Article: "Gaza Silence Shows UN Lack of Power: Celestine Bohlen (Update1)"
Excerpt: Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Twice in the past five months, the United Nations Security Council has failed to call for an early stop to small wars that put the international community on edge. It isn’t for want of trying. Last year, ambassadors representing the 15 members of the Security Council met in the middle of the night to discuss the brewing conflict between Georgia and Russia. They adjourned at 2 a.m. on Aug. 8 without producing any kind of declaration, let alone a resolution. With Israel’s offensive in Gaza, a similar stalemate set in. Since Dec. 27, the Security Council met four times, including on two successive Saturdays and on New Year’s Eve, before finally approving a resolution yesterday for an immediate cease-fire by a 14-0 vote. The U.S. abstained, and Israel is pressing on with its military operation to end rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Casualties mounted as the world’s biggest international organization took its time to send a clear message to the combatants, raising concern -- once again -- about its effectiveness. The question is: What else could take its place? The paralysis at the heart of the 192-nation UN can be traced to the veto power held by the Security Council’s permanent members: the U.S., Russia (formerly the Soviet Union), China, the U.K. and France. This can hold the international community hostage to the five nations’ own interpretation of events, their own national interests and those of their allies. ‘Eternal Conundrum’--“It is the eternal conundrum at the UN,” says Stephen Schlesinger, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a public- policy research institute in New York. “As long as you have an international institution made up of states, you will always have state interests controlling the outcome.”
Link to Full Story: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_bohlen&sid=aPQ3xbIU.eJw