The United Nations’ Role in Peace and War.

"The UN of the arms dealers - the most disreputable and yet profitable business on earth."

The United Nations' Role in Peace and War.

Global Research Public Lecture, Montreal, December 1, 2009

Some times the New York Times does the right thing. This morning the Editorial (December 1, 2009) condemned the Swiss referendum vote to prohibit the construction of minarets on Mosques throughout the country. And on the Op. Ed. Page Bob Herbert quoted Eisenhower “ I hate war, as only a soldier who has lived it can, as one who has seen its brutality, it futility, its stupidity.” He added, and “:every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a  theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”  

And especially thank you Professor Chossudovsky for this opportunity to speak in Montreal. And to listen, and to learn from audience reaction and comments.

As you may have guessed – this is not intended to be a ‘feel good’ review of the UN.  We are here to think, and consider something different, something better. Something representative, something respectful of international law: committed to equality of nations and people. An organization that really believes in a single standard of behaviour and treatment for all… and not double standards as of now.

The New York Times Editorial of 21 November suggested that readers should not be too critical of President Obama’s recent visit to China… as he still trying to restore America’s moral authority!  My first thought was: Restore what moral authority? 

My second was: that the restoration concept – should absolutely apply to the United Nations! And in particular to the Security Council responsible for global Peace and Security. It is to that Council we should look for secular moral authority, global leadership, respect for international law and for management of global peaceful co-existence.  But we don’t – do we?  

Before diving into the business of restoration – let’s look at how the UN is viewed today:

First – there is the UN of people’s unrealistic expectations – how we want the UN to be: to act: to represent us caring people! – a UN to bring good will, and wellbeing to people-kind everywhere.

We want it to be the UN of the Preamble – “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war… to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small… to establish… justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law… to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom… and for these ends  to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security…

I believe most of us want a UN set apart and distinct from the ugly politics of the G-8, the EU, NATO, US/UK and the wars illegally pursued by UN Member States such as in the Congo, Chechnya, Gaza, Georgia, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan… as we meet tonight.

Ugly politics have undermined the Preamble –  in fact, they have neglected the entire word and spirit of the UN Charter!

Sadly this perfect UN does not exist. Nor does its moral authority.     

The Second perception is: the UN of the ‘Masters of the Universe’! The five veto powers and permanent members of the Security Council – the so called victors of the Second World War. The old boys club of 1945. The five States that have corrupted the UN Charter. And corrupted the work of the UN. Applying double-standards, and disregard for law – they have made the organisation primarily serve their best interests rather than serve its mandate.

I refer to the five most dangerous Member States that together manufacture and sell some 85% of military arms, including nuclear weapons, and so called weapons of mass destruction. This is the UN of the arms dealers – the most disreputable and yet profitable business on earth.

And tragically and quite bizarrely – these arms dealers are the same Member States that the UN Charter entrusts with maintaining Peace and Security around the world!  I trust you see the disconnect?  The incompatibility?  – the mind boggling reality of nuclear powers and weapons  salesmen being responsible for peaceful co-existence?! It’s madness!

Perception number three: Is the UN of the Secretariat, the Secretary-General – the servant of the member states. The Secretary-General is the administrative leader of the UN family of Agencies, Programmes and organizations. This is the so-called UN System that takes instructions from the member states – the share holders – some from the permanent five and some from the 191 member states of the General Assembly who subsist under the shadow of the Permanent Five. Politically driven orders come directly – such as my personal experience in Iraq when I headed up[ the UN Humanitarian Programme – or via Member State boards, councils, assemblies, committees etc.

I can argue this is proper – the stake holders have rights! What it does however is remind us that despite the words of the Preamble to the Charter… “We the peoples” – the UN is an organization of States, NOT people.  Real people actually have limited input. Sometimes via NGOs affiliated in a variety of ways. The bottom line however – is the State – your State and my State. And mostly States think not with heart or mind, or guided by any moral standard (except for Canada of course!)… but with the sensitivity only of self-interest, power, and ambition. This-self interest reaches a high art form when it comes to the five veto powers of the Security Council. And self-interest is not endorsed in the UN Charter!

