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The United Nations is a useless organization in that it does not live up to its mission statements.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/26/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,260 times Debate No: 38154
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The United Nations is a useless organization in my opinion. I feel that after its founding immediately after World War II in 1945, its mission to maintain order, peace and security amongst the worlds nations and population have resulted in complete failure. The U.N.'s main objective in its formation was to defend human rights and promote better living standards, which on the contrary has turned a blind eye to.

The 192 countries in the U.N. have merely used the council as a forum for debate, more often than not having split opinions on several topics throughout the years. Furthermore, majority of these nations act as if hindered by more dominant / militarily stronger / politically backed countries, such was the case when the USA declared his war on terror; literally throwing the statement "You are either with us, or against us". And we all know what disaster that proved. In cases where the decision on situations isn't as unanimous, we always see conflict increase, either amongst the UN or the situation itself worsening.

Such is the case with the current events taking place in Syria, with most of the world literally split between having to choose between the Russian Federation's solutions, and the leading western nations solutions. The UN is weak in that the separate countries listed in the organization are not willing to get their "hands dirty" with conflict because they themselves have conflicts of their own.

I will cut this short as I know there will be a response shortly; but may I remind that it is the obligation of the strong to help the weak in dire crisis. In Syria, there is much hesitation to this which is ridiculous.


Although what you are saying does make sense, the United Nations doesn't just have to help solve every small problem that every country has. And that comes back to us, countries that aren't directly affected by the conflict in Syria shouldn't be expected to rush and risk their safety for those who are. That will just turn this conflict into something much larger than it already is. Also, one of the main purposes of the United Nations is to develop a strong relationship among countries. So maybe were not solving every issue right away, but were building the basis for ties to other countries that could help in the future. Furthermore even if every country doesn't agree on every topic that is being brought up, they are still being heard. The main reason that the majority of wars start Is due to lack of communication. Before a country goes to war usually thingy will pull their representatives out of that countries embassy. The United Nations makes it so that every nation has a chance to have their issues heard and eventually resolved in one way or another.
Debate Round No. 1


Lets not forget that the Syrian uprising has killed over 100,000 of its country's men, women, and children in the last 2 years. A reported 1,400 of these deaths are caused by chemical attacks. Yet chemical attacks continue to be the only basis right now as to why the UN is actually doing anything about it. Meanwhile knives, guns, and bomb explosions still account for the remaining 98.6% of the casualties. Chemical weapons should not be the reason to intervene in Syria but intervention should be a must, its in no way a small issue.

The people of Syria have demanded the al-Assads' resign from power since Hafez al'Assad (Bashar's father) took presidency back in 1971, and as well as the Ba'ath party who have remained to dominate its people since 1964 via a coup d'etat. What were minor peaceful demonstrations in response to the "Arab Spring", government corruption, and human rights abuse were quickly shut down as the Syrian army open fired on unarmed protestors in the middle of the streets; torturing prisoners, unwarranted arrests, and countless other atrocities. This didn't stop the Syrian public from continuing their quest for change, and thus Al-Assad began launching large scale military operations on towns and cities of these protestors.

There is no question that the UN should interfere with Syria, but the issue becomes about economics and politics. Then the economic side is that the Iraqi war cost about 4 Trillion USD and the money isn't there for another war. Looking back at Iraq, Hussein's atrocities were much worse than Assads (killing 220,000 children in his camps alone, using chemical weapons, etc.), and look how little support Bush/Blair got when they went into Iraq. Not only that but the opposite political parties used the war as an attack point against Bush/Blair during the next terms election as and these were major issues both political parties aren't in power any more. I admire Obama for wanting to go into Syria, as the Democrats are going to get hit hard next term about this decision and I think he is relieved that the congress overturned him because he wanted to did the right thing. The issue boils down to this: 'Is the UN doing enough?'. No they are not, I know that the countries each have their own underlining agendas. Russia is allied with Syria which is probably the next biggest threat Israel has, with the first Iran; and US is obviously going to protect its interests in Israel.

The United Nations should be exactly that.. A united group of nations, agreeing on the same decision when such atrocities happen. And mind you, I'm not a trigger-happy war freak but the UN should use force when necessary. It will show that the U.N. really lives up to its treaty's, that the people in need can depend on them, and so that regimes like al-Assad's will think twice before acting against its own people.


