Put Democracies in Charge,
Better Angels UN 2.0
Only Experts in Human Rights & Development & Diplomats Can End Our Military Problems
In December, 2018, Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) smiled, laughed, and gave each other a celebratory high five at the G20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires.
- This was after MBS killed and dismembered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Turkish embassy when he was applying for a marriage permit.
- The high five was the same day the United Kingdom announced Putin ordered the poison attacks in England that killed a Briton and harmed a former Russian spy and his daughter.
- Putin and MBS were celebrating their ability to murder at will and still go to the G20 as world leaders.
That tells you everything that is wrong with international politics today.
The Fatal Flaw in the United Nations
The United Nations (UN) Security Council is dominated by the completely undemocratic veto power of the 5 permanent members (5P) of the Security Council: the United States, Russia, China, England, & France.
This arrangement, a relic left over from the great powers after World War II, no longer reflects global political realities.
It also prevents the UN from solving problems. It lets dictators block action on war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- The 5P vetoed action in the Middle East or Southern Africa 237 times.
- Because of the 5P veto power, the UN took no action when Russia invaded Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Georgia, and Ukraine.
- Russia and China regularly veto resolutions against Iran and against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s massacres and use of chemical weapons.
- They blocked resolutions about Bosnia’s massacre and condemning political repression in Myanmar.
- Russia vetoed resolutions against its own invasion and annexation of Crimea and against its own attack shooting down Korean air lines flight 007, killing 269 people.
- The US blocks resolutions demanding a halt to Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestinian territory and criticizing Israel’s human rights violations (apartheid) against Palestinians.
These kids of failures just keep tensions inflamed worldwide.
Problems with the UN Human Rights Council
Now the UN Human Rights Council includes some of the worst human rights abusers in the world. Members of the council include:
- China, which has detained between a1nd 3 million ethnic minority Uighurs in concentration camps for “reeducation” and even torture, simply for being Muslim, with no criminal charges.
- The Philippines, whose president has killed over 12,000 urban poor in a “drug war” with falsified evidence and no judicial hearings.
- Saudi Arabia, which bankrolled extreme Muslim schools worldwide spreading jihad, detained and tortured women’s rights activists, is destroying Yemen with a war attacking even schools and mosques, and beheads people for supporting democracy, for adultery, atheism, being gay, black magic, drug use, or rejecting Islam.
- Egypt, which detains and tortures democracy and civil rights activists, political opposition, bloggers, journalists, and gay people.
- Cameroon, which has arbitrary arrests and torture.
This is insane.
Better Angels United Nations 2.0
The 5 permanent member countries in the UN don’t want to give up their power. They would veto any attempt to take away their power.
So all the rich, developed Western democracies need to quit the UN and establish a new UN giving all the power to our better angels—nations, organizations, and experts who are working to improve the world.
We should give wise, just nations that truly live up to human rights ideals more voting power.
For example, we could start by giving each nation 50 votes. Then we could add 10 more votes for each of the following:
- functioning democracies with political parties
- low corruption
- free speech
- religious freedom
- free or cheap college and vocational education
- universal health care
- outlawing trade in military weapons
- melting down military weapons
- turning pharmaceutical companies into nonprofit organizations sharing research worldwide
- accepting International Court of Justice & International Criminal Court jurisdiction
- money laundering reforms, with full transparency of who ultimately benefits from all shell companies
- science-based drug and criminal laws (eliminate jail for personal drug use, adultery, consensual homosexuality, abortion, or magic; establishing needle exchange programs for addicts, etc.)
- high rates of accepting refugees, educating them, and job placement
- increasing protections for the environment
- reducing the use of fossil fuels and increasing renewable energy
We could deny nations any votes for:
- war crimes
- crimes against humanity
- military aggression
- supporting terrorist organizations
- sharing military technology with nations supporting terrorists
- weaponizing artificial intelligence
- using nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons
- cyber sabotage
And we could subtract 10 votes for each of the following:
- countries run by dictators
- high rates of human trafficking
- high rates of criminal money flows
- high rates of corruption
- jailing journalists, nonviolent dissidents, and political prisoners
- having nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons
- high rates of child labor
We should reward poor nations for improvements in all these areas with increased aid—clean water, food, basic health care, education, etc.
We should forgive the debt of poor nations that keep people trapped in poverty.
