Sunday, October 24, 2010

United Nations - Do We Have a United View?

24th October marks anniversary of the United Nation Organization (UNO or UN). With the key goals of avoiding a third world war, maintain international peace, improve economic and humanitarian co-operation, the UN was founded on 24th October 1945 as an International organization with 51 original members. Currently the UN has 192 member countries.

Is UN successful in achieving its goals?

Despite success stories someone could argue otherwise with just a few examples:

•Though we did not have a war at the same scale as World War 2, the UN could not always get the conflicting countries to reach a peaceful solution. Soviet-Afghan, Gulf war, Korea, Iraq War, Arab-Israel war and Bosnian civil war are some examples.

•No solution in sight to resolve an ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.

•UN does not appear to have a plan to address terrorism that is an international problem now.

•UN could not prevent Rwandan genocide and Srebrenica ethnic cleansing and killings and could not provide aid to starving Somalians when needed most.

Do you think the UN is effective?

UN Security council structure still mandates original 5 Permanent members and 10 Non Permanent members elected for two years. India just got elected in the UN Security Council for a 2 year term that commences on Jan 1, 2011. India (and Japan too) has been pursuing for a permanent seat in the Security Council. In my opinion, the UN shall increase the number of permanent members and include both India and Japan. Besides being the third largest economy, Japan funds around 15% of the UN spending. India, on the other hand, is one of the biggest contributors in terms of peace keeping forces. In addition to nuclear capabilities and the state of art defense equipment, India has the third largest armed forces in the world. The largest democracy on the earth is 4th highest in terms of purchasing power.

Do you think the UN Security Council shall include India as a permanent member with the veto power considering the new reality?


Anonymous said...

You got it right. India deserves to be a permanent member. I don't know if UN is really effective.

Nice blog. Reached here through FB.

SG said...

Nice post. Very timely. My opinion is that there should be no “permanent members” in the Security Council. It was done 65 years ago. It is time to change. What gives these 5 countries the “big brother” title over other 187 countries? And, do we want to add a few more “big brothers”? I think all countries are equal and they all should have one vote each. Of the 5 permanent members, USA and China are the only “super powers”. Russia, England, and France are next to nothing. As the Tamil saying goes, these 3 are the empty asafodita (hing) tin. Only smell from the empty tin.

Since members don’t care for the UN resolutions, it is always ineffective. For example: UN Security Council Resolution Number 47 dated April 21, 1948 calls for the Kashmir issue to be decided through plebiscite. Both India and Pakistan agreed. In the 1950s, the Indian Government distanced itself from its commitment to hold a plebiscite.

I am not saying what India did is right or wrong. Indian may have its own valid reason. (I don’t want another long comments from nationalists pretending to be patriots.) This is only an example to illustrate that if member countries disregard the UN resolutions, UN will always be ineffective.

Amrit said...


Thanks. I see your comment on FB too.


Well five permanent members funded the UN and hence had and have veto power. Countries who fund control the organization. USA, France, China or any other country would not spend money without asking something in return. Now Japan financially and India by providing troops are funding UN, so they deserve better veto power too.

About Kashmir issue a) Pakistan never withdrew forces and hence second part cannot be executed.

India really did not anything wrong. If Pakistan had withdrawn forces and take it back to same state as when King agreed to part of India, the result would have been same...King agreed, people would have agreed. Keep in mind there was a vast majority of Hindus too.

Now even if Pakistan withdraws forces, Pakistan aided terrorists have chucked out all Hindus from Kashmir so plebiscite would not be fair. I know several Hindu friends who came from Kashmir practically saving their lives and left everything behind even though they were in Indian administered Kashmir.

SG said...

Please note that I wrote: India may have a valid reason.

If spending money for the UN is a consideration for giving permenent membership, then I have a scenario. If tomorrow, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, UAE, and Oman announce they will share the entire UN Expenses (20% each) are they entitled to become 5 Permanent Members? (All they have to do is to raise the gas prices. Hahaha)

Anonymous said...


Once again thought provoking blog. I feel India and Japan should be added since they are contributing to UN. Having a vote for everyone may stop big donors to reduce/stop funding UN and bring down the whole thing.


Amrit said...


Thanks. I am glad to see you left a comment here.


Yes. I noted that. I just added the actual reason. Also this scenario has been thought. As you know the US and other countries are working to reduce dependency on oil. Most of friends who are buying new cars are opting for Hybrid. Also here in NC, solar heater are becoming more popular to heat water. In addition, the USA has reserves.

Already Arab countries (OPEC) work together to control the price and how much drilling needs to be done. That has been in place for a long time. They tried to hike gas prices but the demands goes down. Right now it is pretty high as compare to before. If they raise too high because of demand from China, India, I am sure China and India will find a way to reduce dependence. Already India is working on nuclear reactor. My personal not very thoroughly analyzed guess is within 10-15 years, we will have electric cars only in the USA - the biggest oil consuming country will consume very little oil then.

Jidhu Jose said...

India have to be a permanent member.

kiran sawhney said...

