Thursday, January 19, 2006

Is Iran the death nail in the U.N.

In the film Wag the Dog America invented a war with Albania so as to divert media attention from a scandal. The Iranian President must have watched that film as well. The countries economy is in a poor state and it is the main issue for many Iranians. But unemployment is 25% and even with massive oil revenues the country is in dire straits. So what does it do. It make people forget about the economy by uniting them behind a cause. That cause international attack.

Oil burning is still amongst the cheapest ways of making electricity far cheaper then nuclear. Now add into that equation no need to import oil and you begin to wonder why Iran would need nuclear energy. So it seems quiet obvious to me that basically Iran is looking to build a bomb. The major powers realise this and are looking to act. But what can be done.

David “I think nicknames like Kells Angels are cool” McWilliams in an excellent piece in the Sunday Business Post Outlined the three ways that this situation could pan out.

In order of preference, there are only three ways out of this conundrum. First, and most preferable, is that the UN imposes sanctions on Iran and that this works. The second is that the US air force, launched from Iraq, attacks the Iranian instalments, neutralising the Iranian nuclear programme. The third is that the Israeli air force destroys the Iranian plant as it did Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981.

Now the American and Israeli strategies will work in the objective of stopping nuclear production for now. But it is doubtful that they will bring real change to the country and could indeed make the region even more unstable. To truly stabilise the region multiple nation support is needed.

The Irish government White Paper on Defence of February 2000 says of the UN that it ‘has the primary role to play in the maintenance of international peace and security’. Iran proves the biggest test to this. While the UN is noble and useful in it dedication to peacekeeping if it cannot effect a solution in Iran it shows that the only peace it can maintain is in small backwaters that the rest of the world wants to forget and not in larger countries that pose the true tests to international peace and security.

The UN’s inability to act in the most dangerous cases such as Iran is due to the diversity of the security council. Each member state has its own concerns and is going to act according to them. This is shown in Iran where China is reluctant to act as it has oil interests there. Also Russia has a big contract with Iran for nuclear reactors. This explains why the UN cannot be depended on to act. The interests of Europe are not the same as China the interests of America are not the same as Russia. France interests in Iraq surly clouded its judgement on the war in Iraq. This is due to the five permanent members veto. Israel's decade-long defiance of resolutions calling for the dismantling of settlements in the West Bank, the genocide in Rwanda, the recent war in the Congo amongst other things show that even when the U.N mainly agrees it cannot produce results.

But surely if the UN cannot act on issues such as Iran it still has a role to play in other aspects such as human rights. Yet Colonel Ghaddhafi can appoint the U.N. Commissioner on Human Rights and also the U.N has failed to put things like Gauntanamo Bay under serious scrutiny. On issues such as aid. The Red Cross/Crescent has much the same coverage and indeed as it doesn’t have the same organisation structures it can act a lot faster.

The Maastricht treaty says:

Member States shall coordinate their action in international organizations and at international conferences. They shall uphold the common positions in such fora. In international organizations and at international conferences where not all the Member States participate, those which do shall take part shall uphold the common position.

The EU sees itself as a more important entity then the UN and other organisations. Ireland is taking a case against Sellafield. It took this to the UN court but this has been blocked by the European court which says it has jurisdiction. If this case is won by Europe it will prove that the EU sees itself as the true negotiator between countries in Europe and that the U.N is not needed. Is this the first step of Europe moving away from the U.N.

Thus what is needed to truly affect decisions is coalitions of the agreeing. But does that not just regionalise the world again? The aim of the U.N was to create a world devoid of blocs. But the world is in Blocs China is rarely going to agree with America and the Gas crisis in the Ukraine shows that Russian-European relations aren’t great. Also the war in Iraq showed that America and Europe are not in much agreement either. So maybe it is inevitable that the world is going to divide into factions. The E.U. U.S.A Russia China may agree on something’s but not on everything. Something’s need to be done that are disagreed with between blocs. For instance Europe and America were in agreement about Kosovo but China and Russia didn't hence it was NATO that went into Kosovo.

One thing the Iran crisis has shown is the first signs that Britain seems to be moving away from America. The groups coming to the fore in condemnation of Iran are America Russia and the EU-3. This new entity the EU-3 is interesting. The British Government received a lot of flack from its own people about the handling of the War in Iraq. So when the press conferences about Iran are on. Jack Straw is not standing beside Condoleeza Rice but beside his EU, French and German counter parts. When Ms Rice (soon to be Vice President Rice watch this space) was conferencing about Iran she was talking to E.U Foreign Minister Javier Salano. Britain seems to be along with France and Germany showing a United EU front. This I think is signalling a move for the British government away from being a bit player in the American sphere towards a major player in the European Sphere. This has major implications for NATO but that is a topic for another day.

So what is the future for the U.N. If divisions over Iran stifles action it will prove that the UN cannot fulfil it objectives that of promoting peace in the world. The EU proves that pervious warring nations and blocs can come together and work together. But maybe this is due to Europeans having a lot in common and the Union appealing to each members own greed. Maybe the solution to world division is in the EU model.

By ending global poverty and promoting globalisation greed will dictate that the countries will act peacefully for their mutual benefit. But then the cultural differences will pop up. But then maybe one of the U.N’s publicity stunts, goodwill ambassadors, is the solution to world peace. Western Culture and music in particular had a massive effect on the fall of the Iron curtain (and their cultural will effect western culture in years to come) this could be applied to the rest of the world including Iran. I had 2 Muslim friends from Tunisia one kept going on about the Cranberries and the other thought Slipknot were "very beautiful". So maybe Time magazine in a way was right when it said Bono could Save the World.


Anonymous said...

Oil burning is still amongst the cheapest ways of making electricity far cheaper then nuclear. Now add into that equation no need to import oil and you begin to wonder why Iran would need nuclear energy.

so true

Anonymous said...

It makes sense for Iran to export it's oil and to use nuclear power for doemstice use. Under the NPT it has a right to obtain nuclear power. I don't believe Iran intends to build a bomb it is merely using nuclear power as a cheap insurance policy without having to get into an arms race in the region coupled with the reason I gave.

Also the US preaching on this unbelievably two faced given their history of toppling the democratically elected social democrat Mossadeq in 1953 because wanted to naitonalise it's oil (BP were not happy...) and the imposition of the dictatorsip under the Shah leading to the Islamic revolution, the support of Saddam in his attack on Iran, meddling in the country etc...

Eh, also the US and Henry Kissinger supported and proposed to the brutal dictator the Shah in the 70s that nuclear power makes sense for Iran using the reasons I've outlined! Now the say the opposite!....Follow the money and the resource grab. It is about what it always was about... the prize of oil.
Rant over...



Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

Article IV

1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.

2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also cooperate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.