Without the UN, what?
Over the years we have been critical of the United Nations for a variety of reasons. It has often been hamstrung in times of crisis; it has often catered to dictatorships and tyrants; it has made a mockery of human rights issues by putting some of the worst offending nations on commissions intended to deal with those issues.
But as the UN begins its annual General Assembly this week, we have to remark that without the UN, where would we be?
Where else can leaders of the world’s nations stand up and declare their agendas, state their grievances, call for changes and demand action on issues?
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a wake up call to the nations of the world. “We are on the edge of an abyss — and moving in the wrong direction,” Guterres said. “I’m here to sound the alarm. The world must wake up.” He listed six “great divides” that nations must wind ways to overcome.
Where else in the world could such issues be brought to worldwide attention?
The UN may be an imperfect forum, a place of much talk and little action, but it is the best alternative to a world where all nations pursue only their own interests. It is a place where nations can come to negotiate, to promote peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to address global problems and seek solutions.
President Joe Biden, in his address to the UN this week, promised “relentless diplomacy,” and said that for the U.S. to prosper, it must “engage deeply with the rest of the world.”
The UN is the one place in the world where nations can “engage deeply” with the rest of the world. We don’t