsi nationalist group who had conducted a very unpleasant civil war against the government) and help keep the peace. Now the government had collapsed UN peacekeepers had been murdered by government troops and they were being explicitly told by what remained of Rwanda's political regime to leave, so most UN personnel were evacuated. They had failed in their mandate, and were in great personal danger if they stayed. The decision is entirely understandable. The worst part of it is the way it was conducted, and the impacted it had on people on the ground.

So now we have a problem. Simply giving the remaining troops on the ground a strong mandate would have been suicidal. They are not space marines. They could not have fought a single handed war against the government, several paramilitary groups, and much of the civilian population of the country. Worse, by doing so they would have endangered the livers of other foreign observers, peacekeepers and workers who did not have the protection of military force. When we're talking about the need for a strong mandate, we're talking about actually deploying a taskforce which could have enforced that mandate.

But again, the genocide lasted around a hundred days, and was not particularly obvious to those outside of Rwanda because, again, it was highly decentralized and involved so many individual actors. In order to stop the genocide happening, we're expecting the UN to pull together a task force capable of invading a toppling a country, and somehow protecting all its population across an area of tens of thousands of square kilometers within a few hours. Now, it's possible such a force could have been assembled within a hundred days, but again, this wouldn't have prevented the genocide. It might, at best, have saved some people, and it might have led to the deaths of considerably more people by simply introducing another actor in the conflict.

Because this isn't a simple conflict. It isn't the same as "Hutus bad, Tutsis good". The murdered president and prime minister of Rwanda were Hutus, the people who probably murdered the former (the RPF, although they deny responsibility to this day) were Tutsis. The RPF were at the time renowned for being thoroughly unpleasant paramilitaries. They killed civilians too. Heck, the time since the RPF took power in Rwanda has not been without political repression, ethnic violence and the murder of civilians. In the broader context, the genocide in Rwanda was a small but very intense period in a much larger civil war in which both sides have behaved atrociously. Let's say the UN had toppled the government, put the RPF in power. What happens next? What happens to the Hutu majority in the country who are now under the rule of a Tutsi nationalist group who, only a few years earlier, was murdering them, but which now has the support of the UN?

So yes, the UN could potentially have saved more people with a stronger mandate and bigger intervention, and it's easy to have sympathy with those UN observers on the ground who were desperately asking for a stronger mandate and were let down by the security council. But those people didn't have the whole story, and it's quite possible they were wrong. It's quite possible that serious intervention in Rwanda would have been a disaster, that it would have lead to civil war and bloodied the reputation of the UN forever. We can't know, and those at the time certainly couldn't have known.

Again, not every genocide is the holocaust. While genocide itself is always atrocious, it's not always politically simple and it doesn't always have a politically simple solution (other than the participants agreeing not to be total dicks, which has already failed if genocide is on the table).

Roosevelt's "world police" idea for the UN was always naive. The US was a nation founded on colonial genocide. The UK invented the concentration camp. The USSR shipped its political dissidents off to siberia and China (Roosevelt meant the republic of China) was literally killing many of its own army conscripts by force marching them to conscription centres without food or supplies. There is no nation on this planet which is actually fit to police the world, at best all of them working together might be, but then you have the issue of creating political agreement and avoiding paralysis. Sounds a lot like the UN.

Thaluikhain:
Not sure what/who you mean here. Do you have examples of other, better organisations that are being pushed aside by the UN?

When the UN takes a "nah, it'll be right" attitude towards intervention, it prevents the likes of NATO being able to intervene without taking criticism under the whole "western imperialism" malarkey. Or, you know, Russia.

I am not calling them better organisations to intervene (although due to their actual military structure and powers, they almost certainly are from a purely practical perspective), just generally more willing organisations.

Catnip1024:
When the UN takes a "nah, it'll be right" attitude towards intervention, it prevents the likes of NATO being able to intervene without taking criticism under the whole "western imperialism" malarkey. Or, you know, Russia.

NATO is a security treaty.

Did the situation in Rwanda threaten the security of any of NATOs member states?