As Bill Clinton and Madame Albright liked to say – the United Nations is there to further the best interests – of US foreign policy. However, to be fair, other States undoubtedly see it much the same way, but are more discrete! And lack ambitions and military capacity for global empire!

And now we have President Obama – who wants to work with the United Nations and be a player rather than to dominate and control. Sounds good – we await the reality as he expands the war in Afghanistan, keeps Bagram airbase prison full of the tortured and uncharged, finishes off the destruction of Iraq, refuses to end the occupation of Okinawa, has the thick skin to criticize China for human rights abuses when America itself has a deplorable record, and now militarily threatens Iran! Not exactly the sort of new player we had hoped for perhaps! But let’s keep our fingers crossed…

Let me add in the context of UN perception number three – that the Programmes, Agencies, bodies of the UN do good work everyday all over the world – WHEN not instructed by the Masters of the Universe to do otherwise – such as:

the unwillingness  of the World Health Organisation to deal honestly with the appalling dangers of military usage of Depleted Uranium. I am sure you have seen the latest data from Fallujah? Where child mortality has sky rocketed and birth deformities – two heads, no limbs – are increasingly common. Women are now afraid to get pregnant. Believe me, the horrors of Fallujah today will be faced by the rest of us tomorrow – if we do not ban the use of Depleted Uranium. There is world movement afoot; the website is www.bandepleteduranium.org  

OR the weak mandate and capacity provided for the UN Environmental Programme to anticipate, manage environmental/climate calamities world wide. We know about the disappointments of Kyoto, and now Copenhagen looks very tough going. Although we now see movement from China and the US, the UN – needs independent oversight authority re climate change policies and implementation if Copenhagen is to be different from Kyoto.

Or the IAEA – the Atomic Energy Agency – whose objective expert advice is too often set aside by the Security Council when military aggression is more politically attractive, or simply ideal for empire building. Or in respect of some nuclear states – such as Pakistan, Israel and India – IAEA is allowed no role at all!

OR when the IMF/World Bank bullies the poor and indebted countries to further diminish their expenditures for education, social services, housing, health care – the very basic human rights of us all. The critical expenditures if poor countries are ever to strive to catch up, for human equality and wellbeing.  Who do the WB and IMF serve? – their limited share holders – not those in most need.  

Or lack of attendance at the recent FAO meeting in Rome on  “food” – in a world where now over one billion face starvation and billions more face constant hunger – something that should shame us all. It does shame us all.

From our OECD countries – the rich and the richer – the only leader in attendance was – Mr Berlusconi, Prime Minister of the host country! The Pope made the best statement. Where was the leadership of the North?

Where were the Big Five? Is food shortage – not an issue of humanity, of peace and security? In an environment of less fresh water, declining food production in the South, the dangers of genetically altered seeds and new agro-imperialism – why were we not represented at the highest levels? Is it because we are busy looking after ourselves?    

However, as I have said and despite this political interference and negligence – good work happens everyday! These UN technical organizations are staffed with good minds, good intentions although limited budgets. They work with NGOs and civil society all over the globe, particularly in the developing countries.

Regarding UN humanitarian assistance – UNRWA in Gaza feeds some 80% of the entire population as Palestinians struggle, and often fail to survive under the genocidal blockade of Israel. A blockade the US supports, and the EU and the Arab states enable – as they stand by and watch life and expectations come to an end.  

Despite UN Agencies – UNICEF, UNWRA  and others on the ground – the human catastrophe grows as Egypt blocks the exit at Raffah as they did earlier this year when thousands of refugees tried  to escape civilian bombing with  white phosphorus, DU. And today they block Palestinian students going out and food and other  basic supplies coming in.

The Security Council?  It has fiddled as Gaza and its people literally burned. And still is unwilling to demand that Gaza be opened to world-wide assistance, freedom, democracy, hope, opportunities. A glaring failure to act. A glaring failure of corruption of its mandate – a Council held hostage by a few.

Let us hope that the Free Gaza Movement ships can soon break the Israeli stranglehold, and allow Palestinians to breathe, work, live and grow.  

And soon let’s hope the UN Security Council reads the Goldstone Report, and has the courage to act upon it, and accepts its responsibilities for protecting the Palestinians of Gaza – the victims of what has been described as a “perfect” genocide.

Whether it is Gaza, or the work of the World Food Programme which now feeds countless millions every day – the self-serving UN of the Security Council is always a political danger. The danger of resorting to Sanctions, or military aggression, before peaceful resolution, proper dialogue, is sincerely attempted. Politically driven R2P is mockery of humanitarian needs. The politics of the Council makes a mockery of the Charter.

How very good it was recently to see China refuse Obama’s request for war on Iran and suggest instead non-violent resolution – via dialogue and negotiation. Sadly, on Friday last, the news indicated that Russia and China were coming around to the idea of  imposing UN sanctions. I trust they would not support the “crippling sanctions” that Sec. of State Clinton wishes to have imposed – having have learned nothing from the deadly UN sanctions on Iraq, it appears.

Crippling or otherwise – UN Sanctions on Iran and the people of Iran would constitute “collective punishment”. And collective punishment is in violation of international law. Sanctions are a form of warfare – that can kill communities  - that kill children – slowly as those of you familiar with Iraq are aware. There is no justification – there never can be justification for killing the people of Iran.

Maybe your perceptions are not the same as mine.  But that is my experience and perception of the UN at work today. Good, very good, and very bad; very dangerous and absolutely unacceptable. A Charter corrupted; self-interest dominant. The very few in control. UN failure in peace and security only too common. International Law in the service of some, not all.

We all remember the day the UN Security Council under US/UK leadership refused to allow the Arms Inspector Hans Blix finish his work in Iraq, because the opportunities for war, the very smell of profits, was too much for Bush and Blair to resist. Such is leadership in democracies which are manipulated by capitalism. Often led it seems by the Christian born-again who have forgotten their man – was a socialist who spoke of love, not warfare.

To enable the Iraq invasion – the Charter was abused and misinterpreted. No one bought the Bush/Blair nonsense about defense. Forty-five minutes from London! Article 51 which allows for rightful defense to imminent threat – clearly did not apply.

And now the UN Security Council is faced with expansion by Britain and the US, and maybe the reluctant NATO – of the war on the people of Afghanistan. I expect no action by the Council, but expanded war raises a question: when the majority of citizens in a democracy are opposed to war or expanded warfare, is it legitimate?

And who is responsible? How can the citizens be held responsible – as they must be – when democracies determine to undertake a war of aggression? Many would say there are no non-combatants in a democracy pursuing aggressive warfare. Otherwise what is the shared responsibility of democracy all about?

As war expands again, how did we reach this state of weakness, failure in the Security Council. When did the rot start? We could begin in 1945, but allow me to take you back to the 1920s, when Churchill and his man Harris set about frustrating Kurdish dreams of independence. Using bi-planes they decided to employ “terrorism” (you know – as in “Shock and Awe” on Baghdad in early 2003). They decided to bomb civilians in the Kurdish towns and villages of northern Iraq.  As you well know, Churchill and Bomber Harris continued these infamous tactics when they killed hundreds of thousands of civilians by firebombing Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden etc.

Since then, the UN Security Coucil has watched passively as matters have further deteriorated. Now we see military regimes kill civilians with sophisticated aircraft, or Predator drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza – using massive bunker busters, cluster munitions, white phosphorous or depleted uranium on children, women and men. They bomb the media - such as Al Jazeera offices in Baghdad and Kabul. Professor Chossudovsky and I met with an Al Jazeera cameraman – Sami Al Haj – recently in Malaysia as he described 7 years of abuse and torture in the Guantanimo cages – to a “peoples” war crimes Commission.  