This UN 2.0 should establish full time commissions for:
- land reform to give poor people the ability to finance new businesses
- disarmament, especially in conflict zones like the Middle East
- greatly increasing diplomacy
- teaching peace, conflict resolution in all schools
- fighting the military mindset in arts, statues, and media
- cooperative non-profit pharmaceutical research worldwide
- bank transparency rules to identify the people who ultimately benefit from shell corporations
- effective civilian oversight of law enforcement
- trade laws protecting the human rights of workers and indigenous people
- union laws allowing a simple majority of workers’ signatures to establish a union (card check) and making unions stronger, such as banning the permanent replacement of strikers
- corporate wage, structure, and monopoly laws making governments stronger than corporations, such as 50% workers on corporate boards, average worker/CEO pay rations, global minimum or standardized corporate tax rates, ending pension cuts and stock buybacks
- encouraging member and worker-owned businesses (cooperatives), like credit unions
- balanced journalism showing both sides of controversies and using more scientists in media
The UN 2.0 should emphasize and carefully consider input from important advisory boards:
- experts in human rights
- experts in economic development
- experts in science
- experts in international law
- non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that already effectively work for human rights, women’s rights, and the environment
- religious leaders on matters of war and peace
Experts from humanitarian organizations could rate nations on all the above criteria, fine-tuning the limits to qualify for the voting structure or for rewarding poor nations.
Experts in international law could establish recommended laws for adoption to qualify for criteria in the voting structure and for rewarding poor nations.
These experts might decide to modify the criteria to rank nations into three categories (high, average, and low) instead of two on some criteria, such as corruption or environmental protection.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch could help in evaluating nations for torture and the jailing of dissidents.
Organizations already working on election monitoring like the Carter Center can help rate countries on their level of democracy.
The average refugee is out of their country for 10 years. Leaving refugee children stuck growing up without education or job skills is very dangerous.
We must educate and train refugees worldwide.
We already have the expertise, laws, treaties, & courts to end war crimes. We just have to make offenders face consequences for their acts.
We have experts who know how to:
- grow national economies with basic services, education, and jobs
- help failed nations create peace agreements
- help failed nations transition governments using local citizens already working to improve conditions, power sharing, and national dialogue
- help failed nations develop new constitutions and democratic elections
- help failed nations reintegrate former soldiers and rebel fighters with education and skills training
The UN has never really been funded enough to successfully prevent suffering and conflicts, promote human rights, economic development, or help reform governments and police systems in failed states.
In fact, the US, Russia, and other countries have regularly fallen hundreds of millions of dollars behind in their already meager promises to support the UN!
If we supported people like we do cows, the world could live in peace. Rich Western governments spend plenty of money subsidizing cows.
- Japan spends $7 per day per cow.
- The US and Europe spend $2.60 per cow per day.
- Large dairy herds often have central heat in the winter, sprinkler systems to cool the cows multiple times each day in the summer, and computer chips on each cow to coordinate with feeding machines.
The United States spends more on aid than any other country because of our huge, wealthy population. That makes us a significant force for good in the world.
But most other developed countries actually spend far more per person on foreign aid than we do.
- Sweden spent 1.4% of their gross national income on developmental aid in 2015. Several other nations spent over 1%.
- But most developed nations spent between .75 and .26%.
- The US only spends .18% of our national income on aid.
Rich nations must do better. The UN 2.0 could require any wealthy, developed nation that wants a vote to spend 1.5% of their gross national income on foreign aid.
Much aid is politicized, going to countries where rich nations have special interests. This is insane. We should let humanitarian and developmental experts decide where to best use it.
Too many Western aid officials ride in air-conditioned SUVs and work and live in luxury writing reports while not enough money goes to developing local businesses.
We must focus our aid on true development: on basic health care, education, skills training, connecting local people to markets, and land reform.
Once the rich world sees the great financial and peace benefits of aid, we could increase the target to 2% of gross national income or more.
Of course, we can’t expect poor, developing nations to contribute foreign aid to other countries. These countries get to vote in UN 2.0 without doing so, until their economies get stronger.
The UN has no permanent military force. This means powerful nations like the United States take charge, making poor, weak countries feel bullied.
We have the humanitarian and legal expertise to draw up very specific, concrete rules to apply about:
- when to intervene in conflicts
- when to sanction nations
- when to end an intervention or lift sanctions
Clear, consistent, fair rules about intervention set in advance by human rights organizations would bring far more authority, legitimacy, and respect to the UN and international law.
Countries would know how to avoid problems and exactly how to change their behavior to lift sanctions.
All the rich, developed member nations of the UN should set aside forces that the UN can call upon quickly in emergencies.
A fully funded army that only entered conflicts when clear violations of worldwide norms occurred could effectively police the world.
We should use human rights experts to train these troops to carefully follow humanitarian rules for engagement.
Author Chuck Falcon’s new book Progressive Politics 101 has more detailed suggestions for this Better Angels UN 2.0.
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