The UN and Democide

February 12, 2009

[first published March 2, 2005] Cheers were loud and hopeful when the United Nations passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. Here was the world body of practically all sovereign countries agreeing that genocide was a crime against humanity, and that its perpetrators should be tried and punished. Thereafter, the Convention was ignored for almost five decades.

Finally, the UN has taken action against genocide, as well as crimes against humanity, although sometimes half-heartedly. It has set up tribunals to try perpetrators of the genocides in Rwanda and Yugoslavia (Bosnia), has agreed with Cambodia on setting up a joint tribunal to try those Khmer Rouge responsible for murdering millions of Cambodians, and has negotiated with Sierra Leone a Special Court to try perpetrators of crimes against humanity during its ten-year civil war.

Such tribunals or courts are one reason the UN’s record is not entirely negative. But, and this is a very crucial but, the UN has ignored or paid nominal attention to the mass murders by most other thugs, such as those who rule Burma, Iran, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea. Although with the murderers still in power a formal Tribunal may be impossible or impractical in these cases, at least they could be thoroughly investigated in the light of some of its own reports, and sanctions taken against them.

One of the most telling cases is the mass murders, and government created famine in North Korea. The country is one vast prison in which hundreds of thousands have been murdered in the last decade, and possibly three million have been starved to death. With regard to the ruling thugs responsible, and Kim Jong Il, the chief thug among them, the UN is like the three monkeys that see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

Similarly with the Taliban of Afghanistan, who when they controlled the country were systematically murdering their own people, repressing all their human rights, and enslaving (this is not hyperbole—the proper word is enslaving) all woman. The UN sat on its hands despite the written reports it received from its officials in the country pointing out that the murders were ordered or approved by Mullah Omar, the Taliban ruler. Just consider the Taliban murder of 178 people in the Yakaolang district of north-central Afghanistan, where UN officials had evidence that Omar was in contact with the Taliban troops doing the democide. One UN official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, exclaimed that, “These are the same type of war crimes as were committed in Bosnia and should be prosecuted in international courts.” Out of frustration that the UN was doing nothing to stop the Taliban, staff members leaked their reports to the public.

Then, consider Rwanda, in which during four months of 1994 about 800,000 people were murdered in a systematic genocide organized by the Hutu government, and carried out against the Tutsi minority by its troops, police, and specially trained death squads. In 1999, an independent report, commissioned by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and headed by former Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson, condemned the UN’s reluctance to accept evidence of genocide, and reluctance to act once the genocide was undeniable.

Perhaps the most famous case, although the genocide involved a much lower number of murdered–around 8,000 Muslim men and boys–was in Srebrenica, Bosnia, during the Bosnian war of 1995. Another UN commissioned report on this asserted that the UN peacekeepers stood by while Serb troops massacred those to whom the UN had promised protection. The UN had refused to reinforce their peacekeepers with enough troops, and even then severely restricted the action of those that were there.

Presently, there are a civil war and mass murders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And again, UN peacekeepers are under armed, under manned, and over restricted by rules of engagement. Some three million Congolese have been killed so far, but all UN peacekeepers have done is stand by and watch them being murdered. In response, the UN Security Council voted to deploy an additional French led 1,400 soldiers to Bunia, the capital. But, their mandate was temporarily confined to Bunia–they could not leave it to protect refugees in neighboring areas where most of the killing was taking place. As this killing escalated, the UN deployed a new force of 3,000 Pakistani and Bangladesh troops with permission to prevent killing and violence across the whole Ituri region–3,000 UN peacekeepers across a region over twice the size of Albania.

There is also Russia’s Moslem Chechnya in which Russian troops and agents have carried out a campaign of democide, torture, and war crimes. In 2000 and 2001, the Human Rights Commission noted Russian abuses there and asked that the Russian government investigate them, and cooperate with UN human rights monitors. At no cost to itself from the UN, Russia has ignored these resolutions and in 2003, a similar resolution failed to get enough votes.