In Gaza, civilians and UN staff members have been attacked and killed. Along with UN  food warehouses, schools and health clinics.  I learned last week from a UN colleague in Jerusalem that – having completely destroyed the American International School from the air – the Israeli army found it necessary to bulldoze the playground – swings and slides – of the Primary School. Is that not  incomprehensible violence and punishment of children? Extraordinary! And equally extraordinarily, the UN Permanent Members of the Security Council made sure nothing was done… nothing… to stop the killings. Genocide can be astonishing in its thoroughness! And its continuation – as we meet here in warm and safe Montreal – as winter arrives in Gaza crushing the children of Gaza.

Why did I mention Churchill? Because he – together with Stalin and Roosevelt – were the authors of the UN Charter. It was they who demanded the strangled hold, the control that the Five Permanent seats-with-veto-power – provide.

Do I need to tell you about Stalin? No – let’s not go into his human rights record – you are all familiar with his brutal and deadly ethnic cleansing practices. After some twenty million lost in the war itself, many millions more killed in the Soviet Union. A human catastrophe that is difficult to envisage.   

As for Roosevelt, it now appears to many that he so wanted to join Churchill in the war that the attack on Pearl Harbour was “facilitated” in order to trigger American entry into the war in Europe.

Despite the reservations and finally the resignation of the Admiral of the Pacific Fleet, US warships remained vulnerable out in the middle of the Pacific. The Admiral begged Roosevelt to withdraw the fleet to California. Intelligence was available on the impending attack. Churchill celebrated when Pearl Harbour was hit.

In short, we had these three very hard men in 1944-45 to which we can add Chiang Kai Chek and Charles de Gaulle – to make 5. They led the same 5 countries  that created and hold to this day – some 65 years later – veto power, and permanent seats, that control the UN Security Council.

Let’s look at the consequences of having midwives of this questionable caliber:

The damage to the credibility of the UN; how it functions, or fails to function has been huge. How it is perceived around the globe, particularly by those not represented in any way by the Magic Five is often negative. And often confused – UN or US? – unclear!

I refer primarily to the South, the poor and the poorest. The majority. And I refer to some sovereign states unlucky to sit on oil, mineral wealth and perhaps water and other resources that are required by the rich, and the militarily powerful. Some of us are ruthless in the manner we gobble up the natural finite resources of other sovereign states. The “somewhat” or theoretical democracies seem able to justify to themselves wars of aggression, plus exploitation, rape, and pillage – of course they may prefer to use words like development, investment and trade!

The UN Security Council delays, compromises, and ultimately acquiesces to Big Five wishes. As happened during the lead in to the totally illegal invasion of Iraq by American and British forces in early 2003.

The Government examination that has recently started in London – while better than nothing – has no authority.

And the UN? – compromised and further diminished. Those States which could have vetoed that invasion did not make the gesture of rejection as required by the Charter. The Charter was ravaged, but the US and UK got away with it. No censure. No suspension from the Security Council. No compensation to be paid, or reparations? … nyet!

What about the application of double standards? Iraq illegally invades Kuwait and all hell breaks lose, although Baghdad was ready to negotiate a peaceful retreat. Capitalist greed for Iraqi oil, and opportunity for war, the desire for strategic presence in the Region – set that peaceful possibility aside real quickly. And like the UN Gulf War of 1991, state terrorism again, atrocities committed and the terror of military occupation and killing began, and continues.

Meanwhile, Iraqi reparations to Kuwait so far has reached some 60 billion dollars and continues. Meanwhile Viet Nam waits for its first penny! Reparation payments to Iraq? Don’t think so! – again that is double standards at work.