I'm not saying that what's happening in Syria isn't a tragedy, because there is no denying that it is. In every single way shape and form it is. But you're original statement was that the United Nations was useless and now you've started to argue the merits of what's occurring in Syria?
The reason the deaths by chemical attacks have caused so much more of an uproar so to speak is because it breaks one of the rules of war. Murder by guns, knives and other forms of assorted violence happen every day. I'm not saying its a good thing, but it doesn't resonate to the level that a chemical attack does. Think of it like this, the reason every is putting so much emphasis on it know that there is chemical weapons involved are very important. One Is because noone wants a repeat of the holocaust which was truly a horrific event that claimed the lives of too many people. Also, these chemical weapons pose much more of a threat to our safety than a few guns and knives do.
It has obviously become very clear that the people of Syria can't resolve this situation themselves, but involving every country in the United Nations is not a good idea. Once we form alliances and bonds, as soon as one nation is attacked, that sets the stage for another world war. And yes each country has its own agendas, but the safety of their people as a whole has to come first.
I honestly don't know if this situation can be resolved peacefully, but I believe it's in our best interest to try. I f we resort to violence and think we fix this problem, we could just as easily be putting a proverbial band aid on it. Whose to say a few years later the Syrians won't have another issue with their government, and blame the results on the actions that we took. People like al Assads group won't think twice before acting against there own people if we wipe them out because they'll all be gone. But then they will become martyrs for every wannabe terrorist out there. Believe me I'm not saying we should let these actions go unpaid, but hate can't solve what it began. We need to get the whole of the United Nations together to come up with a more peaceful solution that will end that tragedy and not put other countries in harm. Maybe then people will start to have faith in the system again.
Debate Round No. 2


I chose Syria as a current example of a current event relating to the original statement posted above, but perhaps strayed a little bit too far. While still on this topic for the moment I just want to say that I'm wasn't referring to a full scale attack on Syria to "free" its people was the only option. They need help, and as you said chemical weapons although the death toll rather small still in Syria compared to the overall casualties, pose a bigger global threat. The easiest simple action could possible to send a small team to end the regime, 'Bin Laden style'. Syria is taking advantage of its ally, Russia as being one of the more influential countries within the U.N. and thus the al-Assad regime is demanding more and more. This is corruption at its greatest. Russia is now getting most of the U.N. to support his regime through its own power. A leader that has committed such acts should not just be given a 'slap on the wrist' as Russia is promoting.

I want to return to the subject of why chemical weapons make such a big splash in the international community. Yes it is true that they do in fact pose a much, much bigger threat than conventional weapons. But the United Nations as a whole is supposed to help those in need. It is the obligation of the strong to assist the weak, and the United Nations has all the strength needed.

I want to point out just a couple of catastrophic failures, resulting in millions of innocent civilian deaths. Below are ten failures of the UN since its inception.

At the creation of the UN in 1945, the United States was the only nation in the world to own and test nuclear weapons. In 1970, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was signed by 190 nations, including five nations that admitted to owning nuclear weapons: France, England, Russia, China, and the US. Despite this treaty, nuclear stockpiles remain high, and numerous nations continue to develop these devastating weapons, including North Korea, Israel, Pakistan, and India. The failure of the non-proliferation treaty details the ineffectiveness of the United Nations, and their inability to enforce crucial rules and regulations on offending nations.

Another example, not relating to warfare at all and really for human rights is Sex Abuse.. Many nations plead for support from the United Nations in times of desperation and war. To the oppressed, the blue helmets of UN peacekeepers represent stability and safety. Unfortunately, this was not the case in numerous countries in the 1990s. Reports from Bosnia, Kosovo, Cambodia, Haiti, and Mozambique revealed a shocking trend; areas with peacekeeping forces saw a rapid rise in child prostitution. Often, soldiers would reward the children with candy or small sums of money, so they could claim the sexual relationship was prostitution rather than rape. Senior officials in the United Nations refused to condemn the peacekeepers, as they feared this public shaming would discourage nations from joining peacekeeping forces.

A third reason a I consider the United Nations useless would have to be the Cold War. The Cold War exemplifies the failure behind the United Nations Charter. With the atrocities of World War II still fresh in their minds, the original founders aimed to foster human rights for all citizens of the world. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was established, which was binding to all nations, along with the Convention Against Genocide. Almost immediately, the USSR disregarded these. Civic rights were virtually non-existent. Stalin continued to rule with an iron fist, silencing all opponents. In numerous Soviet Bloc nations, uprisings demanding the rights established in the UDHR were crushed with force. With the United Nations unwilling to act upon such atrocities, the words in the charter were rendered meaningless for those who needed them the most. This is true sign of the influential power and the possibility of threat that certain nations within the United Nations.

One of the biggest jokes of the UN is the vetoing that takes place. The United Nations Security Council consists of fifteen nations, five of which are permanent: France, Russia, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The other ten nations are elected to serve two-year terms. The five permanent members enjoy the luxury of veto power; when a permanent member vetoes a vote, the Council resolution cannot be adopted, regardless of international support. Even if the other fourteen nations vote yes, a single veto will beat this overwhelming show of support. The most recent use of the veto was by China and Russia, on July 19th, 2012. The Security Council attempted to evoke chapter VII sanctions from the United Nations Charter to intervene and prevent genocide in Syria. But the vetoes by China and Russia halted any international intervention. Since the Syrian Civil War began. Another sign for their underlining agenda.

In addition to these examples lets not forget Darfur where the Koffi Annan decided the UN should let the African Union to intervene. This resulted in 300,000 civilian deaths in 7 years. Sri Lanka failed to receive any sort of help in its 36 year long civil war (1983-2009). Independent experts urged the Human Rights Council of the UN to investigate claims of war crimes, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon acknowledged being "appalled" by the situation, but the United Nations made no attempts to intervene.

I want to underline Rwanda because the total casualties. The Rwandan genocide of 1994 details the gross inability of the United Nations to carry out its sworn duty to maintain peace and security. Following the Rwandan Civil War in the early 1990s, tensions between two ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsis, were at a dangerous high. In 1993, UN peacekeeping forces entered the nation, attempted to secure the capital and enable humanitarian aid. The peacekeeping forces were not authorized to use military maneuvers to achieve these goals.In January of 1994, a cable was sent from the Canadian Force Commander to the UN headquarters detailing the imminent threat of genocide by Hutu mobs on Tutsi minorities. The Security Council never received the cable, and the notice was largely ignored. Following the loss of eighteen American servicemen in the Battle of Mogadishu, the United States was largely unwilling to help in any intervention.Most shocking in this series of events is the abandonment of a school by Belgian peacekeepers after ten soldiers were murdered. Thousands had flocked to the school for UN protection, and roaming gangs of Hutu supporters killed nearly all of them. Close to one million Rwandans were killed in the genocide, amounting to twenty percent of the population.

I hope the examples of failures i mentioned, and many more such as Bosnia and the Khmer Rouge are evidence enough of how useless the United Nations really are. It seems as though they only act if they receive 'return on investment'. A truly United Nations would cooperate under any means necessary to diplomatically, or forcefully (with the least amount of repercussion) find ends to problems such as these.


I now understand why Syria was referenced as it was, so thank you for explaining that. And I know that a full scale attack isn't the only options, but at this point with what is happening there, and the threat of chemical warfare, a small "Bin laden" style attack might not work. If we only take out there main leaders, that would still open up the possibility of martyrdom. You have to understand, if we don't take out the whole regime, their followers and those who want to be like them could still access the weapons they had and use them to scale an attack on the people that took out the people they idolized. Wether or not Syria is taking advantage of its allies shouldn't matter in our actions. In as much that if we truly believe that what we are doing is right, than it shouldn't matter who Syria is influencing. And those that they are influencing shouldn't allow themselves to succumb to the influence of those using chemical weapons against innocent people within their own society. I'm not saying that we should only give those leaders a slap on the wrist, and in my opinion Russia should be punished for coercing with that regime in the ways that it has. But any sort of attack albeit small could lead to extremely severe repercussions that many countries in the United Nations are not prepared to handle at this current juncture.

The failure of first example, the proliferation treaty, lies in many reasons. You only mentioned that a few countries continued to develop nuclear weapons. But none of the countries used them. The fault does not lie in the United Nations as a whole but in the governments of each individual country for not taking their actions more seriously.

And many people are taking steps towards stopping sex abuse and the child trafficking around the world, so it is inaccurate to portray it as though everyone is refusing to take steps towards fixing it. Have you ever heard of Nicholas D. Kristof? His book, "Half the Sky" is dedicated to showing the work that he and many other foundations have done to stop these horrible things from happening.

In reference to the Cold War, the United Nations can't fix every single problem. The Cold War was the result of a great deal of lack of communication or miscommunication and fear. And those problems were eventually fixed. Unfortunately we did allow Stalin to be extremely cruel to his own people but in some way there is a meaning to that. We, the United States as as nation, can't be expected to fix every other countries problems. We're not the worlds police force.

As for the security counsel, the five permanent members have the right to vetoe due to the fact that they are the strongholds of the world and have a greater amount of people. And the underlining agendas can enact vetoes yes, but they can't stop each country from acting on their own accord. If say France felt strongly about this than they should do something by themselves no matter what Russia thinks.

