Is the United Nations "Useful" Anymore?

My guess is if that was a yes/no question presented here (with or without the word "anymore" at the end of sentence), a majority of NL readers would answer no. Where the disagreement would come in would be if we started talking about why.

Some people would say there should be no trans-national body that thinks it can tell their government what they can and cannot do. Others would say that the UN cannot do enough (for assorted reasons) to run the world.

An article in Bloomberg titled Empty Seats at UN Signal Decline of World Body Hamstrung by Veto takes a look at the issues. Rather than promote a position, the article looks at the how and why that got the UN to where it is today.

The 67-year-old UN’s influence has always been limited by the veto power of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Now, however, global technological, financial, environmental, social, religious and demographic forces are further curbing its ability to act and eroding its foundation in the 17th century concept of sovereign nation-states.

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Samuel Santos

Nicaragua's Foreign Minister Samuel Santos weighs in on the role of the UN and governments today.

“The world’s well-being and power is increasingly in the hands of market and financial elites,” Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister, Samuel Santos Lopez, told the General Assembly today as he highlighted the shrinking role of the State in public affairs and the need for reform or reinvention at the world body.

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if they want it..take it out of new york..and put it in the sudan..or some muslim country..where they will have to work..and not party

Correcto ACC...

Its a toothless old tired dog. Time to put it down.

not so fast

It helps to know what it is. I doubt anyone has a problem with the WHO (World Health Organization), UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organizations) World Heritage Sites, and UN Economic and Social Council. The ICJ (International Court of Justice) is also a part, its judges elected by the UN General Assembly. And I doubt anyone can object to the benefits, so far, of the Millenium Development Goals....But the security council....

Another one

UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund


defines usefulness, in my book.

It's hard to think of ways the UN isn't relevant in international politics. Anytime unrest occurs, the global international community often holds back, waiting for official UN intervention. The security council appears to play a large role in US/China/Russia politics. That's all pretty big, and relevant to the entire global community. It might take a lot to get the UN involved, but you can't think Syria's leader is feeling super confident right now. Think of what would happen if the UN did decide to take action? They still do it occasionally, and other countries still wait on the UN's response, so it's still relevant. The nations who control the power of the UN (US, Russia, France, the UK, and China, as well as the lesser influence of other nations) therefore still see it as useful.

And that doesn't even consider things like malaria eradiction (we're well on the way, but need new drugs, as I understand the present situation).


Every step the UN takes that gets the world closer to solving serious issues, the more "useful" it becomes.

and all them..

people are driving around in big brand new toyota landcrusers..and living hi on the hog..yes they do some good..but what % of there money goes to direct aid to the people..i dont think too much..the u.n. is corrupt

What is not corrupt ?

The whole world is corrupt down to its fingernails, I haven't seen any Cruisers withe the UN logo, but again I do believe they exist.

Corruption is only a word we use to give any or many a bad name, the real world depend on it from votes in the US senate to the vote in UN or my own so called corruption free country Norway. The corruption just moves up and it takes many forms, we assume its money, wrong in most cases, it.s about influence - votes etc, hard to handle since no money change hands, but for me this is the big danger of corruption.

Lets make a situation where you need a vote for landmark decision, you will first try to get it out clean, if it doesn't work, you will call in favors to get what you want, so in the end it goes into the blender and nobody really knew what they voted for.

It's sad, but it,s reality.


I doubt they're all there driving around Nicaragua.

And I hadn't mentioned UN Aid yet, but I wonder how often the security council causes the very problems that end up needing it.

You are right

They fund the best Marijuana grown in Nicaragua at the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve a UNESCO Site.

But Sball some of these other things are the Security Council "Candy and trips to the Mall" if the SC says you have been good.

you should go there

Nothing like it, Bosawas is a gift from nature and it is getting destroyed by people trying to invade that place. Just 14 days ago i did see the construction of a new army base called the environmental brigade in Rosita. it's almost to late, what a paradise.


You won't get any arguments from me about the security council and their permanent member vetoes.


evil; one that we would have to invent if it didn't already exist.

I missed Hugo at the UNGA this year, but some of his friends showed up:


The way the security council works it establishes that five nations run the world. Without looking it up I would be surprised if more than 5% of the people in the US would tell you who those five nations were.

Russia, China, the US, UK, and France

Kind of surprising that India's not there... then again, maybe not, considering their history with Pakistan.

Anyway, maybe I'm part of the <5%, or maybe Phil would be surprised. How many Nica's can tell you that? Is it important?

I thought the whole idea was that maybe those 5 nations do run the world... but they all have to agree for the UN to take action. There aren't many powerful nations on the planet with such diametrically opposed interests as the US and Russia right now (China *seems* to be coming in line with the US on a lot of issues).


The UN was created in the time of WW2 to create an organization to try to prevent a series of events like the German invasion of Poland and the Japanese invasion of China. The security council members were the 5 great powers that defeated the Axis powers (with an obvious leap of faith to include France in the group). They are still the great players in world affairs, although obviously the growth of both wealth and democracy in Germany and Japan under the postwar American influence makes it all a little out of date.

Needless to say, the UN very quickly got into meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, starting with the rape of Palestine in 1947. Attempts to make the UN into a world government are a threat to the rights of people in democracies but quite popular among one-worlders.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand