George Graham

What’s the UN Doing?

I just learned there’s a “UN mission in Iraq.” Really? What do they do? Why haven’t they stopped ISIS in its tracks, protected the Kurds and rescued the Yazidis? It seems the UN is a shadow of what it could be. And that’s a great pity.

The UN performs an admirable humanitarian service throughout the world. And the organization has an impressive – if overlooked – peacekeeping record. But it is underfunded, under-equipped and under-authorized. Imagine how much safer the world would be if the UN were adequately funded and equipped and given the go-ahead to keep the peace globally.

The US would be relieved of its perceived obligation to intervene in various trouble spots for one thing.

But to many Americans the UN is a threat, not a promise. They fear American sovereignty is in danger. They fear “a one-world government.” They fear “socialism.” FDR must be turning over in his grave.

In the current global environment, America cannot in good conscience avoid becoming entangled in Iraq once again. The horrible situation there is a consequence of reckless American intervention back in the Bush era. Obama is morally obligated to finish what Bush started.

Of course, a far saner solution would be UN police action.

But that option doesn’t seem available. Getting peacekeeping action authorized can be a bureaucratic tangle, and sometimes the missions themselves are sabotaged by misinformed or corrupt diplomats. Because of this, UN failures in places like Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia and Darfur have severely damaged the organization’s credibility.

Obviously, the UN has huge problems. But – like democracy itself – it’s the least fallible option available to the world.

Until a better idea comes along, world leaders would be well advised to set aside their rivalries and ambitions and work together to make the UN all it could be.

Admirably, most Americans feel obligated to do what they can to fill the vacuum created by the UN’s weakness.

I don’t like it, of course. Nobody elected the US to the global peacekeeping role. And shouldn’t the world’s leading democracy want such decisions mae in a democratic manner?

But, on the other hand,  can good people stand idly by and allow evil to prevail when they have the power to prevent it?

You tell me.

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About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for