I'm not going to contest how awful of a situation the Rwanda genocide is. Because bottom line no person should be killed in such a matter for any reason.
A pattern I've noticed, is that in every incident you've mentioned you highlight the fact that the United Nations only does for personal gain. Simply based on what it is, the United Nations can't have personal gain. The main goal of the United Nations is to help countries achieve peace and freedom. But peace is almost impossible to attain. So we can't blame the organization that's trying to help them every time that a country slips up and something bad happens. The United Nations is a highly complex organization that brings together over 190 countries to try and make the world a better place. Do you honestly think that having however many representatives from those countries in one room and trying to get them to agree on how to achieve peace is an easy task? Because I can barely agree with my siblings. The United Nations is an originization that is striving for something almost unnatinable but in doing so, they are also making the world a better place taking small steps at a time. Wether that starts with stopping female gender equality in the Middle East, or the conflict in Syria, we need to support the United Nations because we all want the same thing in the end. We all want peace and safety.
Debate Round No. 3


I do agree with you that simply 'cutting the head off of the snake' could and most likely would kick off a one-way ticket to martyrdom amongst Assad supporters, although I quote "The easiest simple action could possibly be to send a small team to END THE REGIME, 'Bin Laden style". In saying this, I agree that in fact the regime as a whole needs to be eliminated, a 'Bin Laden style' deposition may work, but there are other options and it should be done so in the least repercussive means necessary so as not to allow any fragmented groups of al-Assad supporters to re-secure their agenda. Russia's alliance with Syria is to say the least the most worrisome, and yet we are letting them take center stage in resolving the conflict. In my opinion Russia should have no say in the matter, consistently lying about not just the UN's findings, but most of the worlds evidence in the on-going situation down in Syria. Allowing Assad supporters to re-establish would be catastrophic and prove to be a massive failure in peacekeeping, much like Bush's Iraq war in where the Taliban have continued to spread after the failure of Bush's mission, despite the atrocities committed. It could be possible that martyrdom spawns from just one person or groups ideology having gone sour; whereas if a bigger group, or more unified world party all agreed on the same outcome supporters of such regimes like al-Assad would realize that in fact its more than just politics, it is about morales, values, and beliefs.

I have only heard about the book 'Half the sky' but do agree that its outlining claim that women's equality is "the paramount moral challenge" of our era, referenced in NY times. And as you mentioned there are many organizations and philanthropists that are contributing to women's rights and human trafficking. Although regardless of the assistance being provided, its not useful assistance coming from the United Nations. As a matter of fact, studies from several sources state that in some areas where the UN is supposed to combat sexual abuse, there have actually been rises; also involvement of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers such as those in Congo.

I retract my statement in saying that the UN "only act if they receive return on investment" but rather I don't see an effort for them to act unless it doesn't affect a nation of the UN's agenda. This being said, the nations need to sacrifice and be more firm in its fight against atrocities as its mission states. The UN was not formed because 'The world has to weigh out the opinions of its nations people vs the suffering of other nations'. It should act against terror of all forms without question.

As for the case of vetoes in the United Nations, this only increases the chance for further instability within its organization. For instance, the US wanted to launch a limited strike on Syria as a sanction for its chemical weapons" Now lets look past the fact that when Obama declared the red-line crossed we hadn't received enough vital evidence yet as to who was responsible or whether or not Assad initiated the orders to begin with.. But lets say that Obama was 100% correct and ordered the launch, and Russia vetoed, this just sets the stage for an even bigger catastrophe. Why allow vetoing in the first place then if people will be allowed to retaliate on the behalf of their allies?

You are right in saying that peace is practically unachievable due to cultural, religious diversities, and of course the quest for power. The United Nations is a powerful organization bringing in the majority of the world into trying to decide whats best for it. You are right in saying that these representatives from these countries each have their own opinion and most probably find it very hard to come to a unified conclusion. It doesn't take a world organization to differ in views of a situation, 2 debating people such as you and I are all it takes really. But lets not fool ourselves, the United Nations may have been a good idea on paper but its members clearly do not know how to use it. UN leaders are even admitting guilt over not knowing how to handle the Syrian issue.

I truly believe that that the U.N. was and is an organization that merely was drawn up as a front to maintaining peace, order, security and rights amongst those who cannot accomplish this on their own; when behind the closed doors countries within the U.N. use it as a political venue for corruption.

Not to be monotonous in my wording but I must re-iterate that the U.N. is useless due to the fact mentioned above. Yes we all want peace and safety, equality etc.. But why does a supposed UN organization even exist when all they just pretend to care about these things, but yet choose which of its problems to tackle. The problem spurs because the United Nations is not united one bit. People become frightened of those in power in the UN. Look at Chinas sudden claims of land belonging to them in the South China Sea. Countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan just have to suck it up because the UN would rather not get involved.

The U.N. should be disbanded if it does not work together. If political, and monetary gains are what are driving its decision making then the UN is just a cover up for the worlds dominant nations to take advantage of weak countries.


16kayla forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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