For the U.N., Syria Is Both Promise and Peril –

The UN faces a crisis of credibility at present, and the Syria conflict will provide the latest and most important test. Inspectors are back in Syria; will this mirror the failures that occurred in Iraq?

For the West, one lasting lesson of the Syria crisis should be that the politics of national security today require a legitimacy that must be earned, in practice as well as principle. It is no longer enough to justify military intervention by pointing to a crime against humanity. In the wake of misbegotten wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, American and European leaders must now also demonstrate that an intervention has a plausible chance of improving the lives of those in peril, as well as advancing the security of those going to war in the name of peace.

For Russia, China and other nations that reflexively oppose Western-led interventions, the test of legitimacy is no less acute. For if they persist in blocking United Nations action where action is justified, they will hasten the day of the organization’s irrelevance. Just as few states or peoples want the Security Council to be a rubber stamp for unilateralist American policy, so, too, will it lose credibility if it serves as a shield behind which unspeakable outrages can take place in the name of safeguarding sovereignty.

via For the U.N., Syria Is Both Promise and Peril –


2 thoughts on “For the U.N., Syria Is Both Promise and Peril –”

  1. I really enjoyed this article. Destroying the chemical weapons in Syria can prove to be a great opportunity for the UN to once again become a legitimate and relevant organization. On the other hand, if things don’t go according to plan, the UN will appear weak and insignificant as it did in Iraq ten years ago. So is this Iraq all over again? Not quite. As pointed out in the article, “the United States is not using diplomacy — or the United Nations — to justify military action, but rather to avoid it.” Let’s hope that because there is a more legitimate reason behind the UN intervention, there will be more support from the global community and President Assad will be willing to comply with UN demands. Then, hopefully, the UN can be one step closer towards becoming the legitimate, relevant organization it was meant to be.

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