The United Nations is often decried as a useless body by its critics. Many argue that the global assembly does little to solve the worlds many problems. However, usually the people who have that perspective seem to be the most opposed to the idea that the UN needs sharper teeth to function.
Simply put, it should be acknowledged that the UN does indeed fall short in many capacities. It has been unable to solve the Syrian Civil War, it failed to stop Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and it was tremendously slow to react to the Rwandan Genocide. These are just a few examples.
Also, critics rightly acknowledge that the UN’s decision making processes and various subsidiary assemblies are deeply flawed and biased.
However, in both cases, the biggest issue is that the UN does not have the means or the support to be more active or to be doing more to be impartial overseers.
Take the UN’s very light peacekeeping budget. One reason why the global body cannot become more involved in the world is because a budget of $7.83 billion is chump change compared to the grand scheme of things.
According to the UN, this amount is less than half a percent of what global military expenditures are. Without more funding, it becomes clear that the UN does not have the capacity to be doing too awful much.
For this reason, the UN needs sharper teeth. A greater contribution from all members, including the US, is needed to keep the much coveted peace and prevent the much more costly wars.
On top of that, if the UN is given the capacity to enforce its accords better, then it should also become a brave enough institution to make more accords.
These measures include calling out countries for human rights abuses and demanding tangible change when there are indeed abuses. Once again, a level of effective and global oversight requires a better financed system then the current one.
As well, critics note the biases that exist in the UN. However, the only way to address these biases is in fact more support, not less. The UN needs more funds for internal review bodies and nations must take more of a lead in cooperating with the UN.
As well, people become concerned about the notion of a global police force when there is talk of better equipping the UN. However, peacekeeping operations require contributions from members and are not managed directly by the UN itself; the UN merely gives the nations the authority to act under their banner.
The UN yearns for more respect and influence in the world, and although there is ample room to criticize the body on many different grounds, it is important to note that it does more with less.
If there is to be meaningful change to the United Nations, there must first be the recognition that it needs more support, not less. As well, if the UN is to have a more significant impact on the world in a positive way, it needs to have sharper teeth to solve the problems. If the world is serious about fixing problems, then the world should become serious about funding the international problem solving body to fix problems while doing so impartially. It is more money, not less, that will do that.
Opinion by Brett Byers-Lane