The Disunited Nations
After World War I, President Woodrow Wilson addressed delegates at the Versailles Peace Conference following the submission of the draft Covenant of the League of Nations. President Wilson described the League as “a definite guaranty of peace. It is a definite guaranty by word against aggression. It is a definite guaranty against the things which have just come near bringing the whole structure of civilization into ruin” (emphasis mine throughout).
By its very name, the League of Nations implied international agreement on global issues. Yet, within 20 years of its inception, the grandiloquence of the League had failed miserably as World War ii exploded on the very same battlefields.
General Douglas MacArthur spoke at the formal ending of World War ii using language that closely echoed Wilson’s words after World War i, saying, “We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, our Armageddon will be at our door.”
The United Nations, organized in 1945, was supposed to be that “more equitable system.” But it was really the same system, based on representatives of nations meeting together to agree on global doctrines that would ensure peace.
Has it worked?
In a September 23 address to the United Nations, Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed fear that the system of the United Nations had, indeed, broken down. “Excellencies, we have come to a fork in the road,” he said. “This may be a moment no less decisive than 1945 itself, when the United Nations was founded. … Now we must decide whether it is possible to continue on the basis agreed then, or whether radical changes are needed.”
After 58 years, this is the end result, the effect, of a much greater cause. We need to understand that cause. As MacArthur warned, humanity’s survival depends on it!
Cause and Effect
Given the original mandate of the UN, we might ask, when did the organization not need “radical changes”? When has the United Nations ever been truly united?
In 1950, only five years after the UN’s inception, North Korea invaded South Korea. At that time, as reported by Paul Reynolds, “[T]he United States immediately called on the Security Council to act. The Council did act, but only because Russia was boycotting it at the time in a row over the representation of China [both were original members], one of the most unwise diplomatic moves ever. The Russians made sure they were never absent again. Throughout the Cold War, the Security Council became a cockpit of confrontation …” (bbc News, Oct. 1).
In fact, although the UN has had some few successes, according to www.globalsecurity.org there have been 163 wars and conflicts since the UN’s founding in 1945. An additional 31 wars are currently in progress. Those aggressions have been perpetrated by member nations—some of whom were original members—on other member nations.
The Trumpet has often quoted the phrase “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Paraphrased from Luke 11:17, Christ’s words are absolutely true! The UN has not succeeded because the member nations cannot come to agreement—it is a house divided.
The nations have even departed from their original agreement. The Preamble to the UN Charter contains the following statements: “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war … and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors ….” To accomplish those lofty goals, they pledged to unite their strengths to maintain international peace and security.
That agreement has long since been trodden underfoot within the UN!
Today, rogue nations sit inside its grand chambers deciding policy. Nations that harbor terrorists and promote mayhem and destruction sit on its councils. (For example, Syria currently holds a rotating seat on the UN Security Council.)
In his September 23 speech, Kofi Annan said that the U.S. acting in Iraq without permission from the Security Council “represents a fundamental challenge to the principles on which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested for the last 58 years” and could result “in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force, with or without justification.”
This is a terrible distortion of reality. In fact, “[I]t’s terrorists who engage in the ‘lawless use of force,’ who threaten ‘world peace and stability’ and who ‘act unilaterally’” (Heritage Foundation, Oct. 2). Yet the United Nations cannot, or will not, even identify what a terrorist is.
The Middle East Two‑Step
The United Nations has failed in the first peacekeeping mission it undertook—to bring peace to the Middle East. Why? Because terrorism is not condemned; rather it is protected by semantics within the UN!
During October’s UN General Assembly, Oman’s minister responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yousef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, stated, “The United Nations should stop Israeli aggression in Palestinian occupied lands and Israeli endeavor to expel President Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, and the leader of the Palestinian people who have chosen him to be their president” (Times of Oman, Oct. 3).
But wait a minute! Isn’t Yasser Arafat a believer in, and promoter of, terrorism? The facts answer: He has been involved with terrorism through Al Fatah (the military wing of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, or plo, which Arafat chairs) since the late 1950s. Terrorist activities by that organization escalated in the mid‑1960s under his leadership. Arafat authorized Hamas and Islamic Jihad attacks in 1997, three years after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He has been identified as the leader of the Al‑Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. He is on record as saying his main desire is to push Israel into the sea. Arafat has turned down every proposal for peace. It is all documented.
