By Otto Spijkers
Yesterday was United Nations day. Of course, the UN Secretary-General had very positive things to say about his employer:
The world is changing in the United Nations’ favor — as more people and Governments understand that multilateralism is the only path in our interdependent and globalizing world. Global problems demand global solutions — and going it alone is not a viable option. Whether we are speaking of peace and security, development, or human rights, demands on our Organization are growing every day.
More interesting, perhaps, is to read some of the comments posted on the US Department of State Official Blog (to make such a blog is a wonderful idea, I think, and I hope the Dutch Government will start a blog of its own soon). The question asked to all Americans was phrased in a very positive way: ‘Does the United Nations continue to effectively fulfill its mission?’ (It could easily have been formulated otherwise, as in ‘Does the costly and ineffective bureaucracy, referred to as the UN, which failed to prevent genocide in Rwanda and Srebrenica, and which now fails to establish peace and security in the Congo.. etc. etc., need to be abolished?’) There were quite a few people who answered the question. All the replies are interesting (and all are very positive). Here are some of the most interesting (in my opinion, that is):
Mark in Massachusetts writes: Yes, the United Nations continues to fulfill its mission effectively. What could you possibly propose as an alternative? Scott in Washington, DC writes: The U.S.-UN relationships is like a marriage. It isn’t always perfect and we don’t always get what we want, but life would be much more difficult without our partner. The UN today is at least as relevant – and as helpful to U.S. interests – as it has ever been. Ralph in Greece writes: I believe the UN has always done the best it can. With any organization run by people, you will have problems, but the system works. Now, please get them to pay their parking tickets!! Please! Jane in Pennsylvania writes: I believe that the UN does effectively fulfill its mission. I am most impressed with the peace keeping missions that the UN does. I witnessed this in Haiti in 2004. Their work was very positive and life-giving. I think the U.S. should be more supportive of the UN and its mission. Patrick in Washington, DC writes: The UN is the most effective format for bringing together nations to choose the course of human existence. I firmly believe that if the United States supported the UN, financially, politically and ideologically, there would be zero doubt about the UN’s effectiveness. It is time that the U.S. fulfills our dues to UN and our debt to UN Peacekeeping. This year’s record number of Peacekeeping missions (18) is indication enough that the world deserves our support. Furthermore, how many Nobel Peace prizes will be awarded to UN entities before Americans realize the value of peace? Dave in New Mexico writes: I am truly disgusted with the constant barrage of negative comments directed at the UN, the worst of them initiated by the White House. I’m astounded that we even listen to their divisive rhetoric, which is also accompanied by fraudulent and ignored financial commitments by this administration. I am an absolute believer, that if this country truly supported and adhered to UN policies and programs, this world would have a far better chance of finding peace and understanding. But, as long as corrupt, divisive men such as George Bush and Dick Cheney are calling the shot’s this wonderful international peace keeping organization doesn’t stand much of a chance, and that is very sad, indeed it’s a travesty! Marlene in Washington writes: Even if the United Nations were accomplishing nothing we would at least have a forum for the world. I feel that the attacks from certain factions in my country spring from ignorance and greed and having Bolton as our UN ambassador is an insult. I hope that the many countries involved in the US realize that the American people by and large do not agree with our current government administration.
Many comments were highly critical of the blog’s owner, the United States Government. Even though I tried very hard, I couldn’t find a single comment which was not positive about the United Nations. Is there such a big difference between the American people’s views on the United Nations and that of their current Administration? I’m not sure how much one can rely on a few comments on a blog, but it certainly seems there is a huge difference. – Otto