The UN- A neocolonial partnership
By Shenali Waduge
July 10, 2010
What Western media avoids to do is reveal the role of multinational mining corporations from North America and Europe fueling conflicts. Many are not aware that global leaders have personal stakes in these global conglomerates – George Bush is a Board director of Barrick Gold Corporation
When the US bombed Yugoslavia including the Chinese embassy and other embassies what did the UN do? Does the UN not know that the UN Security Council members possess the largest arsenal of weapons? Did the UN not accept the WMD version of the US and has the UN even apologised for the damage they have done to Iraq and its people since the 1990s
If we are to assume that very little help in terms of "honest" decision making, non-permanent members of the council need to start building unity amongst themselves or a break in the US and EU relations forcing France, Russia and China to resist the US and British pressures
Replacing colonialism today is neo-colonialism and its offspring economic liberalism. Facilitating modern forms of "interventions" upon sovereign nations is the United Nations (UN) whose laws, protocols, conventions etc have been designed to legalise and necessitate these actions. To execute these programmes are terminologies like "responsibility to protect" 'human rights", "press freedom" and even "terrorism" which all eventually leads to approval for foreign presence and eventually enable these states to have their country "looted" of its natural resources. Further strangulating these nations are internationally "approved" institutes like the World Bank, IMF with their "structural adjustment programmes" wherein countries are made to compromise and open up their markets wherein western nations suck out countries of its riches. Ideally, suited are puppet governments to advance western interests but in countries where leaders have shown astuteness or signs of bravado to stand against western dictates, their weak areas are targeted and this is where Sri Lankan citizenry must be alert to ensure that the country’s leaders do not stray nor allow the country to be compromised. All facets of neo-colonial activity is what prevails in modern trade, international laws and diplomacies.
How do we distinguish neo-colonialism from colonialism? Today, imperialist nations do not desire to militarily occupy the nations they invade outright. They prefer instead to temporarily create a destabilising presence and attempt if possible to install a puppet government (Afghanistan is a good example) which will legitimise the imperial actions being taken and allow open market economy and subject that country to the monopoly of capitalists. Additionally, they camouflage their actions through the presence of "agents" in the form of the UN, associated institutes and the NGO/ the INGO presence. None of these entities plan or desire to "solve" problems except ensure that these "problems" exist long enough for them to drain the nations of their wealth. Iraq’s oil is today owned by the US and British companies. Would the UN agencies ever desire "peace" when it will entail their loss of job? Does the US really plan to defeat Al-Qaeda and the Taliban? Not really, and would explain why the US has not been able to defeat any terrorist group of any country that the US or NATO has invaded? Given this fact it is easier to determine what the actual game plan of military invasions are and why we need to be more alert to neo-colonial tendencies.
Economic "aid" has become the power tool to entice Third World nations and has been a proven neo-colonial strategy. The path towards this starts off with breaking progress in these countries, isolating them from world socialist communities and structuring their national growth towards "capitalist" policies. What the "aid" for these capital investments results in are countries paying for their imports. Added to this is the element of "human rights" as the basis for international assistance by western donor-agencies. Officials make it a point to stress human rights criterion, press freedom, implementation of certain shelved constitutional amendments as basis to award these aid or concessions. This is perhaps the best time to actually remind these western sycophants that the majority of the world’s people have ended up in poverty as a result of western colonialism. Let these western governments and UN tell us how many countries they have helped bring back "democracy", "good governance" and "economic development"?
If electronic and print media are silent, it is largely due to the world’s media agencies being capitalist or those having Evangelical interests. How many of us have the ability to question what we are shown via media and actually question the authenticity of these stories. Then we have the International Organisations now infamously known as the NGOs/International NGOs and many of these often have "Save the…" tagged to their fund raising campaigns. Many of these foreign NGOs often have local personages with no love for their country or its people except to work towards the handsome remunerations that come their way. So, is it then a surprise when these locals/groups encourage sanctions, foreign intervention and promote appeasement? Being part of the greater neo-colonial plan it is natural for them to carve out their reports, statistics and documentaries to endorse the objectives of these western liberal movements. The UN archetype ensures their versions are automatically endorsed and the media handsomely carries forward the "propaganda campaigns" that provides some "drama" by making ordinary stories extraordinary and the finale arises with diplomatic drives which are nothing but telling smaller countries to tow the line with a diplomatic smile and shake of hands.