Fantastic post. Bang on. Would write you lil more in email. I guess, i would prefer that.

chitra said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I also feel India should be a permanent member.

RiĆ  said...

Yes, i feel India shud be included for sure. And abt UN being effective or not....i feel yes they have been fairly effective, most of the time except some exceptions.

BK Chowla, said...

Yes, India must get on with a permanent seat.But,But,is UN effective any more or is it in direct control of those countries which fund it?

SM said...

nice post
the idea of UN is good
currently it is in failed state, but one day it will be successful idea.

Nisha said...

Thought provoking post.
India deserves to be in. It has its quota of muck in other's hands.

Bikram said...

i guess the problem is UN is dependent on a lot of other super powers or so said super powers

Each country shud be a member and then votes taken about the problems , I am all for it but just have a BIg brother is no good ,

a good post :)

Bikram's Blog

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

Interesting. I haven't thought about the UN in years, but I suppose my point of view would be: a) they screw up alll the time, and b) I still prefer having them around, and I still prefer them drastically to organizations like NATO. At least they have put forwards many initiatives that many countries have signed (although the US usually refuses to sign them).

And I agree more or less with SG on this one. I think there should be no permanent members with power of veto. Look at how it's used most of the time.

Amrit said...

@Jidhu Jose,

Let us see when that become reality. Thanks.


Thanks for compliments. No problems with emails.


Good. I am glad you agree with me.


Thanks. As I said there are a lot of good stories. I highlighted key failures in last several years.


Yes. Countries who fund obviously like to control. That is the way it is going to remain. Can you imagine India sending peace keeping forces to fight against Indian soldiers.


Always like your short yet so relevant comments.


Yes. I agree.


Well the countries who fund are going to control. USA or Japan or Germany or UK or any other country is going to fund an organization that operates against them. So big brother is always going to watch. The only alternative is to become big brother. India has become very big already.


Good perspective about UN and NATO. NATO is purely military. USA does sign many of them but definitely has used veto so as Russia so as China, UK and France. With regard to power of veto, the countries who fund it, who pour the money will want to control. Imagine if the China does not have veto...and several countries manage to win majority vote saying that they won't return borrowed money from China...will that be acceptable to you if you were Chinese?

Anonymous said...

Though provoking post A..

I too feel India should be included and I also feel the five permanent member policy need to be reviewed. With the stories wikileaks bringing out now a days I am not sure that USA should be in UN at all.

Kavita Saharia said...

I think India deserves to be a permanent member .It was on news yesterday that Prez Obama is supposed to endorse India as a permanent member of UNSC.

Anonymous said...

The post was informative. The comments b/w you and SG, were very thought provoking. I do feel that peaceful nations that contribute in some way deserve membership. Which means that India and Japan should ideally get one. I don't like arguing much on political matters. Doesn't lead to any solution. Lets just wait and watch I say...

Anonymous said...

well, I would say, that there was a time when UN used to be more effective. But lately it has become just a pawn in the hands of wealthy countries like US, and sort of platform for them to say what they want to say to the world. For me the worst example was Iraq war, UN officials kept inspecting and looking for nuclear weapons and they never found it. But still it did not stop US from going into the war with Iraq.
The other important thing was Veto to be used against decisions but that too was not allowed to be used. While it was a common knowledge that Russia and France were very much against it. Politically I don't think UN is effective at all. Ofcourse India being in the powerful position as permanent member with a veto power would be a great pride for us. But the effectiveness just stops there.
The good things about UN is that it gives a platform for the world to come to one table, and help provided to the countries who are affected by natural or political disasters, although that too has lot of limitations.
In the changing dimensions of the new world, the UN is becoming a bit obsolete.
Most of the organizations sprung up from their dynamics of the aftermath of second world war. and the rich countries had more effective ones, to put it crudely. G7, G8, NATO are all examples of "we are the stronger countries and you follow us" kind of attitude. NAM was kind of a rebel against that attitude with more idealist leaders like Nehruji.
But in todays world the clear cut division of super powers have gone. There was a time when world was Bipolar with USSR on one side and US on another and every country in the world siding with one or the other. The same division could be seen in UN too. But now the world has changed so much but that the effectiveness of UN is hardly seen. It is more like a institution standing because of its name rather than being effective.

Amrit said...


I kind of agree with you. UN needs to be reviewed as a whole. See comments from Anonymous.


Let us see what comes out from Obama's visit. Not sure if anything concrete will come out.


Yes. Readers know more than me and I find discussion always useful.


Thanks for detailed analysis. I don't think you have left any perspective for me to present any argument. I agree with everything you wrote and once again thanks a lot. I believe you are Sanji (of AT).

Anonymous said...

yup ,that is me, I thought I wrote my name. Darn it, gotta learn typing better.


Tanvi said...

Whenever ME & Friends talk about UN! We have the SAME sentiments. I think it is a royal waste of time in most parts. However it's others programs on Aid and Food do work. But it definitely need to reanalyze it's position on political issues. And India should definitely be on the Security Council.

Amrit said...


You provided a very good final conclusion. Thanks :)


I agree with you.