Then there was Saddam Hussein’s mass murder, those of Iran’s Ayatollahs, the terrorist genocide bombing of Israeli Jews, and further back in time, Stalin’s post World War II murders, those of the new communist thug regimes of Eastern Europe, and then Mao Tse-tung’s massive extermination of “land lords,” “antirevolutionaries,” and “rightists,” . . . Enough. Why beat a dead horse? Simply, the thugs in the UN usually have had their way on this, as with so many other political questions. Millions, tens of millions, have thus been murdered SINCE THE UN WAS CREATED. But, for virtually all these poor souls, it was as though no UN existed.

Too sad.

However, international relations are undergoing a revolutionary change that is silently preventing democide regardless of the UN. In jumps and leaps, this is the buildup of democracies, which now amount to about 121, with about 89 of them liberal democracies. As this number has grown, violence in international relations and democide has sharply declined. More on this at another time.

Link of Note

(5/98) By R.J. Rummel

In this article, I point out that since 1945, when the UN was created, and up to the end of the century, about 80,000,000 people have been murdered in cold blood by one regime or another, around thirteen times the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust . Most of this democide has been done for political reasons (reasons of state or power), but also much of it has been outright genocide (the killing of people by virtue of their ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality. About 87 percent of these murders were done by communist regimes—it was death by Marxism (see my commentary on this here).

The UN and Humanity’s Hope — Peacekeeping

February 11, 2009

[First published March 7, 2005] I have posted blogs on the UN and human rights , and now want to say a few words about UN peacekeeping. I am sure that for most us who were optimistic about the UN, we especially thought it would help resolve international disputes and prevent or end war. This did not happen in its first decades, which many then assumed was due to the Cold War. When this ended, we thought that UN peacekeeping now would take center stage. It did not.

Some facts:

  • The UN is without a standing army and relies on volunteer troop contributions for its peacekeeping missions.
  • Since 1946, the UN has undertaken 60 peacekeeping missions, or about 19 percent of the 311 arms conflicts of all forms 1946-2004. Even in this small number of carefully selected missions, they have largely failed.
  • Over 1,580 UN peacekeepers have died during these missions.
  • The peacekeeping budget for 2004-2005 is $2.8 billion (26 percent paid by the U.S.).
  • The UN has underway 16 peacekeeping missions (in Cyprus, Georgia, East Timor, between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, between Ethiopia and Eritrea, among others), with a big one in southern Sudan upcoming. It will involve 10,000 soldiers and 700 police officers in a huge country as big as Western Europe (but will not involve the deadly conflict in Darfur). This will bring the peacekeeping deployment to about 85,700 personnel.
  • Peacekeepers come from 103 nations, of which Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Ethiopia are the top providers, together totaling over 28,000 personnel. China contributes over 1,000 peacekeepers, while for the U.S. it is 428.
  • Most peacekeepers lack experience, training, equipment, and good officers.
  • Some of the failed operations have been in the Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Bosnia, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Congo mission began in 1999 to stop a war involving six nations, and now involves about 17,000 peacekeepers. So far, they have been unable to stop the killing or democide, which in the last 3 or 4 years had amounted to about 3 million dead.
  • Some of the more successful operations have been in Cyprus, El Salvador, Liberia, and East Timor
  • Peacekeepers have sexual exploited and raped children and adults in their missions to the Ivory Coast, Haiti, and Burundi, and investigators expect to find more cases in other missions.
  • Although not strictly peacekeeping, the 1996-2003 UN oil-for-food program in Iraq during which thug Saddam Hussein paid bribes and kickbacks has cast a cloud over all the UN’s political activities.

In spite of a few successes in relatively small peacekeeping operation, overall the UN’s peacekeeping has failed. This was the conclusion of the important UN Brahimi Report, linked below, and is now increasingly the subject of serious study and commentary. See for example, the book Deliver Us From Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords, and a World of Endless Conflict by William Shawcross.

The problem is with the fifteen member Security Council. The UN Charter explicitly empowers it to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and “make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken . . . to maintain or restore international peace and security.” Each of the five permanent members of the Council, the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Russia, and China can veto any proposed action of the Council. China is still a communist dictatorship, and Freedom House now rates Russia as unfree. Either one of these countries by itself can scuttle any UN attempt to keep the peace and prevent or deal with aggression, terrorism, or democide.

