THE Charter of the United Nations was drawn up and approved in 1945. Its stated objectives are to prevent war, forced occupation and to promote global justice. This vision is beautifully captured in a sculpture in the courtyard of the UN building which consists of a pistol with a knotted muzzle.
However, the UN has not been able to fulfill its mandate. Since its inception, war, famine, illegal occupation and inequalities between nations and classes have increased. This failure of the UN is written into its structure.
Five members of the Security Council can, and always have, vetoed resolutions against injustice, occupation and war. These five nations are the richest and / or most powerful nations on the planet. All five are also major manufacturers of small and large arms and all are exporters to the world market. Buyers of these weapons are across countries that repress their people, like Saudi Arabia, or seek to impose their will on the region in which they exist, like India. When not directly involved, they develop proxies to destabilize the region. The arms and ammunition produced by these powers have been used in Yemen, Syria, Libya, various parts of Africa and, for 40 years, in Afghanistan. They killed women and children indiscriminately and justified it as collateral damage. They have been used to confiscate Palestinian land and give it to Israel with massive military aid of $ 18 billion a year that they provide to the Zionist state.
In addition, it is well established that some of these countries smuggle weapons to warring factions in their areas of influence through a network of contractors (60% of this trade originates from the United States). United and 25% of Europe). Global spending on arms manufacturing amounts to $ 3 trillion, 39% of which is the United States’ share. China’s share is 13% and the UK, France and Russia collectively add up to 8.8%. It also shows the imbalance of power within the Security Council.
The failure of the United Nations is written into its structure.
Thirty-seven percent of all arms exports come from the United States, 20% from Russia and 16.7% from other members of the Security Council. Meanwhile, Israel is also becoming a major arms manufacturer, and its exports between 2016 and 2020 increased by 59%. This has major implications for the Middle East. Major arms importers, on the other hand, are Saudi Arabia (11pc), India (9.5pc), Egypt (5.8pc), UAE (3pc) and Pakistan (2, 7pc).
These figures give us an idea of the interest of the members of the Security Council in promoting a state of war. Their economies are heavily dependent on the production and sale of weapons and this has increased dramatically from $ 95 billion in 2017 to $ 3 billion in 2020.
The numbers also highlight the fact that the UN is all but dead and only survives because it has become part of the larger global system to maintain the current status quo of which a proliferating arms economy is an integral part.
The UN employs 37,000 permanent staff and has an annual budget of $ 3.231 billion (2021 figure). This does not include its special programs like peacekeeping (last year’s budget for peacekeeping was $ 6.58 billion) or famine-related projects. A large part of this expenditure is covered by the five powers. For example, the United States’ contribution to UN expenses is 22% of the total UN budget. To add insult to injury, these five powers and their allies are collectively known as the “international community”.
The UN maintains close working relations with the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) whose political and economic agendas it promotes, such as neoliberalism and global trade treaties, although it sometimes criticizes them quietly. Enough has been written about these organizations, in the case of Pakistan as well, to show that they are not interested in development but in creating dependency and increasing their borrowing. The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and DFID together employ 23,857 full-time people and have a combined budget of $ 5.4 billion. In addition, the UN and these agencies support thousands of NGOs and consultants in developing data, evaluating programs, and implementing small and medium-sized projects that serve the various programs they promote. This enormous bank of human resources, the power it creates and the interests it generates, collectively succeed in preventing the United Nations from formally dying. They are happy to keep it on a fan so they can survive as well.
There is a need to create, nurture and formalize a global network of organizations and individuals to lobby for UN reform or / and non-violent collective agitation against injustice in order to prevent the consolidation of an anti-poor status quo. If that doesn’t happen, there will be a lot more of Palestine, leading to global anarchy, and we will watch helplessly.
The writer is an architect, town planner and social activist.
Posted in Dawn, June 6, 2021