The following was written by Saswat Pattanayak, www.saswat.com, on January 1, 2007
Today marks the beginning of a new era. The demise of United Nations as we ever knew it. With Kofi Annan, the last conscience keeper of the largest global association formally retiring yesterday, the hopes that the UN has some utilities any longer are tarnished.
Far from being skeptical, this is perhaps a desired opinion. After all, do we really need a United Nations that functions as a casino for a few fraud whitejackers—those conmen who own the place and its crooked tables?
The UN has been converted into the League of Nations of 21st Century. Like the Axis powers using the League to further their war goals, the UN is being categorically used these days for the mere purpose of legitimizing imperialist war as “democratic” crusades.
I recently visited the UN Headquarters to pay my tribute to the rich legacy it inherited from ‘The Declaration of the United Nations’ signed exactly 65 years ago, on January 1, 1942. Comrade Stalin, the then Time Magazine ‘Man of the Year’ and the most celebrated icon in the US for having stopped Hitler, had initiated the idea of creating a global peacemaking organization. And much as Einstein’s expressed desire, the major powers—Soviet Union, United States and United Kingdom—assumed responsibility of their actions to shape a global organization. The idea would subsequently be furthered by internationalists in Africa and Asia, from Robeson to Nasser to Nehru. Peace and sovereignty proved to be the foundations of this high and unique ideal.
Not anymore, sad as it may sound. The relevance of the UN as a pillar of global conscience had waned since three decades now, with revisionism within communist bloc and resignations among non-aligned front. Sovereignty of independent states no more featured on the UN agenda. And consequently, annihilation of peace concept at the alter of destroying sovereignty took precedence.
But what is worse now is that even the foundations have changed. The UN ideals have been replaced while an American ally takes over as new Secretary General today (after competing with other petty candidates, most prominently the Indian representative Shashi Tharoor—that infamous SaiBaba and sly Godmen promoter). South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-moon ends up joining a UN that’s based on sycophancy, wars and unipolarism, as best exhibited by the veto powers vested in the hands of its Security Council that’s no more than a conglomerate of power abusing business empires. Ban Ki-moon is the famous chair of the CTBTO (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) commission that has binding effects on all the countries, save for the rogue powerful nations. In fact, it is to get North Korea to sign the treaty, that such a commission was founded. But will he be able to force the US to at least ratify the treaty? Seemingly, it will be quite the contrary. The US is not North Korea, after all. So, the Security Council thought Ban Ki-moon was the only contestant who did not need a veto against him.
And no wonder, the UN today is not just a replica of failure to keep peace and uphold sovereignty, but has been reduced to become an instrument of nepotism for the European-American chamber of UN council that legitimizes international and illegal aggressions.
A result of such nepotism, Kofi Annan, in his farewell speech last month clearly emphasized his ignorance about how the peace processes work. Annan placed beautifully his naïve arguments and vast hearsay rhetoric all the while as he stood silently for the wars to tear apart the world in last 10 years of his tenure. None should be surprised. Annan had got it entirely wrong. After all, he was nominated to play his role, after the make-believe showdown between the US and France got over in terms of their chosen one.
In the speech, he began by eulogizing Truman who according to him was the force behind the United Nations. That’s because Annan looked up a lame history textbook to trace the year the UN was founded formally. And 1945 was Truman’s time. Alas, while paying tribute to Truman, Annan forgot that the UN was planned since long time by Stalin and FDR and Churchill, much before Truman had any such idea. Instead Truman was only six months into his presidentship when UN was formed in ’45, and indeed he was the man behind the downfall of UN ideals.
Annan recollects: “Truman’s name will for ever be associated with the memory of far-sighted American leadership in a great global endeavor.”
He conveniently forgets that Truman Doctrine, the infamous anti-communist propaganda lies, was the cornerstone of UN fallibility. Not to mention his legacy of usage of Atom Bomb, not to end the World War II, but to herald the so-called Cold War. Truman was not the “master-builder” of the United Nations, as Annan recollects. Rather, he was the master-builder of a war fanatic organization called North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the elite association of war mongers that he founded in 1949, that would subsequently prove nemesis to the ideals of the United Nations and land UN in such a precarious condition today.
Kofi Annan, the last failed secretary general also misread the history of UN role in peacekeeping, which is why, his own attempts at curbing assaults on Iraq despite WMD myths failed pathetically. According to Annan, Marshall Plan the hateful red-scare treaty was a success, and not just that, the Korean War was an instance of wisdom!
Dangerous omission of critical historical knowledge leads us to pathetic leaderships. The lip-serviced fashionable criticism of American hegemony is far from the desired objective. Despite Annan’s farewell speech being nothing more than a glorification of Truman legacies, the mainstream media portrayed that as critical of America’s stance in Iraq. This is utter ridiculous. At any stretch of imagination, if Truman was right, as the two-term secretary general would point out, then I wonder where did the Bush regimes go wrong.
UN needs not just leaderships that have astute knowledge of world history and processes of war and peace, but also great visionaries who can implement changes on accords of social justice. Not stooges of an elite club of capitalists and neo-liberal bullshitters on the elite security council.
At the very least, the veto powers of these powers have to go, now that these 15 members have proved themselves to be perfectly incapable of holding a moral position of authority with their shrewd, cruel and crude methods at handling Iraq to mention just the latest, and the democratization must begin. UN must be tuned to actually prevent wars, withdraw engaged troops, collect arrears from defaulting countries (the US tops the list with $1.25 billion default) and radically engage in returning the lands to the landless (in much of Africa and Asia where the populations have been evacuated and countries have been forced into debt traps).
Else, it has to go. We urgently need to replace this League of United Nations. If we don’t want to see another series of inactions perpetuating mass scale imperialistic wars, then the time to act is now.
Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.