Then there is France, of whom one can expect that it would veto any involvement by the U.S. that would heighten its prestige or international role.

The General Assembly elects for two-year terms ten members of the Security Council. Each has one vote, and nine votes, absent a veto by a permanent member, are required to pass a substantive resolution. The importance of this cannot be overstated. For 2005, the Security Council’s elected members were (with freedom ranking on civil and political rights by Freedom House in parentheses, where F = free, PF = partly free, and NF = not free) Algeria (NF), Argentina (F), Benin (F), Brazil (F), Denmark (F), Greece (F), Japan (F), Philippines (F), Romania (F), and Tanzania (PF). Of these, then, there is an 8 to 2 split in favor of the free democracies, the best prodemocratic ratio I’ve seen in the Council. Adding the US, United Kingdom, and France, the three permanent members rated free, to carry a resolution these 11 democratic members must first persuade China and Russia to at least abstain rather than exercise their veto (given France goes along or abstains).

However, most often in the past, even when China and Russia abstain or agree, one or more thug dicators on the Council had to be persuaded to go along. This was a frustrating diplomatic effort (perhaps entailing bribery — grants, economic aid that can be skimmed, favorable trade deals, silence on his crimes, and so on). The achievement of nine votes becomes even more difficult if any democracies abstain. Thus, Saddam Hussein, the bloody dictator of Iraq, could defy Security Council resolutions and kick out UN weapons inspectors at no cost. Finally, with Resolution 1441, the fourteenth resolution of the Security Council against Iraq, Hussein defiance posed too great a perceived danger to wait any longer and the United States led a successful military coalition against him.

On human rights, on stopping democide, especially that called genocide, and as we have seen, on peacekeeping — the peacekeeping that was the post-World War II hope of humanity — has failed. But, some would say, the UN has many functions, and surely some of its other agencies, like UNICEF and WHO provide nations with important aid and services, advancing the cause of welfare, health, development, and so forth. I will deal with this in another blog.

Link of Note

Report of the panel on UNITED NATIONS Peace Operations (August 2000)

This is the so-called Brahimi Report (named after the Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi who chaired the panel) on UN peace operations.

The United Nations was founded, in the words of its Charter, in order “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” Meeting this challenge is the most important function of the Organization, and, to a very significant degree, the yardstick by which it is judged by the peoples it exists to serve. Over the last decade, the United Nations has repeatedly failed to meet the challenge; and it can do no better today. Without significant institutional change, increased financial support, and renewed commitment on the part of Member States, the United Nations will not be capable of executing the critical peacekeeping and peace-building tasks that the Member States assign it in coming months and years.

The UN’s (United Thug’s) Shameful Antisemitism

February 10, 2009

[First published on March 22, 2005] Israel is a liberal democracy. It has as high a Freedom House overall rating of free, and scores on political rights as does the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom; on civil liberties, it is only slightly below them, but still much better than many democracies, and certainly a whole lot better that the dictatorships and monarchies that surround it. Yet, and maybe partly because of this, it is the pariah in the United Nations. It is the only UN member systematically excluded from participation in, as far as I could determine, all the committees and UN bodies. For example, it has recently been rejected for membership on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Human Rights Committee, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and UN Racial Discrimination Committee. And, Israel is denied membership in every one of the important UN’s five regional groups.

Contrast this with the dictatorships of Algeria, China, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, just to mention a few of them, that at one time have been, or are, members of the UN Commission on Human Rights; with the dictatorship of Egypt, which is a member of the many UN bodies, including all six concerned with human rights treaties; with the dictatorships of Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan that participate on the Governing Council of the International Labor Organization; with that the bloody dictatorship Iran that is on the five-member UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and with those dictatorships who treat women as second class citizens or slaves like Egypt, Iran, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates that are members of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

But, the worst of this UN treatment of democratic Israel is its having ignored the genocide against Israeli Jews by Palestinian terrorist organizations, aided and abetted by thug Arab states. The repeated genocide bombings of civilian Jews going about their lives in restaurants, markets, and on buses was ignored by the UN, while it condemned whatever Israel did to defend itself or retaliate against those responsible for this terrorism and genocide.

