UN AND GLOBAL DIS­OR­DER

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - İBRAHİM KALIN

DE­SPITE huge struc­tural ob­sta­cles, like-minded coun­tries with a sim­i­lar agenda, wis­dom and con­science can still do a lot of good for the poor, the weak and the op­pressed of the world

This week, world lead­ers will be trav­el­ing to New York to at­tend the 72nd United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly at a time of deep­en­ing global chaos and dis­or­der. As much as the U.N. and its var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions seek to do good for the world, it will not be able to de­liver on any press­ing is­sues as long as its cur­rent or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture re­mains the same.

Since its of­fi­cial found­ing in 1945, the U.N. sys­tem has been chal­lenged by the lack of strong lead­er­ship, re­sources and a truly com­mon global agenda. This year, it will not be any dif­fer­ent. The 193-mem­ber or­ga­ni­za­tion, the largest on earth and in his­tory, will see speeches and meet­ings that would seek to use this global fo­rum to press mostly a nar­row and lim­ited po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic agenda.

This does not mean that some good peo­ple from heads of states to del­e­gates and U.N. work­ers will not try to have real change for the good of our global vil­lage. The is­sue is not so much in­di­vid­u­als and their con­science but the cur­rent Se­cu­rity Coun­cil struc­ture which fa­vors the in­ter­ests of the five per­ma­nent mem­bers sit­ting on it ver­sus the rest of the world. There is no ra­tio­nal and demo­cratic an­swer to the ques­tion of why these five per­ma­nent mem­bers sit on this coun­cil 72 years af­ter the found­ing of the U.N. and how they can jus­tify main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo in the 21st cen­tury. This forces the U.N. to fail on all the press­ing is­sues in the world.

The theme for this year’s Gen­eral Assem­bly is “Fo­cus­ing on Peo­ple: Striv­ing for Peace and a De­cent Life for All on a Sus­tain­able Planet.” This is a no­ble goal and ev­ery­one should con­trib­ute to its re­al­iza­tion. But the re­al­i­ties on the ground speak vol­umes of the fail­ure of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity as a whole to pro­tect the poor and the op­pressed and pro­vide a “de­cent life for all.” The re­al­ity is crony cap­i­tal­ism. The re­al­ity is wars, proxy wars and more wars so that na­tion-states can flex their mus­cles and the arms com­pa­nies can make more money. The re­al­ity is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer by the day. The re­al­ity is that hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple around world live in ab­ject poverty be­fore the eyes and in to­tal dis­re­gard of the wealth­i­est na­tions of Europe and the United States.

A re­cent U.N. re­port con­firms this de­press­ing re­al­ity. Shar­ing the find­ings of his re­port, Saad Al­farargi, the U.N. Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on the right to devel­op­ment, said that “peo­ple in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are pay­ing a heavy price for global ac­tions be­yond their con­trol.” He added that, “We are wit­ness­ing some of the great­est chal­lenges the world has ever seen, with­out the global com­mit­ment to de­liver change.”

Can the U.N. pro­vide the “global com­mit­ment to de­liver change?” The sim­ple an­swer is no. The rea­son is that we live in an age of na­tion-states and cross-na­tional cor­po­ra­tions that seek to use glob­al­iza­tion to serve their in­ter­ests and noth­ing else. The cur­rent U.N. struc­ture can­not en­sure fair­ness and equal­ity even among mem­ber states. The U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil hege­mony un­der­mines any hope for a last­ing so­lu­tion to wars, oc­cu­pa­tions and eth­nic cleans­ings from Syria and Pales­tine to Myan­mar.

De­ci­sion-mak­ing mech­a­nisms are par­a­lyzed. Just like in Syria be­fore and Myan­mar now, the U.N. has no power what­so­ever to pre­vent con­flicts, eth­nic cleans­ings, war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity. Most re­cently, the vi­o­lence com­mit­ted against the Ro­hingya peo­ple in Myan­mar took weeks to reg­is­ter in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and the U.N. took a right but be­lated de­ci­sion only af­ter over 400 thou­sand Ro­hingya Mus­lims were forced to leave their homes un­der the guns of the Myan­mar army and Bud­dhist na­tion­al­ists.

Pres­i­dent Er­doğan sin­gle­hand­edly gave huge amount of ef­fort to mo­bi­lize the U.N. and the coun­tries around the world to raise their voice against the mas­sacre of Ro­hingya peo­ple.

Turkey cur­rently is the only coun­try in the world that de­liv­ers aid to Ro­hingya in Myan­mar and Bangladesh. Turkey’s First Lady, Emine Er­doğan, ac­com­pa­nied by two min­is­ters, went to Bangladesh to wit­ness first­hand what is hap­pen­ing there. The Ro­hingya can be rest as­sured Turkey will never cease help un­til this hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter ends.

Er­doğan is right when he says that “The world is big­ger than five,” re­fer­ring to the five per­ma­nent Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­bers. The world needs jus­tice, peace, equal­ity, com­pas­sion and wis­dom – the eter­nal val­ues of our shared hu­man­ity which the cur­rent U.N. sys­tem can­not de­liver. The U.N. sys­tem must be re­formed and re­struc­tured if the U.N. is to have any mean­ing and rel­e­vance in the 21st cen­tury.

The dilemma is that the five per­ma­nent Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­bers will have to give their con­sent to make this re­form pos­si­ble. Of course, they will never con­sent to it. The other al­ter­na­tive is to have the Gen­eral Assem­bly, i.e., the 193 mem­ber states to come to­gether and force change. But this is not pos­si­ble ei­ther be­cause the small and poor na­tions of the world, that sup­pos­edly have one vote at all U.N. de­ci­sions, are un­der the pres­sure and tute­lage of the big and rich na­tions. The small and poor ones will never have the au­dac­ity to chal­lenge the sta­tus quo be­cause they know that they will be sub­jected to all sorts of pres­sure and ha­rass­ment from the “big broth­ers.”

It is sad to see that the U.N. is un­able to get out of this co­nun­drum.

Hope lies some­where else. De­spite huge struc­tural ob­sta­cles, like-minded coun­tries with a sim­i­lar agenda, wis­dom and con­science can still do a lot of good for the poor, the weak and the op­pressed of the world. All they need is to join forces, work on a com­mon agenda and have courage and de­ter­mi­na­tion to de­liver jus­tice, equal­ity and re­spect.

The world needs jus­tice, peace, equal­ity, com­pas­sion and wis­dom – the eter­nal val­ues of our shared hu­man­ity which the cur­rent U.N. sys­tem can­not de­liver

The 69th ses­sion of the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly takes place at U.N. head­quar­ters, Sept. 24, 2014.

İbrahim Kalın

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