Yet, the UN has given him recognition and prestige. “Despite continuing terror attacks, the UN embraced the plo in 1974 by granting it observer status. This legitimization—which was accompanied by financial backing—allowed the plo not only to continue its terrorist and criminal activities with impunity, but also to fund a worldwide propaganda campaign, win great popularity, and increase its influence” (National Review Online, Sept. 19).
In addition, a known terrorist‑sponsoring nation is actually head of the UN Human Rights Commission today. In January, the 53‑member commission chose Muammar Qadhafi’s Libya as its chairman for 2003. The Heritage Foundation commented, “This has to be the biggest joke since, well, last year, when Sudan was made a member of the commission while the United States was voted out” (Jan. 22).
After the terrorist attack on the UN compound in Iraq in August, Annan lamented the tragic death of the UN high commissioner for human rights, Sergio de Mello. Buried in the sentiment of the tragedy, however, is an ironic historic implication. A similar incident in 1948—when Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the UN Special Committee on Palestine, was assassinated in a terrorist attack—caused the concept of “UN peacekeeping” to be created in the first place. After 55 years of toil and effort at “peacekeeping,” little of any real progress to establish peace and stop terrorism has been achieved. Despite the UN’s efforts, violence between Israelis and Arabs continues unabated. In the past three years, according to Israeli government statistics, almost 19,000 terrorist attacks, including 127 suicide bombings, have been carried out by Palestinians (Jerusalem Newswire, Sept. 29).
The UN has had many failures as a “peacekeeper.” It failed to act in Liberia, when Charles Taylor (who become president in 1997) launched a seven‑year civil war in 1989, in which 200,000 people were butchered. In 1994, the 270 UN peacekeepers sent to Rwanda failed to prevent the murder of 800,000 Rwandans. The UN failed to condemn slavery in Sudan, failed miserably in Sierra Leone, failed to uphold the rights of white farmers in Zimbabwe (which has resulted in a massive famine). The UN failed in Angola, in Kashmir, and in Columbia. The UN failed to act against Saddam Hussein, claiming diplomacy and inspections would provide the answer. The UN has refused to discuss North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship and ignored human rights violations throughout the Near and Far East.
Largely because of these failures, Britain, France and the U.S. withdrew from active participation in UN actions. “Since 1995, no major power has put any of its combat troops under the UN flag. Instead, countries with bloated armies such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria lead the UN peacekeeper ranks, lured by cash, on‑the‑job training and international prestige” (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 1).
Though the original charter stipulated the united contribution of forces and finances, this is not practiced in today’s UN. “Earlier this year, while the world was transfixed by the war in Iraq, the Congolese district of Ituri (in Bunia) was on the verge of genocide and the United Nations was in trouble. For months, the UN had searched for a military force capable of stopping another African holocaust. No significant power accepted the challenge” (ibid.).
Finally 840 Uruguayan soldiers were dispatched to the area. But they were too poorly equipped and too small a unit to achieve their goal. “The troubled effort in Bunia shows how the UN’s best‑known function has languished, as world powers send money, not men, leaving the work to soldiers from the developing world. In effect, the rich countries subcontract the actual soldiering to poor nations. … For many, the UN’s “blue helmets” now call to mind hapless, poorly armed soldiers from small countries, who watch ineffectually as war crimes unfold around them” (ibid.).
The Cause of Failure
It is easy to see that the UN’s failures are numerous. But what is their cause?
Many can pinpoint various innate flaws within the UN. Some of the organization’s worst critics are those who had long affiliation with it. Time magazine quoted long‑serving former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, a veteran UN diplomat, as saying, “Failure was built into it by an extraordinary orgy of exaggerated expectations. … These were the assumptions: that the world is one, that nationalism isn’t going to count and that world community is going to prevail. By 1945 it should have been understood that none of these things were true. It’s marvelous how long it went on before anybody woke up to this fiasco” (Oct. 23, 1995).
