March 28, 2003

Security Council Should Close Shop
by Donald G. Mashburn

The United Nations Security Council has shown it’s inept, ineffective, and useless. It proved its irrelevance in failing to back up its own resolution on Iraq, SCR 1441.

In the aftermath, it’s clear that free nations can never again trust the Council to rein in international bad boys that don’t want to play by the rules of civilized nations. The Security Council should close its doors and acknowledge that it was a poor idea executed poorly.

The Security Council dithered and dawdled on forcing Saddam Hussein to “immediately” disclose certain weapons or face “serious consequences,” as required by the resolution. The Council was stymied by China, France, Germany and Russia, who wanted to protect their lucrative trading arrangements with Iraq. The U.S. and the world watched as Saddam yo-yoed the Security Council at will, and even had the chief inspector, Hans Blix, “negotiating” points that had been clearly set out, and approved unanimously, in SCR 1441.

Then, at crunch time, the Security Council, being influenced by France and Germany, pleaded with the U.S. and Great Britain to allow the inspectors “more time” – anything, it seemed, to avoid facing up to Saddam Hussein. Now the verdict is in. The Security Council has shown it ineptness in dealing with rogue nations.

The U.N. does a few useful things, such as humanitarian relief projects. It can use its considerable weight in efforts to help the oppressed, nations whose citizens are starving and in need of basic items important to health. But even these efforts get mucked up when they fall into the shaky hands of the Security Council, and someone like France threatens to veto of the good deeds.

Admittedly, the United States has used the veto, but mostly to protect our interests from schemes that were detrimental to freedom and economic fairness. Most of the vetoes came during the cold war era, and were aimed at thwarting the will of the Communist bloc nations.

But never before have we seen the ludicrous situation that arose when France threatened to veto a new resolution that called for enforcing a previous Security Council resolution, SCR 1441. That was the silly position that France and Germany maneuvered the Council into. And because of the threatened veto by France, the Council was helpless – and useless.

The veto has often been a problem. And it could well be time to get rid of it, but based on the United Nations’ record, it will probably never happen.

If the veto is retained – and China and Russia surely will insist on keeping it – France should be replaced by a more deserving member, say Japan, or India, with a sixth of the world’s population. These nations would be much more representative than France, which hasn’t been a world power for decades. However, the United Nations charter probably won’t permit replacing France –the French surely would not agree to it.

But perhaps a better solution would be for the United States to leave the Security Council – keeping its other United Nations positions. This would strip the Council of any claim to be an effective body, or to have legal standing to settle disputes between nations.

In any event, with its inept handling of Saddam Hussein and Iraq, the Council has shown its weakness and its unwillingness to back up its paper proclamations. If the Security Council just closed shop, the world would be better off.