Not to mention, decisions in NATO are taken by consensus. All 29 members of NATO have to agree before the organisation as a whole can make a decision.

Like, the idea of a globally proactive or interventionist NATO is far, far more absurd than the idea of a globally proactive or interventionist UN. The UN's various organs at least have an executive of sorts and a vaguely democratic means of making decisions which doesn't rely on absolute consensus.

Like, if what you want is Team America to go around beating up all the (questionably) bad guys on behalf of (questionably) good guys, NATO is not your solution. I'm not sure there even is a solution which would work politically, because the use of modern military force on a global scale is incredibly expensive and incredibly destructive and any nation willing to use it probably expects something in return.

I think, long term, the future probably lies in regional security operations funded globally. AMISOM (the African Union mission to Somalia) has had some problems, but has been able to maintain a peacekeeping presence in the country for 10 years with the help of global funding. By contrast, US intervention in Somalia, if anyone remembers, was such a disaster that it played a major role in galvanizing US opinion against further intervention until 9/11 (including Rwanda, where the US was absolutely committed to non-intervention). I suspect this is more indicative of the shape of things to come, especially as it's become increasingly clear (again) that short term military intervention doesn't generally help.

Catnip1024:
When the UN takes a "nah, it'll be right" attitude towards intervention, it prevents the likes of NATO being able to intervene without taking criticism under the whole "western imperialism" malarkey. Or, you know, Russia.

It's not within NATO's remit to run military actions unless there is a threat to a NATO country.

NATO intervened in Yugoslavia and Libya on the rationale of security risks due to destabilised regions on NATO borders, in Afghanistan under the rationale 9/11 was a military attack on a NATO country, and against Somalian Piracy due to the high volume of Western trade affected.

Not only that, but all were broadly carried out as enforcement supporting UN resolutions.

evilthecat:
snip

Agema:
snip

Yes. But the point is, NATO is more than happy to intervene due to such pretexts. As the world becomes more globalised, such pretexts become easier to generate. Look at the current migration issue, for instance - one could fairly easily justify intervening in originating countries if it was considered likely to reduce the migration numbers.

Yes, the African Union does a good job. Largely because they have to, because the UN (particularly the security council members) has no real interest in getting involved with the quagmire that is African conflicts. For good reason.

Also, out of minor quibbling, the Iraq War was not endorsed by the UN, and was explicitly condemned by Kofi Annan. I also can't remember explicit endorsement of Afghanistan. And Syrian resolutions were largely vetoed by Russia.

Catnip1024:
Yes. But the point is, NATO is more than happy to intervene due to such pretexts. As the world becomes more globalised, such pretexts become easier to generate. Look at the current migration issue, for instance - one could fairly easily justify intervening in originating countries if it was considered likely to reduce the migration numbers.

On what level does this possibly make sense?

Firstly, why would NATO members want to stop migration? If there was some kind of actual reason why this was a good idea, they could do so very easily just by making it illegal to claim asylum, or ceasing distribution of visas. Of course, that would actually be a terrible idea economically and diplomatically, which is why noone does it.

Secondly, military intervention can cost trillions of dollars. More importantly, it can cost trillions of dollars and still fail dramatically, as we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan. There will not be political will for another military intervention for a generation precisely because it has proven, as it always does, to be a truly, truly terrible idea. It wouldn't matter if migration really was the terrible economic scourge conservative voters like to pretend, it still wouldn't be worth trying to stop it with military intervention.

And finally, let's address the very obvious fact that sending military forces into regions armed with fuel air bombs and white phosphorous tends to make people leave.

Catnip1024:
Yes, the African Union does a good job. Largely because they have to, because the UN (particularly the security council members) has no real interest in getting involved with the quagmire that is African conflicts. For good reason.

Well, AMISOM is a UN approved mission. Much of its funding comes from those security council members, which is kind of my point. Projecting power and military force around the world is very, very expensive. Projecting power regionally is much less expensive. It makes sense for the African Union countries to supply the military forces for African peacekeeping missions (assuming they have the manpower, which is currently a problem with several serious peacekeeping situations in Africa) because they can do so cheaply and more responsively, but they need funding and support to do so. The UN and its members can provide that kind of support without needing some kind of bizarre global anti-stuff-the-UN-doesn't-like government toppling task force with a nebulous mandate and questionable legitimacy.

evilthecat:
On what level does this possibly make sense?