Madeleine Albright wrote the following in Foreign Policy: “During my years as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, the tragic experiences in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia and Rwanda showed that traditional UN peacekeepers lack the mandate, command structure, unity of purpose, and military might to succeed in the more urgent and nasty cases—where the fighting is hot, the innocent are dying, and the combatants oppose an international presence. Such weaknesses, sadly, are inherent in the voluntary and collective nature of the United Nations” (Sept./Oct.).
Further in the article she, unwittingly perhaps, underlined the massive ineffectiveness of the UN. “The United Nations’ authority flows from its members [who are basically self‑interested]; it is servant, not master. The United Nations has no armed forces of its own, no power to arrest, no authority to tax, no right to confiscate, no ability to regulate, no capacity to override treaties ….”
A fundamental problem, in short, is that the UN—described by Albright as the “servant” of nations—only has the power given to it by consensus of those nations. Are the member nations united in purpose? No, they are not. Do nations know the way to peace? Obviously not.
But why do these inherent problems exist in the UN? What is the core reason for its failure—the cause that has totally escaped the greatest diplomatic minds in the world today? It is true that the UN lacks the necessary mandate, command structure, unity of purpose and military might—but that is not the main cause of its failure.
The cause for its failure is, rather, that thenations meeting together are not governed by a common law!
Man still has not learned that it is not military might that brings peace! That’s what MacArthur said! Command structure, and even unity, will not bring peace unless first regulated by a law that determines the standard—a law that bears equally on all nations, great or small. The nations will never create such a law, because man and his political systems are basically self‑interested. People basically are directed by self‑seeking human nature! Globally speaking, diplomats, for all their good intentions, will never have the outgoing concern needed for world peace.
There is only one law that meets all the criteria. All nations know it. They were witnessed to by a mighty warrior—Herbert W. Armstrong—for many years. The work God established through him was deliberately and dastardly destroyed after his death. Now, God is reviving that work through the organization that sponsors this magazine. You are holding a part of that work in your hands. Will you listen?
That law has been published in the most widely distributed book in the history of mankind. The Bible has been translated into hundreds of languages and has gone into all nations. Ignorance is no excuse! The Bible outlines the way to peace in very clear terms. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Ps. 119:165).
Yet if a prophet were to address the United Nations today with a message of God, saying, “Obey God’s law and you will have peace,” would the nations listen? The truth is, man is still proving, through almost 6,000 years of human failure, that nations do not know the way to peace, nor do they honestly want it! “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace” (Isa. 59: 8).
If the nations really want peace, they can have peace. God and His law can bring that peace! If, however, mankind continues to demonstrate that it does not really want peace, a final world conflict is inevitable, just as MacArthur said in 1945. It will come quickly, and will be devastating in its impact. All the books and movies about the Holocaust bound together will not adequately describe the viciousness of what lurks just beyond the horizon.
World leaders are proving again that they do not want peace. Right now, a mighty European army is coming together. They do not want peace. A Middle Eastern power is coming together. They do not want peace either. An Asiatic power is building. It will not seek peace. Their representatives sit in the world councils saying they want peace, but they are corrupt in their thinking! They really desire world dominance. They are pawns of Satan the devil, who is the father of lies and the promoter of war and terrorism. Jesus Christ identified him for us in John 8:44. Will you believe Christ, or will you laugh at the Word of God?
True peace will soon be enforced on this world. It will not come from petty humans getting together to seek self‑interest in organizations. It will not come from any type of human government. It will come from a King of kings, who soon will return to Earth as conquering Ruler. Jesus Christ will return to impose law, government and outgoing love and concern on a surviving humanity.
Though this world will be anything but peaceful until that time, you can bring peace to your home and your family. Your loved ones can be protected from this coming holocaust. God says, “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Ps. 34:14). We are far along in the last hour of man’s rule over the Earth. Soon, God will have to step in before we eliminate ourselves from existence. Man’s disunited failures to bring peace will be replaced by the absolutely united and harmonious God family government. When that happens, and it soon will, there will finally be peace in our time.