Monday, March 05, 2012

What is the purpose?

The Independent, to its credit, conveys the condemnation by Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the 66th elected president of the UN General Assembly, of his own organisation.

The United Nations, he says, "must urgently reform to stay relevant in a world facing unprecedented conflicts and is not fit for purpose", and that "the ability of five countries to veto Security Council decisions was no longer credible and the outdated system was endangering international peace and security".

Al-Nasser is treading on dangerous ground here, as it is the veto which makes the difference between an intergovernmental organisation and a supranational government. It was the lack of veto in the League of Nations which led Jean Monnet to look for an alternative structure, and the emergence of qualified majority voting, on which the EU largely depends.

Whatever the current limitations, the prospect of a UN constructed on the same basis as the EU is not a road down which we want to go. Therein lies another major step towards the establishment of a world government.

Such considerations actually beg the question as to what the UN is for. Al-Nassar is looking at the organisation in the context of its traditional peace-keeping role, but as Dellers points out in his book Watermellons, there is far more to the UN than this.

In fact, it is through subsidiary bodies like the UNEP, the UNFCCC and the IPCC, that the real power of the UN is exercised, making the traditional peacekeeping operations a minor part of the total operation.

Via Watermellons we actually get a very much clearer idea of where the UN is headed, with its grandiose and sinister ambitions for world governance. Whether, with his call for the abolition of the veto, that casts Al-Nassar as a useful fool, or a Machiavellian plotter, is moot, but the one thing we really cannot afford is a UN without that veto.

However, we can agree with Al-Nassar that the UN is not "fit for purpose". Perhaps, then, the more important question is whether we can (or should) afford a UN at all, or whether we should abolish it entirely.