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World & Current Events > U.S. withdraws from U.N. Human Rights Council

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message 1: by Graeme (last edited Jun 19, 2018 03:02PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan
"The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members."

REF: The Washington Post:


message 2: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin On this, I have to agree with the Trump administration (I never thought that I would say that one day!). The U.N. Human Rights Council has been a sad, dirty joke for decades already, with many members of the Council being abusers of human rights themselves. In fact, many parts of the United Nations (but not all) are sad jokes, being either toothless, grossly incompetent or corrupt to the bone.

message 3: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Trump's withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council is not because of the ways it has fallen short of ensuring human rights. It is so he can commit human rights abuses on his own soil without having to worry about any legal sanction. He's and the alt-right-wingers are sending a message that they will do what they want to people trying to enter the US and screw the moral, ethical, legal or constitutional challenges!

message 4: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments UN in general is pretty much dysfunctional, as enforceable SC decisions are frequently vetoed by an interested party having a veto right, while General Assembly, like Euro-vision competition has builtin blocs that on some issues would go together no matter what and their decisions are not binding anyway.
On a more basic level, Europeans maybe offer the most civilized, embracing, considerate and non-violent approach to world's problems, but unfortunately mostly only them and maybe a few Asian countries share the same peaceful mentality, while the rest of the world are mostly talking power, strengths and arm-wrestling. Thus, many noble ideas are impractical and probably harmful to Europe itself.
If Obamas represented most countries, I guess the world would've looked wonderful. Unfortunately, the majority of non-European leaders are far from that typecast, therefore Trumps and Putins are sometimes in higher demand.
And there is also Africa with its own slew of atrocities, (I know it's cynical) but which simply doesn't interest anyone...

message 5: by Michel (last edited Jun 20, 2018 07:11AM) (new)

Michel Poulin I am no racist, but Africa is one place where I don't have any interest to visit. There is simply too much corruption, nepotism, tribalism, intolerance, despotism and incompetent administration in too many countries in the continent to be worth the risk of visiting. Yes, some African countries have stable, democratic governments with fair to good administration but even those are sometimes victims of trouble coming from a neighboring country (example: Kenya, suffering acts of terrorism originating in nearby Somalia). Some countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Erythrea, Somalia, Zimbabwe and a few others) have been stuck in decades-long cycles of war and violent tribalism or despotic rule, with little hope of seeing significant improvements soon, while the UN operates a few 'peacekeeping' missions that achieve little. There was a time, decades ago, when UN peacekeeping operations could actually help turn around a bad situation, but no more (I myself participated in such missions, in Cyprus in 1975, then in Bosnia in 2000 under NATO).

As Nik said, today the tendency is towards the exercise of raw power rather than that of reasoned diplomacy. In such a world, the toothless UN is now pretty much irrelevant.

message 6: by Lena (new)

Lena | 605 comments Until Trump I had no idea how much bias, hate, there still was against Israel. Embarrassingly I didn’t know we didn’t have an embassy there. It was crazy to see how many countries were saying “Israel’s not a country!” Shocked. Shocked. But I guess I shouldn’t be, occasionally I still hear about “the war of northern aggressions.”

message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments I agree with Nik that the UN is fairly dysfunctional, but I can't see any way to improve it right now. The US is not going to take away notice of an adverse vote through a hundred or so minor countries with no standing in an issue voting against it, particularly when most of them are getting US assistance in one way or another. Similarly, Russia is not going to take any notice of politically motivated motions against it. Israel is going to ignore any resolutions that it regards would be against its national security, and each of those views is both understandable and realistic.

The most important question is what should constrain the leaders of a nation? Only too many people think they have the answer to a country's problems, and they have no idea. The US "nation building" in Iraq and Afghanistan was a disaster; the US and Europe's intervention in Libya was hardly a fine example of success. Everyone jumps up and down about human rights, but overlook the corresponding obligations. There is no point in imposing the republic form of government on someone if those who lose the election refuse to accept the result, or if you cannot guarantee the result was a fair count. The amount of rights the average citizen should have are a function of their willingness to accept the system, and if they wish to change it, there should be a proper electoral way of doing it. The problem now throughout the world is the losers often refuse to accept the result. We see an example with Brexit, where some politicians would prefer to wreck the country than accept the result. In countries such as Libya, we should have accepted that some human rights might have to be subservient to the need to keep rabid tribalism from wrecking the country for everyone.

Same for Syria, except that in Syria other politics and worse, oil money, intervened. A recent NY Times article claimed that the Syrian crisis really started when Qatar wanted to put a pipeline through Syria (that would compete with Syria) to sell gas in Europe. Syria tried to [protect its own gas sales so it declined. At that point Qatar and Saudi money poured in to create a Syrian rebellion. My view is, if this is correct, everyone should forget about human rights for the time being, and stop this sort of funding of revolutions and destabilising governments in other countries. The UN won't because the US is well known for assisting government overthrows in other countries. So the UN is dysfunctional, but that is because nobody has worked out how it could reasonably be made to function.

message 8: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Ian, I am afraid that the UN is on a road of no return, has been for decades. Now, World order is clearly dependant on the conduct of the major powers left (USA, Russia, China, EU, Japan, India also but in a lesser way). The big problem is that those powers nearly all have either very selfish and centric views about their actions on the world stage, or don't care much. All the middle powers, like Canada, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil and the Scandinavian countries are now basically near helpless in trying to influence the conduct of the bigger powers. People like Trump, Putin and Xi Jin Pin are now calling the shots and I don't see that changing for the near or medium future.

message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments Michel, you are certainly correct that the major powers are only going to be affected by what anyone else says if they have no real interest in the issue, and that is rare. I suppose the pretence that the UN matters does affect some minor players, but those ones tend to be behaving reasonably anyway.

message 10: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments You guys have made the case that the UN is defunct. Should a new, more functional body be formed? Is that a possibility?

message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments Think of it like a society, like a writers' group. It only works if those present want it to work and are prepared to make it work. I can't see that happening right now amongst the big powers

message 12: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments Scout wrote: "You guys have made the case that the UN is defunct. Should a new, more functional body be formed? Is that a possibility?"
I thought we did that when Bush invaded Iraq after the UN drew and backed away from one red line after another...

message 13: by Matthew (last edited Jun 20, 2018 09:08PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) I hear a lot of people claiming the UN is defunct or dysfunctional, as if this somehow excuses or justifies Trump's decision. Does no one care that the US has withdrawn from the Human Rights Council while also committing human rights violations? Could we maybe keep our eye on the ball here?

message 14: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) J.J. wrote: "Scout wrote: "You guys have made the case that the UN is defunct. Should a new, more functional body be formed? Is that a possibility?"
I thought we did that when Bush invaded Iraq after the UN dre..."

What "more functional body" would that be? The Coalition of the Willing?

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