The UN: So unfit for purpose, it couldn’t sort out a schoolyard scrap

If most folk were asked to name a list of the world’s most influential statesmen, Recep Erdogan’s would hardly trip off the tongue.

Yet, as boss of the religiously orthodox AK Justice & Development Party and Turkish Prime Minister for nine years, he heads one of the world’s few, fully-fledged Islamic democracies (and a NATO member), so his is a siren voice worth listening to every once in a while.

Erdogan’s had his moments of controversy, notably refusing to fess up to Turkey’s genocide of a million Armenians in 1915. And his backing of the misnamed ‘Peace Flotillas’, crewed by the usual, useful idiots – which tried to breach Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza, in situ to stop Iranian munitions reaching the Hamas terrorist-run enclave – went down like a manky kebab with most of his Western friends.

Nonetheless, following Turkey’s long experience of Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, Erdogan knows much about how and why the region has disintegrated into the powder keg it is today and he can read the ominous runes better than most.

Which is why he recently gave the imperiously inept United Nations – especially the blustering, disjointed Security Council – a piece of his mind, singling out Syria in particular and charging, ‘The UN is losing its credibility by turning a blind eye to what is happening [there]. It is a human tragedy.’

With countless refuges escaping the loathsome Assad regime to camps over the Turkish border and Syrian artillery firing into Turkey – five Turks died and 11 were injured in a recent fusillade – Erdogan is articulating what the West has thought of the discredited UN for decades, but has been too timid to say so.

Meanwhile, he’s ordered his army to retaliate, if further provoked, amid fears the Assads, prompted by the Armageddon-seekers of neighbouring Iran, could escalate the conflict into an all-out, Shiite-versus-Sunni clash – not dissimilar to how ‘a little local difficulty’ in the Balkans, in 1914, ignited the Great War.

Syria, though, is only the tip of an explosive sand-dune and there’s no doubt Erdogan has an agenda to reprise Ottoman-style hegemony over the Middle East.

But he’s right in fingering UN culpability – and the botched peace mission of ex-UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to Damascus – in allowing the inter-religious civil war, said to have cost tens of thousands of lives to date, to rage on.

UN KNOCKER: Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan says the organisation is ‘losing credibility’

In reality, the UN General Assembly has become a soapbox for fully paid-up members of the nutters’ club, like Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And the Security Council couldn’t sort out a scrap in a kindergarten schoolyard, while Putin’s Russia supports the indefensible Assads and amoral China couldn’t care a toss, so long as it can continue selling arms to anyone who pays.

Meanwhile, in the odd moments the UN does secure a flimsy degree of unanimity, its ineffectual, ‘Blue Helmet’ peacekeepers too often turn a mess into a downright catastrophe.

Witness the cock-ups they contrived in the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, not forgetting their abject failure to police the Second Congo War or intervene in the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre.

Failure, in fact, seems to be what the UN excels at when it sends in its bovver boys. Because, among other malfunctions, they failed to deliver food to the starving in strife-torn Somalia and prevent mass murder in Darfur.

And the peacekeepers haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory in other ways, having been accused of corruption, black-marketeering, drug-running and multiple sex crimes during missions to the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Sudan, what’s now South Sudan, Burundi and Cote d’Ivoire.

Not that those at the very crest of the UN always set a shining example of probity.

UN FAILURE? As Secretary General, Kofi Annan was rebuked in probe into the 2005 Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal that implicated his son, Kojo

Remember the 2005 probe into the Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal – said to have personally netted Saddam Hussein $1.7-billion in kickbacks – when holier-than-thou Secretary General Annan was rebuked over suspicions he steered lucrative contracts to a Swiss company that coincidentally employed his son, Kojo.

As counterpoints, the UN has sired some outstanding agencies under its umbrella, notably the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Educational Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Shamefully, the same can’t be said of the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Hijacked by West-bashers and harboring a vicious obsession against democratic Israel, it was once chaired by Gaddafi-ruled Libya and even founded a ‘human rights prize’ named in honour of the late, unlamented, homicidal maniac (how daft can the UN get, I hear you ask).

So Erdogan’s accusation that the organisation charged with bolstering world piece ‘is losing its credibility’ is somewhat passé. Because it already has.

Now comprising an unwieldy 193 nations, many with historic animus toward one another, maybe it’s high time the UN reminded itself of its original charter commitments – especially the wee bit which states, ‘Human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear.’