Adding to this is another facet which was initiated by Kofi Annan for a Business-Humanitarian Forum (without General Assembly approval), the Global Sustainable Development Facility under the UNDP and the Global Compact with transnational companies all parroting principles of human rights, labour, discrimination etc where companies must include these statements into their mission statements none of which are binding with no mechanisms to monitor or take actions against companies that do not follow these norms. What it leads to is companies making payment to the UN for their partnerships, whitewashing themselves and then doing as they like in practice! Similarly, the Earth Charter is another ruse and finally begs to ask whether corporate involvement in the UN is a neocolonial strategy on the guise of providing relief and stability which essentially boils down to promoting western products and a western world trade system.
Given that western nations are facing volatile financial situations on home turf it necessitates these powers to fast pace their actions vis a vis developing and upcoming nations and if certain countries are being targeted there are reasons for this. What is noteworthy and needs to be continuously reiterated is that it is the very countries that are oppressed and divided through colonialism that are now using military force and being supported by the United Nations.
So, do not be alarmed by statements of "genocide" "human rights violations" "freedom" for these are the terminologies being used as arguments for their actions and they have international laws to quote from for these clauses were also coined and worded by them! So, should we be surprised at how Africa has been carved, what they are doing and the Muslims of the world, how Asia is being torpedoed with separatist movements, ethnic based separatisms etc?
The UN is quick to excuse their lack of action to lack of evidence. However, in many cases despite enough proof they have remained passive onlookers demeaning their role and demanding us to question their right to continue to call themselves "peace keepers."
In Africa, the last of the "humanitarian missions" carried out by western powers was in 1993 under President Bill Clinton with the invasion of Somalia, followed by the 1998 bombings of Afghanistan and Sudan for "harbouring terrorists". The US continues to pound Afghanistan and now Pakistan and the Iraq situation indeed should call for all the UN officials to step down. The UN did nothing for the loss of innocent civilian life in all of these the US, the NATO led bombings nor the complete destruction of the only pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, the destruction of ancient sites in Iraq unless that was actually the target!
The irony is that conflicts in Africa become necessary to prevent puppet African governments from allowing these African states to be fleeced by western powers. Rwanda saw a systematic slaughter of 800,000 people within 4 months. What actually happened in Rwanda was a change in power structures in East/Central Africa where "regime change" policy of Anglo-American establishments meant advocating genocide and it turned out to be a showdown between the US-UK against France over supremacy. The Tutsi’s were backed by Paul Kagame, the US and UK alliance while the Hutu’s were supported by the French and Rwanda was turned into cinders as a result of the World Bank through its "structural adjustment programmes’. Similarly, regime changes took place in Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala (Uganda), Kinshasa (Congo), Bujumbura (Burundi) all because these nations were rich in gold, strategic materials such as coltan, diamonds and timber. Wherever the western nations have intervened and the UN has backed these "interventions" these countries and people are facing squalor and worse forms of violence. If military intervention is the latest norm why did the US, the UK, France and Beligum not do anything despite being aware of the likely outcome. What are the lessons the UN learnt from this 1994 failure. Two dictators – Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame carry part of the responsibility though largely the Rwanda disaster was a result of Ango-American neocolonial policy where looting of raw materials by Anglo-American companies partnered by French companies took place. The interest in Sudan (once a former British colony) is its oil, possession of uranium, valuable minerals, Arabic gum as well as being the largest country in Africa and possibly the main hub for other invasions.
The UN National Security Archive and testimonies given by Canada’s Lt Gen. Romeo Dallaire, the UN Commander in Kigali in 1994 revealed that US and UK Governments were aware of the violence building up in Rwanda and his calls for help were rejected and what could a 270 UN force do in Rwanda though it doubled its UN presence eventually in Bosnia. The US-UK had made a policy decision to bring about a regime change in Kigali, yet how could the UN collaborate with this policy and watch 800,000 innocent people become compromised for this requirement? More than 5 million people have died in these wars in the Congo, which was part of the western strategy for power. The guilt of the West lies in designing the situation to bring about the slaughters that took place and replaced leaders that would adopt radical free-market economics. All willing executioners of Anglo-American neocolonial policy for Africa. Rwanda was ruined by 1993 which resulted from the World Bank’s structural adjustment programme of 1984 despite a drought ("rigour and austerity"). Rwanda’s main crop coffee collapsed, Rwandan franc was devalued, civil service was retrenched and IMF still demands Rwanda pay up its debts. Therefore, what international laws exist where countries carrying out covert/overt operations can be charged and how far will the UN even consider to investigate these allegations?
