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Year 2000 No. 153, September 18, 2000 Archive Search Home Page

Support for UN ‘Peacekeeping’ Means Support for Armed Intervention Around the World

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Support for UN ‘Peacekeeping’ Means Support for Armed Intervention Around the World

News In Brief: Fuel Protests Spread Throughout Europe

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Support for UN ‘Peacekeeping’ Means Support for Armed Intervention Around the World

On 14 September the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, addressed the UN General Assembly on what he referred to as the ‘urgent challenges facing us on peacekeeping’.

The UN is currently involved in fourteen ‘peacekeeping operations’, nearly all of them taking place in the world’s poorest countries, involving 37,000 civilian and military personnel at an annual cost of$2.2 billion. Britain has its armed forces operating in eight of these operations throughout the world.

In his speech, Robin Cook certainly played lip-service to some of the key problems facing the world, such as the growing polarisation between rich and poor both within states and globally and the need for an end to the marginalisation of the small states, especially in the UN itself so that all states have an equal voice in this international forum. In terms of the democratisation of the UN, Robin Cook even went so far as to suggest reform of the Security Council, so long as this body was still dominated by the big powers of the G8 countries. But he was altogether silent on other much needed reforms, for example those that would take power away from the Security Council and the big powers and vest it in the General Assembly of all countries.

If the democratisation of the UN is accepted, hand in hand with this acceptance are the principles that differences between member states should be sorted out by peaceful means, that there should be peaceful coexistence between different social systems and the recognition that all peoples have the right to determine their own path of development.

The fact is that the British government does not accept such principles and that its concern for ‘peacekeeping’ is simply a convenient means to further its own interests through continued armed intervention around the world.

Increasingly in the modern world the UN, manipulated by the US and the other big powers, is not just intervening in conflicts between states but in conflicts within states, violating the sovereignty of those states on the basis of ‘humanitarianism’, the defence of ‘human rights’ or some other bogus justification. The main concern of Cook’s speech therefore was to ‘equip the UN with a more effective and a more rapid capacity for peacekeeping’. According to the British government, what the UN needs in order to establish such a capacity is a ‘permanent staff college for UN peacekeeping’, in other words a UN military academy in which to train troops in ‘the principles and practice of peacekeeping.’ It is the British government’s proposal that such an institution should be based in Britain. At the same time Cook’s speech showed the government is eager to strengthen the UN’s capacity for what it refers to as ‘conflict prevention’. But the alleged war against drug trafficking and attempts to control the trade in so-called conflict diamond and small arms are, as the actions of the big powers in Colombia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere show, convenient justifications for further intervention and total disregard for the sovereignty of states.

Britain and the other big powers like to shed crocodile tears about the inequalities and bloody conflicts that exist in the world and present themselves as the peacekeepers and those who can solve humanity’s problems. But the fact is that these inequalities and conflicts are a consequence of the current world order and the increasing globalisation which they champion.

Britain’s support for UN ‘peacekeeping’ is a façade for pursuing its interests as an interventionist power in the world on behalf of the monopolies and financial oligarchy and must be totally condemned.

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News In Brief

Fuel Protests Spread Throughout Europe

New agencies have reported that the protests against high fuel costs have spread throughout Europe. As well as the protests in France, Britain and Belgium there have been large-scale protests in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Ireland. At the end of last week people in several other countries also took action and protests were reported in Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and in Norway, the world’s second largest oil exporter.

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