White Paper – Proposal #2

As you’ve probably realized, I’m a big fan of political cartoons. I find that tongue-in-cheek humor is one of the best ways to address an otherwise serious issue, an effective way to stimulate debate. This particular cartoon addresses one of the major aspects of my white paper- the unfair distribution of power within the United Nations, and the effect it has on the organization’s ability to respond to human rights violations.The United States, Russia, China, and other major international powers have a history of installing and supporting dictators in order to further their own international agendas. The United Nations has often followed that model, with powerful nations supporting corrupt and often brutal dictators from within the organization, rather than attempting to combat the human rights violations that arise in such situations. Syria and Libya are prominent and current examples of this behavior.

Until Qaddafi’s violent suppression of civilian unrest in 2011, the UN Human Rights Council was largely complimentary in its judgement of Libya. In January of that same year, is produced a draft report that contained praise from multiple countries, and delicate suggestions for improvements. This New York Times article lists some of the compliments from countries such as Algeria and Qatar.

The United Nations was founded in the wake of World War II, and the victors of that conflict dictated its structure. The U.S., Russia, the U.K. and France have a disproportionate amount of power, as does China, and lesser nations are often bullied into making decisions by those powers. I would like to research how the power structure within the UN effects its ability to respond effectively and quickly to human rights crisis.


2 thoughts on “White Paper – Proposal #2

  1. You don’t seem to be doing nay research yet…

    Is there a source for this?

    My memory is that Russia (Soviet Union) and China are just as capable of supporting convenient dictators. Just now, Muhbarak was “our guy” in Egypt and Assad is Russia’s in Syria.

    You are tackling a big, gnarly problem. It can seem hard to get past the dichotomy of the UN is ineffective (due to its strucure) versus no UN is worse. Like Churchill said of capitalism, it is awful, but it is better than the alternatives.

    By focusing on how to change the strucure of the security council, you may have a handle on some concrete ideas.

    Or maybe some sort of global social movement needs to push on the UN and the member states.

    • I think that my focus will be on specific changes that can be made to the organization itself, rather than postulating on some sort of global social movement…but the latter can be a optimistic addendum! Also, post now updated with sources, sorry, I didn’t know we were supposed to be posting our research!

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