The October 4, 2003, bombing of the Maxim restaurant in Haifa is a case in point. About 21 men, women, children, and babies were murdered, and 60 suffered diverse wounds, including the loss of limbs, that has all but destroyed their lives. The bombing was planned by Islamic Jihad, which is supported by Syria. In retaliation, Israel attacked the Islamic Jihad training camp in Syria. No one was killed.

Rather then condemn the genocide of Israeli Jews, or at least investigate the killings or the Israeli attack, the only response in or by the UN was the Syrian dictator’s demand through his representative for an emergency meeting of the Security Council. He got it. Syria then proposed a resolution condemning Israel. And had it not been for an American veto, the resolution would have passed.

Such treatment of a democratic member of the UN is reprehensible, and alone calls into question how much support democratic countries should give the organization.

Link of Note

”Undiplomatic Imbalance: The antisemitism at the U.N. is a problem for more than just Israel.” (12/13/04)

By Anne Bayefsky
Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a visiting professor at Touro and Metropolitan Colleges in New York.

She writes:

. . . . For the past four decades, the United Nations has become the personal propaganda machine of the nom de guerre of Arab and Islamic states — Palestinians. Their aim is to demonize, debilitate, and destroy the state of Israel — the thriving democratic beachhead in their midst — for a start. The original U.N. mission, to protect the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, has been hijacked and corrupted by nations that neither share the universal values of the U.N.’s Declaration of Human Rights nor have democratic intentions.

. . . . There is only one entire U.N. Division devoted to a single group of people — the U.N. Division for Palestinian Rights (created in 1977). There is only one U.N. website dedicated to the claims of a single people — the enormous UNISPAL, the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine. There is only one refugee agency dedicated to a single refugee situation — UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (in operation since 1950.) . . . . The list of hijacked U.N. organs goes on. The General Assembly operates through six committees of the whole. One of them, the Fourth Committee, routinely devotes 30 percent of its time to the condemnation of Israel.

How about the takeover of the General Assembly emergency-session procedure? These sessions began in 1956, and since then six of the ten emergency sessions ever held have been about Israel. The 10th such session began in 1997 and has been “reconvened” 13 times, most recently this past summer.

Then there is the U.N.’s primary human-rights body, the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Thirty percent of the resolutions condemning specific states ever adopted over 40 years are directed at Israel. . . . To appreciate fully the extent to which the U.N. has been taken over, observe November 29th, the annual U.N. Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which is the only U.N. day dedicated to a specific people. The occasion was held in the U.N.’s elaborate Trusteeship Council before hundreds of delegates.

In an apparent nod to the ransacking of the U.N.’s peace and security foundation by Islamic states — that have blocked the adoption of a comprehensive convention against terrorism for years — the secretary general’s panel recommended that the U.N. adopt a definition of terrorism. On the bright side, they finally admitted the U.N. doesn’t have such a definition. Until it does, it can hardly be expected to play a serious role in the war against terrorism. But the panel was very careful to recommend that it be a “consensus definition” — U.N. code language for blessing continuing stonewalling by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

So let’s cut through all of the talk and meetings and discussion groups on U.N. reform to the root cause of U.N. disease. Arab and Islamic states have the U.N. in a chokehold and, so far, no one is prepared to do anything about it.

Alliance of democracies—Swedish version

January 24, 2009

[First published January 9, 2006] I’ve included below an article I had written for a Swiss newspaper Dagens Nyheter (thanks to Mathias Sundin for submitting it), but which was rejected. So, I submitted it to myself and decided to accept it for my blog. I’m pleased to publish it for me.

