The President is so close to being right, I hope he doesn't blow it with a US go-it-alone policy. Congressman Chris Stewart spoke at my son's high school yesterday and said that the US has a duty to be the world's policeman. I told my boy that I think our Congressman wants to have you all as soldiers. "I kind of got that idea," was my youngest's response. We have to stop people like Chris Stewart.
You may find it surprising, but my ideal for international intervention is what George H. W. Bush did. Sadam invaded Kuwait. US went to Security Council. US lead a true coalition of a multinational force for a limited objective of removing Iraq from Kuwait. Iraq suffered devastating military loss and left Kuwait. Iraq lobbed missiles at Israel for no good reason except to break up Arab states in coalition. US & others destroy Iraqi missile capabilities. Multinational force went home. (Except we didn't quite go home. We set up military bases in Saudi Arabia with Saudi consent. And that helped triggered the brutal plan for 9/11 in bin laden's warped brain.)
A blog piece is far to short to go through the history and successes (and many failures) of the United Nations. I just cling to the idea that blessed peacemakers are going to be acknowledged by the Lord for at least trying. It's seems better to me than the go-it-alone self-righteousness of a nation with no legitimate basis to set itself up as anointed to police the earth.
At a minimum, the UN has served as a forum to shout whatever nonsense a nation's leader wants from pounding a shoe "We will bury you!" (they didn't) to the saner and braver demand of Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, "Don't wait for the translation! Yes, or no!" The bottom line being, we have not blown up the world when we've had the capability to do so in the last 60 or so years!!
The General Assembly is for showmanship and resolutions with no enforcement power--and some expressions of international good will, at times. The real challenge is to work the Security Council, the part of the UN with the power to engage in military "peace-keeping" actions. Here's a basic rundown of the current composition:
The Council is composed of 15 Members:
- five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States,
- and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term date):
Because the five permanent members each have a veto, it's a tricky diplomatic challenge. Right now, no one is supporting ISIL (that sprang up during turmoil in Syria and Iraq). And the President is right that it neither a nation state nor a reflection of religious Islam. But Russia is still supporting Assad in Syria. Russia and China have significant ethnic Muslim peoples within and adjacent to their borders so they have real interests in putting down Islamic fanaticism. Jordan certainly has a direct interest in addressing the threats and actions of ISIL. Here's hoping that the Security Council will authorize us some good.
Sometimes, other collective security organizations recognized by the UN have acted without UN sanction as in Bosnia and Kosovo as the Russians were not interested in challenging their Slavic cousins in Serbia. And that one worked too with Milosovich ending up before the International Court of Justice for war crimes - crimes committed against ethnic Muslims.
It is interesting that the same right-wing conservatives in the US who promote US unilateral action as the world's policemen generally have no use for the UN. Some even obsess on bizarro conspiracy theories of world domination by the UN. Yet, the UN Charter acknowledges the sovereignty of each member nation.
My ultimate point is that we can do so much better. I am not an isolationist. The United States has an important role in the world. And the United Nations is the best tool we have. Shame on those who wish to force religious or nationalistic ideologies on others! Even Hope in Christ--the Hope I have is that nations can live in peace respecting differences. And they don't all have to be Christian. And they aren't going to hell if they're not! (See Russel M. Nelson, Oct. 2002).
|Brazilian soldiers under United Nations flag in Haiti
"All we are saying is, 'Give Peace a Chance'"