I lived and worked for the UN in Baghdad under UN Sanctions in 1997-98 – and it was a safe city. Today following massive bombing, occupation and a puppet Government – assassination and ethnic cleansing is a daily event! And some 100,000 American mercenaries run wild – killing outside of both domestic or international law. Has the Council spoken? … no.

So if the Security Council is “fixed”, where is the UN International Criminal Court? – it is hog-tied like prisoners en route to Guantanimo Bay. The Prosecutor has little power. Otherwise he would be knocking on 10 Downing Street!  The US failed to ratify ICC and Blair still awaits domestic prosecution. The Old Boys of the Big Five are protected. So ICC works on Taylor and Vladovic, and other small war criminals.  Again that is a double standard at play – the familiar Achilles heel of the United Nations.

   

The list of Security Council failures is long, and I do not intend to drag you threw it. I have already – from the start tonight – touched  in passing on the consequences of self-interest, inequality amongst member states, and the profits of war, and consumption of natural resources.

I take it that we all remember, how in Srebrenicia, UN peacekeepers stood by as the massacre of some 7,000 Muslim men and boys took place. The Council failed to prevent ethnic cleansing.

In Rwanda, none of us can forget the massacres that took place as a few thousand UN troops were in the country forbidden by the Council to lift a finger. Although some did assist under a courageous Canadian General who has described it  in detail. Who set off the genocide? Still an open question. Meantime, I understand Rwanda has become English speaking! Strangely the same outcome that war had in Cambodia and Viet Nam!

In Afghanistan, we have witnessed an invasion and occupation, with endless civilian loss of life – grow out of hysteria in the days after 9/11. The UN Security Council endorsed revenge on the people of Afghanistan. But were they involved?  I don’t think so. I do not recall that the money, the pilots, the brains behind this terrible act of defense – came from Afghanistan. Were Afghans flown out of the US by Bush within hours of 9/11? Not that I recall. Unfortunate Afghanistan – just another opportunity for war?

The country of Iraq has been destroyed, as in Fallujah that I mentioned already – in terms of cultural, social, economic and infrastructural integrity and wellbeing. What more can I say?  The Council kept quiet.

In Gaza this very year we have witnessed similar total destruction. Again the UN Security Council has failed to halt violence.

We cannot pass without expressing concern over the rise of NATO as a new and dangerous aggressive force outside its region. And we have to regret the UN role in expanding NATO capacity and reach.

And we cannot neglect the threats to Iran of attack. Without solid evidence of military intentions for nuclear power, Iran is under threat of military attack from Israel and the USA. The Security Council is being bulldozed yet again into acquiescence. The similarity to the  lead up to the invasion of Iraq is frighteningly familiar.

The pre-emptive concept is again in play and there is no provision for that ‘game’ under international law.

Iran regardless of its internal struggles is a sovereign state with the right to defend itself. It is currently surrounded by American and Israeli nuclear war heads. Were Iran to seek nuclear defensive weapons, a case could be made, as per a deterrent. But not by me.

To expect a sovereign state of such vulnerability and dignity to accept the UN/EU demands that its nuclear fuel be processed overseas by the very countries now threatening its security and  sovereignty – is of course unreal.

The Security Council must recognize Iran’s perfect right to nuclear power and to ensure via the IAEA that such power is only for peaceful purposes. Of course you could ask why should Iran be inspected when the US refuses to be inspected? And Israel denies any knowledge of its nuclear arsenal? … could that be double standards again!  

The Council needs to demand and make conditional for Iran’s inspection compliance that the Americans and Israelis stand down, and that Israel gives up its nuclear weapons. And demand that all nuclear powers disarm – including the Five Permanent Members – another crime of omission by the Big Boys – well, of course – they are the one and the same! A little conflict of interest – you might say!

OK what can we do about changing the UN, and the Security Council in particualar?

