Published at Canada Free Press on April 11, 2015
To answer the title question as succinctly as possible only requires two words – Not Much.
Founded in 1945 as a reaction to the incredible destruction the entire world suffered because of World War II, the main goal of the newly created United Nations was clearly as a tool to be used to prevent a sequel. Particularly after the way the United States brought the war in Asia to an abrupt halt after dropping nuclear weapons on the two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Was the United Nations successful in preventing an exchange of nuclear weapons ever since? In reality, even though there have been no further nuclear weapons actually used, the United Nations really hasn’t helped. Sovereign nations that, in fact, possessed the Bomb, and had enemies that clearly also had military weapons of the same type, certainly didn’t need to rely on the U.N. to deter their enemy from using a first strike capability. The United States and the U.S.S.R. certainly had their tense moments, but no one reached out to push their launch buttons. Neither did India or Pakistan, although they are nearly always at a high state of alert in both nations and are constantly mistrustful of each other.
Does that mean that the threat of U.N. interference caused hesitation among the various players? Not really. The participants in these standoff scenarios were more hesitant because of the realization that there was a law of nature was much more effective than any intervention by diplomats.
What law of nature, you might ask? How about M.A.D.? Mutually Assured Destruction.
There were no elaborate ceremonies to witness an event where participants signed an agreement, with the concurrence of their governments, which stated clearly “Hey, you drop anything on us, we’ll drop on you and turn your country into a glowing, radioactive parking lot.” These same governments did however use reason and logic to act as if such a document existed, and for the next sixty years, following the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it seems to have worked. Nuclear war has been avoided, which almost all humans view as generally a good thing.
Note two things, though. First, that favorable opinion of avoiding a nuclear war this applies only to most human beings. Second, the United Nations had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Has the United Nations prevented the proliferation of nuclear weapons among nations that do not currently possess them? Of course it did – sort of. On July 1, 1968 the final form of the non-proliferation treaty was signed. There was no mention of Pakistan, India or North Korea in the treaty. All three, however, achieved that status of nuclear states thereafter. Pakistan’s first nuclear test was in 1998, India’s first nuclear test was in 1974 and North Korea’s was in 2006.
So the non-proliferation treaty has really helped. After all, the U.N. can justifiably claim that at least Burkina Faso doesn’t have any nukes, nor does Mali.
How can there be any doubt about Iran not attempting to become the next nuclear state? When can the world expect Iran to trigger their first nuclear test? And will Iran see the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction? In fact, will Iran even see the threat of M.A.D. as a bad thing?
So how is the United Nations responding to the problem of an unquestionably problematic regime as Iran in the context of also possessing such a provably weapon of mass destruction?
Well, the U.N. has passed ten Security Council resolutions that were each intended to restrain Iran in terms of their nuclear ambitions in the context of nuclear non-proliferation. These began as early as July, 2006.
The list of Security Council resolutions is as follows:
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1696 – passed on July 31, 2006
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737 – passed on December 23, 2006
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747 – passed on March 24, 2007
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1803 – passed on March 3, 2008
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1835 – passed on September 27, 2008
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 – passed on June 9, 2010
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1984 – passed on June 9, 2011
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 2049 – passed on June 7, 2012
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 2105 – passed on June 5, 2013
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 2159 – passed on June 9, 2014
If the United Nations passed just a few more resolutions telling Iran to behave, we might be able to view these annual resolutions as the diplomatic equivalent to an Easter Egg Hunt. It might be lively, but not really accomplishing much, if anything.
The nations that are directly negotiating with Iran over their nuclear aspirations, the so-called P5+1, are not the only nations that are sanctioning Iran. Multiple other nations have joined in implementing economic sanctions against Iran.
In response to this multi-national economic assault on Iran has resulted in a rather startling reaction to the current negotiations. Although the Iranians are outnumbered by hundreds of millions of people, many of whom have significantly stronger military structures, as well as already possessing nuclear capability, it is still the Iranians who make inflexible demands on those who sit opposite them in these negotiations.
Perhaps President Obama is the only person on the planet who sees this as a rational response. In dealing with Iran, the United Nations itself seems to embody the psychiatric definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result.
So exactly what is the use in having the United Nations exist at all?
It obviously doesn’t do very well in that whole “Let’s prevent war” thing and apparently has all but given up that idea.
Unless one considers all their other, marginal efforts, aimed at creating a global government (which would probably operate about as well as the European Union) the United Nations has no reason to continue existing at all. After all, as we said at the start of this article, it doesn’t accomplish much, and then only on a very good day if at all.