Because if members refuse to adhere to those noble principles, they shouldn’t be in the club in the first place – or the United Nations is a misnomer and not fit for purpose.

Take your pick, as 60s TV quizmaster Michael Miles would say.

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16 thoughts on “The UN: So unfit for purpose, it couldn’t sort out a schoolyard scrap

  1. S.C. says:

    I share your suspicion towards the UN – it definitely has dropped the ball more often than not. The whole dilemma you bring up about undemocratic nations joining would be present in any “united nations” organization, though. Otherwise, it would have to be a “democratic nations” organization, which would probably have its own unique problems.

    Still, as you say, the UN has done some good. I don’t know a lot about the modern UNHCR, but I know that without UNRWA, my family would have likely had a much harder time of it when they moved to Lebanon as refugees in the 40s.

    Erdogan is an interesting figure, and I hope he can do some good in the region. The last time I was in Lebanon for a visit a couple of years ago, I saw Turkish flags flying in some of the neighborhoods of Sidon and Beirut – in the very country that chafed under Ottoman rule not a hundred years ago.

  2. Very big topics, it’s great to hear someone shed more light on it. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  3. Ajay Kaul says:

    I think it has already lost credibility with just a few credible organizations under it. Interestingly going to the UN is considered a timid act in some political circles across the globe. So the question is – why are we still funding it?

  4. segmation says:

    Interesting blog. I bet many people don’t even know who Erdogan is!

  5. cartoonmick says:

    Well presented, Hugh.

    A toothless tiger could win a scrap with the UN. The original concept may have been an honorable one, but it has morphed into a corrupt marshmallow with no calorific value, which soaks up billions of dollars whilst doing nothing effective.

    If only I could get a contract with the UN. I could do nothing for a lot less and save them millions in the process.

    It needs to be demolished and replaced with an effective body, but that won’t happen while there is no will, combined with the wrong politicians in power around the globe.

    http://cartoonmick.wordpress.com/editorial-political/#jp-carousel-415

    Cheers

    Mick

  6. Interesting post. I agree that the UN has lost some crediblity, but I hardly think the West can blame it–it’s [the Western world, particularly the United States’] fault! The UN bends to the will of the USA and the other countries that donate the most money. THat being said, Erdogan is right about some things, and I admire that he is willing to turn his troops away from Syria should Syria advance in order to avoid outright war. That’s peace!

  7. roopost says:

    The UN is an obligation nations either need to get behind or scrap. Lacking the ability to act independently of its member states, it will never rise to become a useful agent. And, it is even more profoundly likely the member states will not surrender any sovereignty to permit them to do so. Thus, it is a useless talking shop, possessed of minor sub-groups of kind hearted secular charity and preservation groups. What a shame.

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  9. superkingdom says:

    things to think about

  10. dlaiden says:

    I most certainly agree with you; I don’t trust the UN at all after their failure with Syria. For how many months now have they been issuing useless and ineffective ultimatums? How many people have to die until something is done? Too many. They keep silent because they are scared of Russia, but if all those countries under their organisation really consider themselves a “united nation” why don’t they band together and act?

  11. fredphillips says:

    Excellent blog. The UN, like all forms of government, is another clear example of the unfortunate fact that we live in a society that doesn’t feel good about itself. Where people continually put personal gain ahead of the collective good. We need a peaceful resolution in Syria, because we unequivocally cannot have a repeat of 1914.

  12. Syria?

    It was a mis-drawn line in the sand. And it was drawn badly, because everyone was in a hurry to move the French out before they had raped the country of all of its little wealth.

    As for Turkey?

    A broken clock is right every now and then. Just do not depend on it.

    ghost.

    PS – great job on being pressed.

  13. Reblogged this on thewordpressghost and commented:
    And what are your thoughts?

    Is the UN a debacle? That is what Hugh Ash tells us in his blog? Stop by and read up on what he said.

    Tell me if you agree or disagree?

    ghost.

  14. obsidianfactory says:

    Most organizations fail to do what they are assigned to do. And most democracies are failures to their populations and people elsewhere.

  15. United Nation should declare it’s bankruptcy . UN lost world’s respect.Jalal

  16. caganc6 says:

    ı am from turkey and ı am happy to heart somebody is thinking
    Whats going on between Syria and Turkey border and also UN do noting. this is my opinion : this process is going to be a wordt problem and it will affect other places of th world.
    And no Un isnt debacle…they are off the beam and they dont want to do anything .. only bla bla bla

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