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14 September 2020

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walrus

Ah yes! UN salaries used to be at least New York executive salaries on steroids! As a young freshly minted MBA and an engineer , I was briefly tempted by a friend to get into the U.N. consultant business as he was doing.

He showed me a listing of consulting contracts and explained how you get on that gravy train. You apply for the smallest and most miserable contract in the most God awful place in the entire third world. For example “teaching alternative methods of recycling used colostomy bags into hair nets in rural south sudan’ for twelve months. You do the job and voila! You are now an experienced and validated “U.N Consultant” and you are on the list! You can now apply for successively longer contracts in more pleasant locations. You can then keep networking your way up - UNHCR, the world bank, IMF, etc., etc. as you build your resume.

And what a gravy train it is! A New York class salary - tax free, paid to your favourite tax haven account. ! A U.N. diplomatic passport, access to the full diplomatic social circuit in wherever you are. Diplomatic standard free board and lodging, great leave and healthcare provisions, free travel, etc. etc. however I had a young family and these jobs are for single guys and gals.

I am reminded of the time I met a lovely lady who had been doing just such U. N. work in the back blocks of New Guinea while I was there diving. Being a dutiful husband, I introduced her to the single skipper of our dive boat.

Fred

I reccomend Mogadishu as the new HQ city. Omar's clan can have the construction contract provided she and her refugees go back.

Deap

walrus, thank you for the first genuine laugh I have had in a long time. Put "free money" on the table and it will get picked up. Even Paul Krugman got that one right.

pl, thanks for the sober UN reminder, that we can't get enough of too..

turcopolier

Deap et al

I am glad that walrus included the World Bank in his tirade. When I was still at DIA, a vice president of the WB requested my assistance on a study on 3rd world disarmament and a program of incentives for that. he sent a letter to the Director of DIA asking for my part-time help. To my surprise the Pentagon big-wigs approved that as an off duty consultancy. I would be embarrassed to tell you how much money the WB insisted on paying me tax free (net of pay). They just give people money and it is then up to the payee as to whether or not they pay tax on it in their country of citizenship.

Polish Janitor

Several years ago a friend of mine was assigned to Darfur as an observer and security consultant and as everybody here alluded to it, he got paid free UN money doing 'N.O.T.H.I.N.G".:)) In fact his supposed 'work' at the local UN mission there consisted of socializing with other personnel at the compound, watching movies, exchanging jokes, skyping with the wife and children, and a daily boring almost 2-hour long daily briefing alongside fellow UN personnel from Uganda, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Russia, making lunch and dinner-sometimes for others too-, according to him the daily UN 24-hr civilian rations were so terrible that they would just pile them up and donate to the local poor whenever they would go out of their compound. I remember him telling me all kinds of bizarre stories about the local population, the backyard local moonshine operations made from sorghum, cassava and basically whatever they could lay their hands on (despite being a sunni muslim country) their customs, music and all kinds of other stuff. The people there danced a lot too and showed me really odd but funny footage of their dances. He would tell me that there was so much free time and the pay was 'top notch'. In fact he ended up buying a studio from the payment he had received for doing absolutely nothing, and a new car from the left-over money. His mission lasted two years, with on and off intervals in-between.

Polish Janitor

A small studio apartment I meant.

Deap

Samantha Powers always regretted "we" should have done more in Rwanda to stop the brutal ethnic genocide - did she mean supporting the UN troops more, who were there as "peace keepers" or to bring in US troops? Could anything have stopped the sweeping tribal brutality? I fear our inner cities need to learn from such recent history.

Babak makkinejad

Deap

Samantha Power did not ask the right question.

Which was this:

"How did France aide and abet the genocide in Rwanda?"

Could there have been genocide in Rwanda without France?

I wonder.

Babak makkinejad

All:

You can laugh as much as you like about UN but it remains, without a doubt in my opinion, one of the last barriers to another global war.

Vladimir Putin has staunchly defended International Law and UN on multiple occasions, 2007 in Munich and 2014 at UNGA.

