A Post-UN World

I am not a terribly political animal, despite the apparent leanings of my writings to this point. It is the times, I suppose. Now I find myself considering what the post-UN world will look like. I still suspect that the United States and the United Kingdom have some hope of prevailing in the UNSC; however, such a development would in my opinion merely serve to postpone the inevitable. As I noted some time ago, entities such as the United Nations and NATO rarely cease to exist overnight, rather they die by degrees, with the d?nouement arriving publicly long after all parties privately acknowledge the beast is no more.

What comes next is an interesting question. The United Nations’ major flaw is its need to treat all nations as essentially equal, even if it treats five members as more equal than the others. Any cretinous thug who manages to seize power must eventually be treated as a legitimate head of state possessing sovereign powers within his borders. This was necessary when the UN was formed, but it has become an outdated and dangerous practice over the past few decades. Anything that follows after the UN will be required to make distinctions between such nations.

Very loosely I suspect such an organization might form around requirements such as these:

Member nations would be democracies.

Member nations would guarantee freedoms as defined in terms of western liberal political systems.

Member nations must maintain a credible military force, most likely with a requirement that there be a credible “Ready Force” for expeditionary operations.

Each of these requirements poses problems. What does one say about China, which lacks any credible claim to democracy, but which is clearly moving in the direction of open capitalism? I would expect that the definitions of the terms in question would be loosened just enough to recognize reality; however, it is just as likely that the UN could be replaced by a number of organizations, perhaps regionally based. Either way what results is an organization that discerns between governments that serve the public and governments that the public serves.

The critical issue is that whichever organization forms around the United States immediately becomes the organization of choice for nations and peoples interested in maintaining their own security and prosperity. Many would be able to make the choice to join without huge changes in policy. For others it would be a more wrenching decision. Most of modern western Europe would be faced with a choice between a US/UK centric organization which requires a step back from the socialism-light which currently prevails, or they can continue to cling to a European Union which would demand much and provide little in the way of security or prosperity. This is not a clear-cut choice- the EU represents a familiar framework that would be very, very seductive to those political entities most resistant to change. Again, it promises much, but it is structurally incapable of delivering.

David Gelertner posits an organization built around the US, the UK and Russia that could slowly, but inexorably rise to replace the UN. This is as likely (probably more so) than what I have speculated upon. I am also heartened that he also has the “credible military force” requirement included. He relates that the UN’s problems are deep-seated and once again, that it is the idea that member nations are sovereign by right of holding power that begins to poison that institution at its very roots. That is the issue that must be corrected, either by reform or replacement, in order for an international organization to begin to hold forth the promise of a safer, more secure, more prosperous world.

This is a discussion that needs to be on going in the upper levels of the US government. Given the predilections of the current Secretary of State, I suspect it is.

The link to Gelertner’s article in the Weekly Standard was found at Occam’s Toothbrush

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