February 27, 2011 at 5:46 am 1 comment

Lofty aims stymied by

global politics


Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”

Available through Amazon Click:  type: how to avoid armageddon

Ironically the United Nations Organization, the very body that facilitated Israel’s establishment as a modern independent state in 1948, has become a major factor in delegitimizing it. Though Israel has been invaded twice by neighboring countries, needed to pre-empt a third invasion, and been subjected to wars of attrition, and tens of thousands of terrorist attacks, the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization have seldom censured any of its assailants, while perennially placing Israel in the dock.

After starting out in 1945 with 51 member states embracing noble ideals, which as written in its Charter, include being “committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.” This momentous document talks about taking effective measures to prevent or remove threats to peace, and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.  

And in truth, the UN through its various agencies has done a tremendous amount of good work, helping improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over the world, by facilitating aid in education, health care, combating hunger, economic and infrastructural development, human rights and international justice.

But, like any large human endeavor comprising many different groups of people, there are bound to be coalitions with diverging interests that ultimately foil the very purpose that got the endeavor started in the first place. In the overall cause of peace, this is clearly the case in the U.N. Perhaps this was inevitable because from its very inception, the organization’s official aims were severely compromised through its composition of incompatible national and ideological blocs. The democratic states in the West, led by the U.S.A., faced the Communist Bloc that was led and welded together with the firm grip of the Soviet Union (the huge conglomerate of nations of which Russia was the main component). The Soviet Union (which ended in 1991) was intent on spreading its influence throughout the world, while the U.S.A. was equally intent on preventing this spread. This confrontation became known as the Cold War, and dominated international relationships for 45 years until the dismantlement of the Soviet Union. During all this time there was a continuing state of political conflict, military tension and economic sanctions. Although the military forces of the USA and the Soviet Union never clashed openly on the battlefield, the conflict was waged through military coalitions and strategic deployments, reflected in the nuclear arms race, espionage, proxy wars and the quest for dominance in space.

Meanwhile the establishment of Israel as an independent state in 1948 galvanized the Arab world to strive for its eradication and the Middle East became a flashpoint in the bitter rivalry between the two main blocs in the U.N. A number of factors made the Middle East a very important region, especially after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in 1951. The Arabs constituted a major political bloc – therefore currying favor with them made sense for any national leadership. Also, it meant acquiring a more advantageous position with the rest of the huge Muslim world. But the major issue has always been oil, and the Arab nations have the largest reserves in the world.

A third large bloc in the U.N. was the non-aligned states, which were mainly the developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Despite being called non-aligned, many often automatically sided with the Soviet Union in its confrontation with the U.S.A. A large part of the non-aligned states were the Arab and Muslim countries.

In the nineteen nineties a new world order emerged with the disintegration of the Communist bloc. Dozens of countries, formerly obliged to be part of the Soviet Union or under strict Communist scrutiny, began one by one to claim their full national independence. Most aligned themselves with the West. Concurrently, South Africa abolished its odious apartheid system; Israel and the Palestinians had agreed upon a peace process; Israel signed a peace treaty with Jordan. (It had already signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979.) And the world seemed to have become a happier, much safer place.

But meanwhile, a new threat to peace and goodwill for all people had emerged – global terrorism, spearheaded by a number of Islamic organizations such as Al Kaida, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah and Hamas, and backed financially, logistically and with training by Iraq, Syria and Iran.

Also, devastatingly for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, terrorism of an unprecedentedly deadly kind, repeatedly hit all the major cities of Israel. Paradoxically, just when there seemed to be a distinct hope for peace through the establishment at long last, of autonomy for the Palestinians, with the possibility of independence, all Israel’s major cities were suddenly subjected to hundreds of stabbings, shootings and bombings on a daily basis.

In order to cope with this untenable situation Israel needed to send its armed forces into the Palestinian cities and confront the terrorists directly.

It is more than likely that most Arabs – like people anywhere else – would prefer to lead their lives in peace and prosperity. But frequent Israeli incursions into their towns and villages and the interminable road-blocks – all designed to prevent acts of terror against Israeli citizens – seriously disrupt the lives of the ordinary Arab citizens and have embittered them even more towards Israel.

It is a situation for which the United Nations Organization was created. In theory it has the framework to deal with conflict. Its various agencies, commissions, committees and procedures were set up in order to prevent or end conflict and help maintain peaceful relationships among all nations. Until the time of writing the U.N., since its inception, has dispatched over 60 peacekeeping missions to dozens of countries, deploying hundreds of thousands of military and civilian personnel to help out as police officers, mine dismantlers, ceasefire observers, administrators, economists, legal experts, electoral observers, human rights monitors and specialists in governance and other related fields. In many parts of the world the United Nations has played a role in trying to help resolve conflict. Sometimes it has succeeded. But there have also been serious failures, such as the inaction of U.N. forces stationed in Rwanda that permitted the massacre of over 800,000 people in 1994; and the failure the following year to intervene in the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia; and the continuing failure to prevent genocide or provide assistance in Darfur. The first two failures were due to ineptness by U.N. military forces on the spot and unwise top-level decision-making. The latter failure, till now, is primarily due to international politics and concern for regular oil supplies at stable prices.

Ralph Dobrin is the author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

To order the book click:  type: how to avoid Armageddon

Continued at United Nations – 2:


Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, Solutions for Palestine, Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .


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