Without UNSC, there would be a World War within 20 years.

turcopolier

Babak

3rd worlders nearly all have the same pathetic faith in the UN. Is it because it is your only hope?

turcopolier

Babak

Senseless babble.

Yeah, Right

1 Is very true.

2 Is very misleading. The legal obligations comes from the Charter of the United Nations ("The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.").

The Carter very definitely is an International Treaty, which means that a signatory has agreed to be legally-bound by Article 25. So if a Security Council Resolution uses the magic words "Decides that...." then member states are legally-bound by that decision.

Which, obviously, is why so few SC Resolutions contain those magic words and - equally obviously - the members of the P5 jealously guard their authority to put the kybosh on such stuff.

3 Is arguable. (though I will point out that the IAEA is *not* a UN agency). The Security Council itself is very useful for dealing with rogue nations that are not under the protection of one of the P5 (think Saadam Hussein. Or the sanctions imposed on North Korea or Iran). That is by design: if you are in a Big Power camp then you are protected, but if you step out of those camps then the Security Council can - and does - step on you like a bug.

4. True enough. Again, that is by design, it is not a flaw (and I will point out that the investigation into Rafiq Hariri's murder is an ad-hoc tribunal, it is not an established "UN agency").

The long and short of it is this: the UN is extremely useful as a tool for the Big Boys to beat up on any of the little guys who get uppity. It is designed to perpetuate the immediate post-ww2 power structure.

It can not - and was never intended to - be a tool by which the little guys can gang together and beat up on the Big Boys or their hangers-on. Again, that is a feature designed into the system from the very beginning, it is in no way a flaw.

Fred

Babak,

No one in Rawanda had agency, especially not the Hutus. It's an old familiar refrain. Group identity and that other group is out to get us, that other group is the cause of our troubles. Right out of the marxist playbook. The same one BLM and the cultural marxists are reading from right now.

turcopolier

Yeah, right

I see now that Australia is essentially a 3rd word country, hoping always like the other 3rd world countries that this phony institution can restrain the major powers. It would seem that you missed the absolute veto the permanent members of the security council have over everything. That feature was not an accident.

Polish Janitor

Babak,

With all due respect, but the idea that UN and its most powerful instrument UNSC's existence is crucial to maintaining world peace is laughable and plain wrong at the same time. I don't know how and why anyone could come to this kind conclusion.

First of all, UN is where it is because it is a relic of the post-WW 2 America hegemony and gets all of this 'all powerful' image because nation-states arbitrarily give it power and legitimacy not the other way around, hence its nature as an inter-governmental institution. It is like a mother-in-law who always meddles into your life as long as you allow her to do so. The UN and the mother-in-law here are powerless and derive their powers from you if you give it to them. And when you do, the results are nothing short of disaster.

Second, the UN has been utterly- and I mean it with every sense of the word, utterly incapable of acting as a stalwart against war and bloodshed. In several cases under the guise of humanitarian intervention (R2P), UN has been acting as multinational invading forces (Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Western Sahara, Southern Lebanon, Libya, the Sahel, Korea). Examples of its uselessness in preventing bloodshed include, Rwanda, Myanmar (under the Nobel peace prize winner UN-friendly and pro-human rights EU's favorite female dictator Aung San Suu Kyi), rise of ISIS (frequent resolutions against Syria, multilateral sanctions, getting caught helping the 'moderate rebels' with arms and logistical assistance and with all of its NGOs forcefully evacuating poor Syrians from their homes to camps in Lebanon and Jordan, and in Afghanistan they are also incapable of maintaining peace and order there because all they care about is turning that tough place into a garden of liberal democracy and secular paganism. No wonder the U.S. recognizes the terrorist Taliban as the real bosses there and does its own negotiations with the organization in Doha without caring much for the utterly corrupt and USAID-dependent Afghan government in Kabul. I really wonder what would happen when (not if) the Taliban become legitimized and then 19+ years of secularization and nation-building vanishes into thing air...

Third, the idea of Putin as the guarantor of international peace and its respect for int's law is horse crap. