Saturday, December 25, 2004
The UN: The World's Greatest Trade Association
Tech Central Station: "The United Nations is the pre-eminent trade association for people involved in the business of government power. Actually, it is more focused than that. The United Nations is the trade association for the world's executive branches -- the place where executive branches come together to promote their individual interests to one another, and to promote the expansion of executive authority in general. This point is often missed by UN critics who dismiss the organization as nothing more than the world's greatest debating society. These critics confuse being voluntary with being powerless. Organizations like The American Bar Association, the American Medical Association, the International Tobacco Growers' Association are all voluntary -- but certainly not powerless.
Once it is understood that the United Nations is a trade association for the promotion of executive authority, its behavior becomes almost rational. The trade association extends professional courtesy to its members -- its cardinal rule is not to step on the toes of another executive. Saddam Hussein violated this rule by invading Kuwait and displacing another executive. Hussein paid for this mistake; the UN stepped in to enforce discipline amongst its members.
But looking to the UN to protect individuals who are not government executives from abuses of government power makes as much sense as looking to the International Tobacco Growers' Association to protect individuals from the dangers of smoking. In a place like Zimbabwe, lives are threatened, but executive authority is not. Executive Robert Mugabe is very strong, so the UN takes no interest in human rights violations there. Action to protect Venezuela's democracy might limit the reach of executive Hugo Chavez's power, so the UN stays away. In the Ukraine, the UN recently announced it was pleased there will be a re-vote in the country's contested Presidential election. In other words, it does not matter to the UN who takes control, so long as there is no prolonged vacuum of executive power. Haiti is a frequent site of UN intervention because vacuums of executive power occasionally arise there. The UN is always willing to intervene to help bring strong executive authority to a place where it is lacking."
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