Firstly, why would NATO members want to stop migration? If there was some kind of actual reason why this was a good idea, they could do so very easily just by making it illegal to claim asylum, or ceasing distribution of visas. Of course, that would actually be a terrible idea economically and diplomatically, which is why noone does it.

Because the current numbers are unsustainable and cause discontent? Hence all the schemes attempting to encourage people to return home?

If the argument goes that we must allow the flow of refugees because their current conditions are so dangerous, then logically the solution would be to remove that danger. In whatever form that took.

I'm not saying it should be done. I am saying that it would be easy to justify a war through it if desired.

Catnip1024:
Because the current numbers are unsustainable and cause discontent? Hence all the schemes attempting to encourage people to return home?

If the argument goes that we must allow the flow of refugees because their current conditions are so dangerous, then logically the solution would be to remove that danger. In whatever form that took.

I'm not saying it should be done. I am saying that it would be easy to justify a war through it if desired.

How does that make sense? Military escalation creates more refugees in the first place. Moreover it encourages even greater dispersion of the native populace given diplomatic efforts have failed and suddenly a whole lot of humanitarian aid workers have to be redeployed from providing direct support to communities within those borders, often to refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

Moreover, why the fuck would we wish to transform the UN into an imperialist warmachine?

Not all war is bad. It's merely that at its 'best' morally deleterious. "War because 'dem im-grants..." does not represent a moral argument of casus belli, and frankly it's purely back-ass-wards nonsense. It's pure stupidity, and it's bigoted stupidity at that.

Let's say you have a certain a certain dictator and the people finally rise up against them ... do we then assassinate core rebel leadership and bolster the forces of a government that no longer has the will of the people? After all, that was the UN mission statement in Rwanda, side with government forces and oversee the ceasefire... and the situation dissolved into chaos the second a politician was destroyed.

Regardless of the situation, war has never really proven itself very conducive to bolstering the civilian populace. It tends to lead to a whole lot of displaced, wounded, shell-shocked people who will carry that trauma for a generation.

Catnip1024:
Because the current numbers are unsustainable and cause discontent?

Unsustainable. Nope. Hell nope. So much nope. I think this shows how little grasp people sometimes have of the sheer size (both in human terms and GDP) of many NATO members. Like, the cost of a few million people subsisting, even if they can't or won't work, is not a problem. It never will be a problem. And this is without considering the potential for long term economic growth, which is ultimately a very good thing.

Causes discontent. Possibly, but that's what scapegoats do, isn't it? It's not actually a problem, because even if everyone hates the scapegoat, that merely shows the scapegoat is working and thus it's useful to have them around. Conservative parties have been getting elected on this shit for generations now, but they (the smart ones at least) know it's nonsense. People don't like foreigners, people find it easier to believe that foreigners are stealing all their money somehow than that income inequality has risen consistently since the mid-70s.

People at the turn of the century genuinely thought that Irish (and Eastern European, and Jewish) migration would destroy the USA. It was nonsense, it's always been nonsense. It's a good game to play if you want to get elected, though.

Catnip1024:
If the argument goes that we must allow the flow of refugees because their current conditions are so dangerous, then logically the solution would be to remove that danger. In whatever form that took.

I don't really see how creating additional dangers accomplishes that.

Catnip1024:
Yes. But the point is, NATO is more than happy to intervene due to such pretexts.

NATO is quite like the UN. In the sense it reflects the interests of its members, with more power and influence in the hands of the more powerful members.

When we say "NATO is more than happy..." it usually means the USA is more than happy, and major European states are inclined to comply, or alternatively that European nations are more than happy, and the USA is content to support them. Let's bear in mind, for instance, that several European nations (including the UK) vigorously resisted the Bosnian intervention: the US made a considerable effort to convince them. In Iraq, NATO pointedly told the USA it was on its own.

