Blaming the United Nations

Writing in Democracy Arsenal, David Shorr asks how long it will take commentators to start talking about the crisis in Lebanon and Israel as a “failure” of the United Nations.
“I have written elsewhere that the chief political function of the UN is often to serve as a scapegoat … Ironically, the UN was a significant contributor to Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution last year. After the Hariri assassination, the Security Council displayed remarkable unity in putting pressure on Syria. And that’s the point, international organizations can be quite effective when governments come together and agree on a course of action.”

This point should be repeated ad nauseam each time a conservative editorial condemns the United Nations’ ‘impotence’ in the current crisis. As I write, the French are circulating a draft resolution that calls for an immediate cease fire. The impediments to action are America’s reservations about the timing and order of a cease fire resolution, for better or worse. Until those are resolved, the Council will have its hands tied. And this is no fault of the United Nations.