Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso believes that the World Health Organisation (WHO) should be renamed as the “Chinese Health Organisation”, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants an independent probe into China’s Coronavirus response, as well as WHO’s role and most importantly, Trump no longer wants to fund the “very China-centric” WHO.
WHO misled the entire world about COVID-19 and today most parts of the world infected, yet the WHO keeps on acting like a Chinese State institution. It is easily the most hated institution today, and getting directly discredited for its incompetency is the United Nations (UN).
The Coronavirus Pandemic reaffirms the sheer futility of the United Nations. If it was formed for avoiding wars, ushering in world peace and prosperity and fast-tracking development in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of the world, then the United Nations, its principal organs and specialised agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) have really failed at every single front.
Formed in the year 1945 in the context of the Second World War, the United Nations replaced the erstwhile ‘League of Nations’. The object was to stop the kind of aggression that Hitler had perpetrated, clearly violating the Treaty of Versailles, even as the League of Nations had proved a bitter failure.
The primary object of the United Nations would thus have been to prevent devastating wars like the World War II, but what did this overrated international entity achieve? It established a Collective Security Mechanism to unite international forces under the UN flag and allow collective action against the aggressor. But the power of collective action itself was vested in the United Nations Security Council- a highly elitist club where the five Permanent Members (P-5) enjoyed the veto power.
Immediately, after the World War II, there was a sense of bipolarity with the Soviet Union and the United States getting embroiled in a Cold War. The ultimate challenge for the United Nations was to keep any Cold War confrontations at bay. But what did the United Nations even achieve? The Vietnam war and the Korean war happened and millions died. If preventing wars was the object of the United Nations, it is a colossal failure.
In the Cold War era, Security Council itself was divided between the Communist bloc (China and the Soviet Union) and the free world (the United States, the United Kingdom and France), and therefore when these powers were involved in conflicts at neutral venues, the United Nations became toothless.
The closest the United States and the Soviet Union came to a direct confrontation was the Cuban Missile crisis, and that too was resolved bilaterally instead of United Nations led intervention. Even where the United Nations was able to interfere in military conflicts like the Korean War, it was able to do so only due to exceptional converge of interests or accidental absence of the Soviet Union, which was few and far between.
In the post-Cold War world too, the United Nations has been reduced to international derision. During the Iraq war, the United Nations once again came out looking rather ‘spineless’, for the lack of a better world. This time around it authorised collective action against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, but it did not allow the use of the UN flag, nor did it grant a unified command of forces.
The action seemed more like a US-initiated action, rather than a collective action. Even today where there is divergence of interests of Permanent Members, the UN fails to intervene just like it has failed to intervene in Syrian civil war even after Turkey carried out a military incursion.
The UN fails to make any difference in the Yemen war too, and the Iran-backed Houthi groups have continued hostilities despite the COVID-19 outbreak even as the United Nations watches on helplessly.
Its specialised agencies are even worse, even as many of them are getting increasingly compromised to Beijing- which is the second highest contributor to this sham of an intergovernmental organisation.
This is perhaps also the reason why the Dragon doesn’t face any action even after flagrantly violating the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict on maritime rights in the South China Sea.
The United Nations was supposed to act as a check on the caprices of international powers, as a neutral watchdog but the entire institution is compromised with bias today. Take for instance the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The organisation is riddled with political bias today, and its narrative is obnoxiously anti-Semitic and anti-India. Israel has been calling it out for its bias for quite some time that also led to the United States withdrawing from the compromised institution.
The United Nations still has “no agreed-upon definition of terrorism” till date and it is totally ineffective in face of the biggest challenge facing the world today, which is also why the UNHRC castigates India for make believe human rights violations in Kashmir but doesn’t dare speak a word about Pakistan sponsored terror groups like Jaish e Mohammed and Lashkar e Taiba.
UN and its specialised agencies also fail to address the concerns of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), especially those in the African Continent which is why they are increasingly getting burdened with Chinese debt and that really alters world politics. UN has little to speak for itself when it comes to substantial changes in the world order.
Far more effective and potent have been the regional co-operation and multilateral groups like the BIMSTEC or the ASEAN or the Quad that really have something to offer right from joint military exercises to economic cooperation to counter-terrorism, cyber security and challenging the rise of an irresponsible giant like China.
The United Nations and all its bodies are prone to becoming exceedingly biased that can do more harm than good. If World War-II was the cause of the downfall of the ‘League of Nations’ then the Coronavirus outbreak, that has infected millions and killed lakhs already, has to be the ‘League of Nations’ moment for the United Nations. A post-Coronavirus world would be better off without this sham of an intergovernmental organisation.