|A symbol for an end to violence|
What am I talking about? Well, while there are many examples of the UN dropping the ball on stuff, what sparked my specific complaint is the recent news that Kofi Annan has tendered his resignation as special envoy to Syria. Why do I find this so infuriating? Well, 19,000 innocent civilians being killed is one reason.
But the other is even deeper than that. There are lots of global issues and conflicts that have lots of nuance, grey areas, and don't lend themselves easily to 15 second sound bite solutions. However, every once and a while an easy one gets teed up, you know a straight shot where the evidence is conclusive and the course of action clear. When the UN can't get those one's right it makes you wonder about the whole institution itself.
Now, I'm not going to spend a ton of time here combing over the list of things the UN did or did not accomplish since it was created in 1945. There are true scholars and candidates to be scholars who dedicate their lives to such things. Instead, I'm going to ask a very tough question for a progressive like me to ask: What is the value of the UN, if they can't even agree on decent sanctions and a cease fire that would literally save thousands of lives.
We're not talking about an agreement to invade or something either...we're talking sanctions and a cease-fire. All the finger pointing in the world (and there has been lots) won't change the fact that UN inaction cost lives.
More than anything else, this should cause some amount of pause and reflection on what this institution still means to us, if anything. Even the staunchest UN supporters, those idealists and optimists, have to admit that the organization isn't living up to it's mission of "...maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights."
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