For a number of years I have been proposing at University and public meetings reform of the SC.  Discussion to this end in the GA has been ongoing for some 15 years. Changes made have been miniscule and growth of real power has been limited to proposing Germany, Italy and Japan be promoted to Big Boy status. That is ridiculous. Why? Because the Council is already dominated by the North, and I include China in the North. What the Council needs is balance – that is, balance between the North and South. We need the majority of the world’s people to be represented. Is that rocket science? Don’t think so but quelle horreur! I can hear that old colonialist Churchill spinning … at the very thought!

And is it appropriate for the Permanent Five to select the States they fancy? Don’t think so. My view is that Council representation should be Regional, not country and that each Region should  select its representative State to sit – five  years before turnover to another. And the selected country would speak for, on behalf of  the whole – the Region itself. This would seem to require within-region consultation before major decisions – and why not? Consultation might prevent the errors of haste – as in the Council’s approval three days after 9/11 to endorse invading Afghanistan.

Thus you can visualise for Central and Latin America, Costa Rica might be selected – small with no military power – but when small Costa Rica speaks on the Security Council – the world would know that Latin America and the Caribbean is speaking. Now would have clout. That would mean something. That would be the voice of the South.

Or closer to home, lets consider North America – Canada, United States and Mexico. One permanent seat – rotating membership. Do you think that Canada could represent the US and Mexico – why not? We would be ahead, unless of course Canada now has plans to take over the world! Might not be a comfortable seat for Canada, but it would  force DC to talk to Ottawa before any hyperventilation.

The same model would work for Sub-Sahara Africa; North Africa and the Middle East; South East Asia and Australia/NZ; South Asia and so on. Europe  - the EU -now with two Old Boys would drop to one rotating permanent seat.

With this globally representative system, with the loss or at least  reduction of Nuclear Powers and the inclusion of the majority – the countries of the South – I believe we would see different decisions. Do you think South Asia and  North Africa and Middle East permanent seats would have endorsed the invasion of Afghanistan? or the destruction of Iraq. I do not think so!

With this Reform, do you agree that pressure to disarm and destroy Nuclear Weapons might be greater? Do you agree that pressure to address climate change, rising waters, would also be greater? With poverty represented around the table would you not hope that the rights of the poor and poorest would be properly addressed for the first time.

Do you think that Food, Food Security, Human security would be better considered and solutions found? Do you  think that influence over the World Bank, IMF would not be more people-friendly? More developmental and less punitive?

The possibilities for enhanced decision making  are endless. There would be new ownership of the United Nations, and hope and perhaps a new beginning.  Less self-serving control, less presence of the military powerful and less corruption of international law and the UN Charter?

I know, you think I am some crazy aging optimist!  Am I sincerely hopeful? Yes, because we have seen a change recently. And our potential friend and player President Obama has recognized  that the G-20 format must stay in place. That means the South has been acknowledged properly for the first time. To see Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa, India and Indonesia and other represented – all formerly colonial subjects – that is something revolutionary.

Now some of you are unhappy because the G-20 is the rich G-8 all over again… just bigger. Yes… it does have the rich countries of the South on board. But I reckon the additions to the G-8  bring in more than 4 billion human beings. Now that is positive change!

My interest is to use the G-20 breakthrough for the purposes of UN Security Council reform. And why would the Five Old Boys accept this kind of dilution of power in the UN Security Council? Because it is their interest to do so. They are beginning to recognize power in the South, and they know the UN is becoming irrelevant, and to sustain the Security Council – the same South must be seated.

With new seating in the Council, I believe double standards as of now will be much less likely. I see the provisions of the Charter and international law being respected. Because second class countries, and second class peoples would be no more. There would be full representation on matters of Peace and Security – for the first time ever!

The little countries that the Big Boys like to bully, even invade and to sell the rubbish of weapons… will now be around the table. That may constrain the arms dealers, the empire builders and those who feel able to steal the sovereign rights and natural resources of those not militarized. That is good stuff.