The western powers stand guilty of rape, plunder and war crimes, crimes against humanity all around the world and in Africa in particular. From 1998 to 2004, 3.8mn people have died in the mineral-rich Congo and Africa has become almost a war zone with "wars within wars". We are all led to believe the problems are due to "ethnic conflicts" "feuding tribal" issues. Then there are voices for the UN intervention when the UN is already present but does nothing. What Western media avoids to do is reveal the role of multinational mining corporations from North America and Europe fueling these conflicts. Many are not aware that global leaders have personal stakes in these global conglomerates – George Bush is a Board director of Barrick Gold Corporation. In the case of Africa, its people must be asking why its continent had to be "rich" for others to profit! Africa is being robbed of its riches – minerals such as copper and gold, diamonds and uranium, coltan (used by Sony, Motorola, Ericsson and Nokia for their cell phones) Half of the world’s coltan supply is from Eastern Congo. Congo cannot consume gold, diamonds, copper or coltan, they do not manufacture weapons yet guns and ammunition are in plenty, bns of dollars are pilfered from the country while killings continue unabated.
So, we are faced with a situation where we ask if there is anything that can be done about neo-colonialism and the question of whether the left can actually help to ease off the damage being done.
The 20th century introduced the concept of the sovereignty of nation states. This concept has conflicted with issues resulting from territorial boundaries, liberation movements etc. That a body called the UN exists has proved basically futile in providing "equal" sentence to the violations of its charter/protocols or conventions. No sooner the earthquake in Haiti took place, the US mobilised thousands of troops, technocrats and aid organisations to reconfigure Haitian Government and its economic institutions. UN did nothing. There is little to prevent a powerful country from using the cover of a humanitarian "responsibility to protect" which translates in reality to pursuing political and economic interests only and has nothing to do with any concerns for the people of that country.
Today neo-colonial powers pursue their actions using two agencies of the UN – the World Bank and the IMF and other forms such as "multilateral aid" through international organisations. It is a habit of these agencies to force would-be borrowers to agree to various conditions (supplying of information about their economies, policies, demanding right to meddle in internal finances, determine how funds should be used etc) and agreeing to have these agencies supervise their loans.
Like colonialism, neocolonialism is surviving because of the success of "divide and rule" and the only way this can be countered or defeated is by unifying the exploited.
What can the UN Security Council actually boast of achieving? It has seldom intervened to ensure peace, it has allowed imperial powers like the US and UK to wage war against weak nations, it has agreed to the US-imposed sanctions in Iraq, the US a country that holds the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons accusing Iraq of "weapons of mass destruction" none of which were ever found. The hypocrisy lies in the US actually using their nuclear arsenal twice against Japan and as well as using WMD in Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Sudan and Yugoslavia. When the US violates the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilian areas, civilian infrastructure (hospitals, bridges, power plants, sewage facilities), what has the UN done. When US bombed Yugoslavia including the Chinese embassy and other embassies what did the UN do? Does the UN not know that the UN Security Council members possess the largest arsenal of weapons? Did the UN not accept the Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) version of the US and has the UN even apologised for the damage they have done to Iraq and its people since the 1990s. What we can determine is that the Left members of the UN Security Council namely Russia and China have done very little to undermine the actions of the US, the UK or France. In reality, Russia remains indebted to IMF while China’s economic success is largely linked to exports to the US, the EU and Japan.
If we are to assume that very little help in terms of "honest" decision making, non-permanent members of the council need to start building unity amongst themselves or a break in the US and EU relations forcing France, Russia and China to resist the US and British pressures. Yet the reality remains that small and helpless nations are becoming targets of a "new war" with the US dictating terms in the world arena and the UN merely a mouthpiece for imperialist motives. The best solution is to get rid of the UN Security Council entirely and ensure that super-power arm-twisting and manipulation stops.