Eliminating Genocide and War
Through an Alliance of Democracies

There are many complex considerations and theoretical issues to the problem of war and democide. There are the questions of general and immediate causation, and of aggravating and inhibiting conditions. There are the practical questions of how to gather timely intelligence about them and inform decision makers about what is known, how to influence the political process through which intervention against democide is decided, and how to give democide and war elsewhere the required prominence in the complex of perceived interests. And with regard to intervening to stop democide, there are the questions concerning the national mix of the necessary troops, their weapons, and the rules of engagement.

Many of the answers to these questions will fall into place if we recognize three facts and one practical necessity that cuts through the jumble of questions and problems involved. The one fact is that democracies by far have had the least domestic democide, and now with their extensive liberalization, have virtually none. Therefore, democratization (not just electoral democracies, but liberal democratization in terms of civil and political rights and liberties) provides the long run hope for the elimination of democide.

The second fact is that democracies don’t make war on each other and that the more democratic two governments, the less the likelihood of violence between them. Not only is democracy a solution to democide, therefore, but globalizing democracy is also a solution to war. That the world is progressively becoming more democratic, with from 22 democracies in 1950 to something like 119 democracies today (about 89 of them liberal democracies comprising about 2.8 billion people) out of 192 nations, makes it increasingly likely that in the long run the twin horrors of democide and war will be eliminated from human society.

The final fact is that democratization is central to the national interest of all these democracies. A fundamental national interest of a democracy is peace—the avoidance of war—and international trade and prosperity. What is the best way overall to avoid war and promote prosperity in the long run? Through the promotion of democratization. Democracies not only don’t make war on each other, democracy is an engine of wealth and prosperity. And no democracy has ever had a famine.

And the practical necessity is this. We must recognize that the United Nations is inadequate to the task of humanitarian intervention to stop democide, the promotion of democracy, dealing with HYPERLINK “”global threats, protecting and advancing HYPERLINK “”human rights, and it has failed in doing that for which it was chartered, HYPERLINK “”peacekeeping. Finally, it treats Israel with such HYPERLINK “”prejudice and hostility, that were it a corporation in a democracy, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Kofi Annan and his underlings would be now have gone to jail for systematic, hateful discrimination.

How to explain this travesty on our initial hopes for the UN? Simple. The United Nations has become a corrupt weapon and a shield for the world’s thug regimes. And the HYPERLINK “”ambitious UN reforms proposed in March 2005 by Kofi Annan did not deal with this fundamental problem. In Annan’s invocation of freedom, human rights, democracy, and human security, in his call for UN members to support these moral causes, he deserves credit. As to his suggested reforms, such as of the Security Council and Human Rights Commission, I could point to organizational, and process problems, but this would ignore the most fundamental problem of all. It is a fatal fault that Annan refuses, quite understandably, to mention; and the solution was impossible for him to suggest as it was for the 2005 world summit that met in September 2005 to consider Annan’s reforms.

If a family of skunks lives underneath a house, no amount of remodeling of the upstairs will eliminate the stench. Likewise, no amount of remodeling of the UN will change the fact that its membership consists of about 103 partly free and non-free nations, many of which are pure and simple thugdoms (Syria, Sudan, Iran, N. Korea, China, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, etc). They will act together to trash, alter to their advantage, or use the reforms Annan recommends to attack free countries, as has been seen in the recent world summit. Their membership is the fatal flaw. And the related and impossible solution would be to kick them all out.

What to do about it?

I don’t suggest withdrawing from the UN. It has too many useful functions and specialized agencies, such as the Food and Agricultural Organization, World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, and the Universal Postal Union. The General Assembly and Security Council serve as a forum for contact and communication between adversaries or enemies. When there is general agreement on conflicts, interventions, peacekeeping, refugees, humanitarian aid, sanctions, criminal tribunals, human rights, and so on, the UN saves lives and promotes human welfare and security. Nonetheless, it is clear to me from the UN’s overall record that with the millions dying from war, democide (about 6,000 a month in Darfur, Sudan alone), famine (millions in North Korea), and poverty, the good of the organization is still much too limited by its thug regimes. Understanding all this, two things should be done.