But again, let me ask why would the five Veto Powers agree to reform? Because they understand that Geo-political power has already moved away from the Council to the G-8. Now they have seen the G-20  enhance that geo-political power and further diminish the role of the Council. They fear that critical global initiatives in the coming years will not come from the UN but from  the G-20 where the world is represented – both geographically and in terms of North/South balance.

Meantime, the Council is becoming largely reactive – dealing with individual country issues rather than global concerns which are intimately linked to Peace and Security. Their very mandate is in danger!

Fearing redundancy and irrelevance, old Europe has become the new EU which has grown into the largest economic block on earth. More important, despite the dangers of NATO, Europe with a history of war has become a Europe at peace. Meantime, the SC has been stagnant and is in danger of being set aside unless it becomes representative, and dare I suggest it : democratic – no more veto power – but a new sense of responsibility, supported by the goals but within the constraints of the Charter and international law. No more double standards of approach.

To complete this revolution we would need to have real people represented more in the UN dialogue and halls of consideration, and participation. Full NGO and civil society representation must be integrated.  We would need to see greater respect for international law, human rights, rights of the child amongst other legal provisions.

For war crimes of the kind we have seen in recent years – I refer to the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza. And the internal crimes being committed in Sudan and the Congo – the UN needs to make the ICC work. Prosecution of domestic leadership war crimes, crimes against humanity should be pursued by domestic laws and courts. However, failing that the machinery of the International Criminal Court must be used.

The War Crimes Commissions and Tribunals in which Michel Chossudovsky and I participate would be redundant if the double standards protecting those in the US and UK were found to be unacceptable and if the ICC had teeth. Dictators or democrats, leaders must understand and accept that they must govern within the provisions of domestic and international law.  The Peoples Courts – the Tribunals of Russell, Brussels, Dublin and Kuala Lumpur – are the only substitute we have to show the criminology of leadership. Until the ICC functions properly, leadership will feel above the law and that is unacceptable.     

I know I am pushing my luck and testing your patience,  but in closing I want to mention Perdana – the Criminalisation of War, and everything to do with warfare.

Without taking away the right of defense, which Gandhi and Perdana respect – this philosophy calls for the achievement of peace through promoting peace and not glorifying warfare.

How?

by declaring that killing in war is the same as in peace and deserves prosecution, including leaders who take nations to war;

by establishing that all commercial, financial, industrial and scientific activities that support war should be considered criminal;

by fully accepting the principles of the UN Charter for peaceful termination of disputes;

by ensuring that public servants and those in the medical, legal, scientific, and educational fields  promote peace and campaign against war;

by demanding that the media oppose war, its glorification and promote the ethos of non violence;

by requiring all religious leaders to condemn warfare and promote peaceful solutions.

That is Perdana.

The reformed and restored Security Council must be bound by the same philosophy. Any decision to use sanctions or other kinds of military force compatible with the Charter should be firstly recognised as failure to apply Articles 1 and 2. Secondly, the decision must be forwarded by the Security Council to the GA, and approved by two-thirds of the General Assembly before implementation. Even the new expanded Council would need the constraint of majority approval by a revitalised General Assembly, well stocked with civil society representation.

If we can reform the Security Council as described above, there will be progress and change. But if the UN member states cannot accept the Perdana philosophy to promote peaceful coexistence, the UN is doomed.  If the UN is there to benefit only the few – it is not a valid entity. The United Nations must change quickly to serve the best interests of all.

Denis Halliday spent most of his career with the United Nations in development and humanitarian assistance-related posts both in New York and overseas. In 1997, he was appointed United Nations Assistant Secretary General and head of the Humanitarian Program in Iraq. One year later, after a 34-year career with the UN, Halliday announced his resignation from the United Nations over the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq, characterizing them as “genocide”.

In 2000, Halliday was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2003, he was presented with the Gandhi International Peace Award. Since leaving the UN, Denis Halliday has been involved in a number of peace activities. He is currently involved in the Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Criminalise War. He also lectures at Trinity College, Dublin.

Articles by: Denis Halliday

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