Which Future for the United Nations?
The current situation with a multitude of crises, with strong threats from Islamic terrorism and with the strongest refugee movement since the Second World War, cries out for strong peace-giving activities of the United Nations and for this reason the self-inflicted blockade and paralysis of the world community must finally be overcome.
This can only be achieved with fundamental reforms which have been initiated long time ago but have not been pushed forward by the General Assembly of the UN yet.
- Short before UN-General-Secretary Guterres took office he had a meeting with former US- Secretary of State John Kerry to enhance the cooperation between the UN and the USA in order to improve the in many aspects unsatisfactory world security situation. Obviously Guterres believes that a deepened partnership with the USA is decisive to solve global crises and to protect human rights as well as to reach peace and security in the world.
- Guterres has ample experience with the often unsuccessful endeavours of the UN to solve problems and one might hope that being in charge he will fight very hard for solutions rather than clutching at such a doubtful straw only.
- Quite sure, the USA will continue to be nominally the world´s one and only superpower and the leader of the democratic western community with a very strong potential to execute political and military influence.
- But at the time the US do not really make use of that potential and lose ground to Russia, for instance in Syria, and to China in the Pacific. In Afghanistan NATO, led by the USA is not successful either.
- This threatening situation will obviously not change with the nationalistic Trump-Administration. By isolating the US the political influence will slowly fade away. The United States are tired of peace-keeping and peace-making worldwide and unfortunately at present do not match the responsibilities of the one and only superpower.
There are many reasons for that. With the unjustified intervention in the Iraq the USA have created an almost failed state and left the country behind in a chaotic status. By that intervention, the USA have again – after Vietnam – damaged their moral reputation as superpower.
The political efforts of the USA to settle the conflict between Israel and Palestine failed once and again. When trying to settle the war in Syria the USA were confronted with the aggressive pro-Assad policy and strong military action of Russia that prevented a political and military success by the USA.
Fighting the IS-Terror with a coalition of the willing was not too successful either, because the USA lacked a workable strategy and failed to stop the “partner” Turkey to follow its very own agenda against the Kurds. In a nutshell one can say that the USA failed as a superpower in the Middle East for more than a decade.
And in the Pacific the USA are confronted with China, that wants to become a superpower, not being able to prevent China from producing facts in the Southern-Chinese-Sea. And now President Trump stopped TPP and thus provided a wide political and economic gap which will soon be filled by China. And what we can understand about the Trump-policy so far allows no good perspective for the future.
This by far not complete description of the reduced ability of the USA to act as superpower shows clearly that a deepened partnership between the UN and the USA alone will not be a real recipe to solve global problems.
Because the reason for the lacking capability of acting is not only the reduced potential of the superpower USA but also the overcome and obsolete structure and organization of the UN-security council and the increasing nationalistic action of three veto-powers USA, Russia and China who block each other for years, for instance in the Syria-conflict or concerning developments in the Israel-Palestine-conflict.
An improvement of the political relationships between these three of the five veto-powers cannot be expected.
That is why the UN, and most urgently the UN-security council, have to be reorganized.
- For a start the right to veto should be taken away from the five powers
- The members of the security council should be elected by the General Assembly for given periods of time and the basis for decisions and action should be the majority vote.
That would considerably help to increase the effectiveness of the UN.
The current situation with a multitude of crises, with strong threats from Islamic terrorism and with the strongest refugee movement since the Second World War, cries out for strong and efficient peace-giving activities of the UN and for this reason the self-inflicted blockade and paralysis of the world community must finally be overcome.
This can only be achieved with fundamental reforms which have been initiated long time ago but have not been pushed forward by the General Assembly of the UN.
With such reforms, the UN could show that they no longer want to tolerate for instance Syria-vetos from Russia to block a policy of the international community, based on peace, democratic values and humanitarian goals. And only with such reforms the United Nations can regain their credibility and capability for humanitarian and peace-creating actions.
The UN General Assembly seems ready to make changes, for example, Russia was not re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council in October 2016.
Such a first bold step should be followed by more bold and challenging reforms.
And the USA should reconsider the starting isolation-policy and should try to regain the reputation of a responsible superpower in support of the UN.
That does not mean that the USA should pay that large of a bill than in the past. The European Union has to burden quite a bigger share.
Without the US-support the UN will have no bright future.
In this respect General Secretary Guterres is right in believing that a deepened partnership with the USA is decisive to solve global crises and to protect human rights as well as to reach peace and security in the world.
But without reorganization and reform of the UN this partnership wil not be as effective as required.