March 20, 2005

Annan's UN Reforms

Secretary General Annan has a list of reforms for a major overhaul of the UN. Most of them are actually pretty good ideas --
- comprehensive anti-terror convention by September 2006
- anti-nuclear proliferation rules
- agreement on rules for preemptive action and use of force
- creation of peace-building body to help countries recover from war
- set-asides of 0.7% of GDP from developed countries
- better oversight for contracts and sanctions
- one-time staff buyout to promote younger employees rise up
- new human rights council, directly elected by GA

Canceled proposals (too unpopular) --
- specific definition of terrorism
- requirements to sit on human rights panel

Unfortunately, these last two are pretty key to international relations today.

I think the fundamental problems of the UN relate to its structure, purpose and culture - basically the most important parts of every organization.

The UN's structure is bureaucratic and tangled - there's a lot of red tape to follow for every organization. How's it supposed to function when it's all caught up in the usual bureaucratic hassles?

The UN's purpose is unclear because it's so horribly broad. It does not exist to stop criminal aggression or protect borders or defend the defenseless; it exists to do whatever the member states feel like doing, which mostly involves funding abortion and making fun of Israel.

The UN's culture promotoes political radicalism - a bizarre obsession with funding abortions for homeless, starving refugees; a penchant for rather virulent anti-Americanism; a desire to be taken seriously as the premier world quasi-government yet a near-total unwillingness to do any of the policing work that comes with world government; a thriving and persistent desire to blame Israel for nothing yet blame tyrants and murderers for nothing until they're almost deposed - and being so radical makes it hard to work in the real world.

The UN does not work. I think these are pretty good reform ideas, but ultimately the purpose is still awfully underdefined, the structure is still going to be cumbersome and the culture is going to lend itself to radicalism, socialism and anti-Semitism instread of something useful like charity or security.

I have a rough proposal for a new system. I've blogged on this new international body before (here) but I'm making it an issue article in my website now. I would strongly prefer that it not be composed of UN staffers, culture or pre-conceived notions. I do not propose it as a new UN, but rather as a new way to fulfill Kant's idea - a body of constitutional republics.

All members would be liberal democracies. The organization (working title: International Defense Coalition) would be dedicated to one goal, instead of the horribly under-defined, overbroad purpose of the UN. It would exist for collective security of the members and putting a stop to mass murder and crimes against humanity. That's it. The collective security (a system wherein all members pledge to come to the mutual aid of any individual member, if attacked) is almost an afterthought. It must exist, because the member-states would be fighting for the freedom of others; how can they fight together if they don't pledge to fight FOR each other? Clearly, they could not.

Ultimately it exists to put strength behind the words "Never Again." It exists because there's absolutely no reason why a rich, prosperous world full of military prowess and technological capabilities should allow another Holocaust, another Tutsi genocide, another Armenian genocide, another mass murder of any people. We have the ability and the know-how to stop these things - we lack only the will and the instrument to organize it. The US could already do it on our own, if we were willing to spend the money (and maybe lives) to do so. But it's better to make it an orgnization of democracies dedicated to sharing the burden and speaking together against tyranny and mass murder.

I must stress again that all members MUST be liberal democracies. I'm trying to figure out some way to enforce that besides the members voting to suspend non-democracies but that's my only thought so far.

They would contribute special forces (I have a list of examples of liberal-democratic countries' special forces) and the organization would have an independent force. The troops would be paid by the organization and would train year-round. Since they're only special forces (Green Berets or Delta Force, for example) they would have higher technology requirements but lower headcount requirements.

I haven't worked out the mechanism for funding. I'm considering an annual bill of some sort, augmented by contributions from philanthropists and regular people. I'll figure it out eventually, but ultimately I want to preserve a strong power of the member-states through the funding mechanism. Maybe contributing troops and hardware could be grounds for reduced payment from the donor country. Intelligence offers, as well, could be grounds for paying less at the end of the year.

Intelligence services would be at the good will (and mercy) of the member states. This way they know that the organization won't be spying on them. The incentive to give is simple: if your troops are going into a country, you damned well want them to have the best intel available. You will give good intel even if none of your countrymen are in the operation so that later on other countries will do the same for you.

I've roughly budgeted the time from the first alert that genocide is happening to the enagegement. My schedule is three weeks. Twenty-one days after the organization issues an alert that, in its opinion, genocide is occuring the troops will be in-country to destroy elite units, disrupt communications and arrest or assassinate the leaders.

Why so short? Simple. In Rwanda, they had elite units (the Interahamwe) trained as militia with machetes. They wrote down lists of all the local Tutsis. When given the order, the Interahamwe was trained to kill 1,000 Tutsis in 20 minutes. In the Rwandan genocide 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days. At a constant rate (it was not constant in real life; it was front-loaded) that would mean 21 days could see nearly 170,000 human beings extinguished. Of course, add on top of that the necessary preliminary parts - investigation, review and voting to make sure it's not overdone - and even the most energetic and gung-ho organization would probably take at least few days at the front end.

Therefore, in trying to stop a Rwanda situation, as many as 200,000 people (assuming constant rate) could die before intervention - even with the heightened deployment schedule of 21 days. If anything, three weeks is too long to wait. I made it so long to allow for the local force to demilitarize and surrender. I am considering toning it down, though - maybe to as little as a week. I want to maintain the possibility of voluntary demilitarization, so that every observer knows they had a chance to stop but refused.

There'd also be annual reports of every country on three areas: life, dissent and democracy. Economic freedoms like property and reasonable tax and interest rates would be subsumed into democracy (but would otherwise mostly be an issue for some othe group).

Here's the visualized part of it:
Duties Chart
Intervention Process

I'll be condensing it into a web page form so that it's easier to reference and find (like my ANWR and Terri Schiavo issue articles, for example).

I'm really interested in comments here, if anybody has an idea. I'm more than willing to accept the usual naysaying, if you are so compelled.


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