As the world becomes more globalised, such pretexts become easier to generate. Look at the current migration issue, for instance - one could fairly easily justify intervening in originating countries if it was considered likely to reduce the migration numbers.

And, partly as per the above, I'm not sure what point you are making here. NATO is not a single-minded entity, and ust because a country says something is a threat does not mean other members are compelled to agree. And if NATO really wants to do something, it can do it no matter what the UN says. So what exactly is the problem?

Also, out of minor quibbling, the Iraq War was not endorsed by the UN, and was explicitly condemned by Kofi Annan.

And NATO did not take part; although some of its members did on their own. NATO did help train the rebuilding Iraqi army, however.

And Syrian resolutions were largely vetoed by Russia.

NATO has not officially taken part in military actions in Syria, although all its members took part to some degree on their own individual initiative. There are about a dozen UN resolutions involving Syria; at least one concerns use of chemical weapons which legalises use of force. Not entirely uncoincidentally, it was after the first of those chemical weapons related resolutions that the USA started dropping bombs.

Agema:
And, partly as per the above, I'm not sure what point you are making here. NATO is not a single-minded entity, and ust because a country says something is a threat does not mean other members are compelled to agree. And if NATO really wants to do something, it can do it no matter what the UN says. So what exactly is the problem?

This being back to the original point, having a theoretical higher power which is placing itself as though it has the ability to intervene leads to the arguments that lesser powers should not therefore intervene - they represent a lower proportion of the globe, they should not have to shoulder such a burden when nobody else can be arsed, imperialism / colonialism etc. The relative reluctance of the UN to do things despite positioning itself as the authority to do so, for better or worse reduces any chance of intervention.

Catnip1024:

Agema:
And, partly as per the above, I'm not sure what point you are making here. NATO is not a single-minded entity, and ust because a country says something is a threat does not mean other members are compelled to agree. And if NATO really wants to do something, it can do it no matter what the UN says. So what exactly is the problem?

This being back to the original point, having a theoretical higher power which is placing itself as though it has the ability to intervene leads to the arguments that lesser powers should not therefore intervene - they represent a lower proportion of the globe, they should not have to shoulder such a burden when nobody else can be arsed, imperialism / colonialism etc. The relative reluctance of the UN to do things despite positioning itself as the authority to do so, for better or worse reduces any chance of intervention.

Except the UN doesn't have the ability to do things such as intervening without quite a bit of lead time and a significant amount of resources, troops, materials, etc. There is no standing UN military force ready for interventions. The UN is not a military organization and keeps no stock of the materials needed for any type of operation.

Alliances such as NATO and the African Union, on the other hand, do keep standing military forces that can be (relatively) quickly deployed to areas of operations.

The UN has never presented itself as an organization that operates in that type of capacity precisely because it doesn't have the logistics to support such a thing except in the most dire of consequences. The UN can lend credibility and political cover to nations and groups that wish to step into crises zones though; that is its function. It can, if necessary, organize peacekeeping forces with the support of member countries, but there are only very specific roles that such a deployment would be effective in.

Avnger:
The UN has never presented itself as an organization that operates in that type of capacity precisely because it doesn't have the logistics to support such a thing except in the most dire of consequences. The UN can lend credibility and political cover to nations and groups that wish to step into crises zones though; that is its function. It can, if necessary, organize peacekeeping forces with the support of member countries, but there are only very specific roles that such a deployment would be effective in.

Except that, right from its origins, it did intervene. Look at the Congo in the 60s. Yes, through the forces supplied by other nations. But that doesn't discount it from being an effective military force. With the potential, by its very presence in a region, to vastly reduce war crimes if the will to stop them exists.

It tends not to actively invade a hostile region, no. But you have to pretty much have nothing to lose to be in a position to reject UN observers / peacekeeping forces. It's not exactly resembling the actions of a non-guilty party.

The permanent UN security council members will veto anything they don't like. I believe it would be better if everyone got into an international bloc base in a region they are in, and police themselves.

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