Since democratic societies create among themselves a zone of peace, there should be an intergovernmental organization of all democracies outside of the UN to deal with issues about which the UN cannot or will not act, but particularly to further the promotion of peace, human security, human rights, and democracy — an Alliance of Democracies. Given what I have pointed out about the UN’s problems, the need for such an alliance is obvious. It would not compete with the UN where that body could act to promote democratic values. But, where it could not, particularly because of the opposition of the thug regimes, then the Alliance would serve a most useful cause.

This is now in the works. Democratic activists, practitioners, academics, policy makers, and funders, have come together to cooperate to promote democracy. They call this a World Movement for Democracy (WMD). It has its own website, publications, regular online Democracy News, courses, a steering committee, secretariat, and periodic assemblies. Its first and organizing Assembly was held in India in 1999; its second in Brazil in 2000 involved democrats from 93 countries, and a third meeting in Durbin, south Africa in 2004 involved 600 participants from 120 countries. The stated purpose of the organization is “to strengthen democracy where it is weak, to reform and invigorate democracy even where it is longstanding, and to bolster pro-democracy groups in countries that have not yet entered a process of democratic transition.”

There also is the new Community of Democracies (COD). Foreign ministers and representatives of 106 democratic governments met in Warsaw, Poland, in 2000 and concluded with the “Final Warsaw Declaration: Toward a Community of Democracies”. This expressed their unified “commitment to promote, strengthen and preserve democracy.”

And then there was a meeting in Warsaw of a non-governmental first World Forum on Democracy. “It included 300 democratic activists, current and former political leaders, academics, and nongovernmental organization representatives from 85 countries. Its purpose was to discuss and advance “democratic governance and values throughout the world.” President Clinton’s Secretary of State Albright addressed the forum, and pointed out that, “We need a true democratic community; defined not by what we are against, but by what we are for; enshrined by leaders from every point on the compass; and strengthened by the full participation of civil society.” Its second meeting was held in Seoul in 2003, and a third Ministerial meeting was held in April in Santiago, Chile, to which American Secretary Rice led the American delegation. The Community of Democracies (COD) is Alliance of Democracies yet in its infancy. Now the democracies should strengthen its organization and functions, and better focus its efforts on a forward strategy of freedom (to borrow President Bush’s phrase).

But, all this is outside of the UN. What goes on in the UN cannot and should not be ignored. The democracies must act together on vital UN issues. The COD recognized this, and mandated the creation of a UN Democracy Caucus. Its convening group was Chile, Czech Republic, India, Mali, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, South Africa, and the United States. The caucus has a website. But, it still is only a consultative and collaborative group among democracies, and is not like a political party — a Freedom Party. Such the caucus should become, with a program of democratization, peace making, and peace keeping, all overseen by a chairman, whip, and all that. After all, the UN is a world government with a legislature, executive, administration, and judiciary, and well suited to organized politics.

Much progress toward democracy is being made, and increasingly democratic leaders are recognizing that democracy is not only the in the national interest, but also crucial to them. In this, there is the greatest hope of eliminating war, and with it the democide that has become widely recognized as deadlier than war and the world’s worst evil.

A Conceptual Perversion—International Community

December 25, 2008

[First published January 7, 2005] We have all heard the argument regarding Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, and interventions in such civil war and democides as those in Liberia, Congo, Angola, Sudan, or Somalia, that they should be a matter for the international community. Indeed, the refrain that the international community and its surrogate the United Nations should be involved or consulted is a common mantra concerning such conflicts.

The word “international community” is one of those conceptual perversions that corrupt thought. It is a word suffused with vibrant feeling and moral equalitarianism, as in the term internationalist. It connotes the opposite of nationalism and a “self-centered focus on the nation, a cause of war and disharmony among nations.” Most important, it also involves a deeply resonating positive–opening one’s arms to all cultures, all cultures, and all beliefs are good. It implies certain questions: who are we of one nation to say that something is evil, morally repugnant? Who are we to make war “unilaterally”? And it implies an answer: we should recognize that we must come to a consensus with all of humanity, despite our different views, if we will have world peace and harmony. The word has become in most discourse on world events the equivalent of “apple pie” and “motherhood.”

