At this critical hour, when guided missile cruisers are converging on the Eastern Mediterranean like a pack of hyenas toward a wounded prey, one can’t help but pause at the bigger picture and wonder at the role that the United Nations is playing or the one that it is supposed to play, in the lives of the ordinary citizens all over the world.
An institution that had begun in 1946 with noble intentions, to act as a representative for all of us human beings on this planet, to deter unprovoked aggression and to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots, has today become a farce. Like those figurehead Presidents that some countries like India have. A lot of lofty speeches but no real authority to act.
Let’s take a look at the first issue, the question of universal representation. The UN started off grandly after the 2nd World War, with the UN Security Council, the section whose mandate was to make every nation, big and small, feel secure within its own borders. It’s that section of the UN that takes up 78% of its funding. It had 15 members who got on the council and even got to chair it by rotation. Motions were voted on majority (there have to be at least 9 ayes for a vote to go through).
The voting system still remains in place, except that, within seconds of the council’s institution, 5 of the 15 nations muscled their way in and made themselves ‘permanent members’ with the ‘veto powers’, meaning that there would be no rotation for them and that they could turn down any proposed resolution. They were there to stay. The five felt an entitlement arising from their winning the war. Four of the five just happened to be white, with a total present-day population of 600 million, less than 10% of the world’s total population. Could this be some new kind of apartheid? The five must have felt like George Orwell’s Napolean, the pig.
The UN Security Council today is just a pompous name. ‘Gang of five’ would have been more apt. You, the other member nations, don’t count a fig, except when you are chosen as guinea pigs for the testing in real battle conditions of a new weapon design, for which it becomes necessary for you to be cornered into a position where you just have to be invaded and bombed.
The gang of five are US, UK, France, Russia and China. These are also the first five nuclear-armed nations of the world and as per the non-Proliferation treaty, are recognized as ‘nuclear-weapon states’. This means that they are entitled to build, test and use nuclear weapons and no one else is. Between them, these five honorable gents have wiped out through carpet bombings, ethnic cleansings and purges, nearly 20% of the world’s population through history. Among these five are the first nations to have ever used against innocent civilians, weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear bombs and chemical agents. Between them, the members of this tight group of five control like a cartel, virtually all the global trade in arms and ammunition. They have their foreign and economic policies founded upon the bedrock of the design, art and conduct of armed conflict.
Wikileaks has revealed that these most honorable gentlemen even control, through their intelligence agencies, the global drug trade, whitening the profits easily through their Goldman Sachses and their Wall Streets. Goldman Sachs, by the way, is the world’s largest supplier of ministers, senior financial advisors and cabinet secretaries. They come out of Goldman Sachs and spread out into the world like Ira Levin’s ‘Boys from Brazil’. If you don’t have an ex-Goldman Sachs executive as Finance Minister or Chairman of the Central Bank of your country, yours must be banana republic. Even the pet Chihuahua in a Goldman Sachs exec’s home has more influence on world history than you and me. Exactly what kind of representation can the hoi-polloi of the world expect then?
Let’s look at the question of security against aggression. There are some keywords here that keep popping up with increasing frequency these days, on the question of security. Those are ‘international law’ and ‘sovereignty. The first, ‘international law’ sounds great and conjures up an image of accountability, whenever and wherever. That’s great, but the fact is that international law is a myth. There is no such thing as ‘international law’.
‘Sovereignty’ is easier to understand. Simply put, it means that within my house, you can do as you please as long as your actions don’t harm or inconvenience the world at large. It also means that within the four walls of your house, you can develop your own system of justice to enforce discipline. It may sound barbaric but it is your house and you can do whatever the f–k you want inside it. If you happen to be just some inconsequential little snit of a nation, chances are you’ll get away with murder. If your house is built on stilts in an ocean of oil, it is almost certain that you shall be required to ‘play ball’ with some or all of the above five gentlemen. If you choose to play ball, don’t worry. There’s a whole club out there of such ball players – Bulgaria, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Egypt, Burma, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia are just a few who could easily make up a dream team of ‘play ballers’.
As to bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots, give me a break. There are no haves and have-nots in the world today. Just Must-Haves and Can’t-Haves