Saturday, July 12, 2008

The United Nations - what is the point?

There is nothing wrong with international co-operation, indeed, it has to be seen as a Good thing. But the latest little wheeze, where those sterlking democracies of Russia and China used their veto to prevent economic action being taken against Zimbabwe, displays to me that this organisation is toothless and quire possibly entirely redundant.

Mock-democratic oligarchies such as Russia and the Chinese dictatorship - soon to be given ample publicity by way of the Olympics (in which all who compete should be thoroughly ashamed) making decisions on behalf of the international community - not worth the paper they are written on, all told.

Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and the mining corporations Anglo American and Rio Tinto have decided to stay in Zimbabwe. Given the past actions of Barclays, the Apartheid bank, and RTZ, who can be in the least surprised?


Ted Harvey said...

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I'd say that this whole issue reflects an ongoing and growing crisis of world governance. The United Nations cannot work in the way intended, not because of the chicanery of the nations involved, but because they are so powerless. They have no effective or enforceable institutions that can contend with the global corporations. This is not an anti-globalization punt
(I'm not against what a lot of silly people call 'globalisation').

Nevertheless, where global corporations come together with local economic predators and undermine or even overthrow any local governance systems that they choose, the UN has no way of countermanding such activities.

You cited Russia and Chinese, but many of the difficulties ascribed to them are in fact Western in origin. If UK companies will not band together with Russian or Chinese interests, then the USA will do so, or France, or Germany.

The individual countries at the UN are left as powerless by-standers... in fact they end up with the UN being 'blamed' as an institution for what its individual members perpetuate. In fact, Zimbabwe is a perfect example of this catch 22 at work.

For my tuppence-worth I think this international brigandage has brought us to a new era whereby giant private armed forces will be players on the international scene - the wholesale privatisation of large chunks of the neo-colonial occupation in Iraq right now is a fore-runner of what may happen on a widespread scale. At that point neither the UN, not individual countries (even the good ol' USA) will have any way of controlling these private forces.

Merseymike said...

Sadly, you are probably right. Bloody depressing, isn't it? Almost as bad as realising that no major party is at all sceptical about the market and its role.