Look at the claim that we should have involved the international community in the Iraq war, or in the postwar reconstruction, or in the trial of Saddam Hussein. How mentally blinding this concept of international community is can be shown by asking a simple question. Who makes up this community?

There are 192 legally sovereign nations that make up this “community,” of which about 89 are liberal democracies, many small and hardly internationally active. There are 55 partly free nations that allow some human rights, and 48 nations that systematically deny virtually human rights.

Does anyone interested in democracy, in creating a democratic Iraq, really want the bloody masters of China, Congo, Angola, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Laos, Libya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Vietnam, among the other 48 strict dictatorships poking their noses into the democratization of Iraq. After all, their masters are generally thugs commanding a gang that rules a nation by fear. They are all international criminals. They rule, as does the Mafia. Yet, they are a substantially and legally part of what is called the “international community,” despite international law being nothing more to them than what secures their rule, or of which they can take advantage. If those using this term “international community” really don’t want to include them, then they should qualify the term by something like “democracies,” or “democratic nations,” or “democratic community,” which incidentally, is a true community.

On Thugsville—Oops, The UN—Dealing with Global Threats.

December 5, 2008

[First published on December 16, 2004] In an address to a December 16, 2004, luncheon hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasized again, that the United Nations is central to dealing with global threats. He pointed out that the UN is “The only universal instrument that can bring States together in such a global effort.

Ha! In fact, the United Nations has become a weapon and a shield for the world’s dictators.

Not all dictators are the same. Some are no more than thugs. While hiding behind their guns and goons, they murder their captive citizens, condone torture (and a few even approve slavery and rape), and loot their country’s wealth and resources for personal gain, for power, for an ideology, or for a religion. Of the many such thugs since 1945, the list would include Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Idi Amin of Uganda, Pol Pot of Cambodia, and recently deposed Charles Taylor of Liberia Now we have such ruling thugs as General Than Shwe of Burma, Fidel Castro of Cuba, General Teodoro Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei of Iran, Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi of Libya, Kim Chong-il of North Korea, King Fahd Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, General Umar al-Bashir of Sudan, Bashar al-Asad of Syria, Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan, General Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, to mention some of the worst of them. These and the other thugs, along with the more moderate, but sympathetic and collaborative dictators, dominate the UN and now defeat its mission.

This is a reluctant conclusion about the UN that I’ve come to since my early years of strong support.

What’s to be done? I don’t suggest withdrawing from the UN. It has too many useful functions, serves as a neutral forum for contact and communication between adversaries or enemies. When there is general agreement on conflicts, interventions, peacekeeping, refugees, humanitarian aid, sanctions, criminal tribunals, human rights, and so on, the UN helps save lives and promotes human welfare and security.

Nonetheless, what is clear to me from the UN’s overall record is that given the millions dying from war, democide, famine, and poverty, the good of the organization is still much too limited by its dictatorships. Two things should be done. There should be a democratic-nation-only-caucus to deal with all issues before the UN. Such a caucus is now in its teething stage.

Second, there should be an international governmental organization of all democracies to deal with issues about which the UN cannot or will not act, particularly the promotion of peace, human security, human rights, and democracy. I have written on such an Alliance of Democracies, and need not say more here. Given what I have pointed out about the UN’s problems, the need for such an organization is obvious. It would not compete with the UN where that body could act to promote democratic values. But, where it could not, particularly because of the opposition of the dictatorships, then the Alliance would serve a most useful cause.

There is already growing movements and governmental activities pointing in the direction of such an Alliance. Democratic activists, practitioners, academics, policy makers, and funders, have come together to cooperate in the organized international promotion of democracy. Such is already underway. Democratic activists, practitioners, academics, policy makers, and funders have come together to cooperate in the organized international promotion of democracy. They call this a World Movement for Democracy. It has it’s own website, on line publication Democracy News,
courses, a steering committee, secretariat, and periodic assemblies. It now needs strong public support, and especially a formal way to deal with global issues.

Down with thug regimes and their UN power. Democracies of the world, unite.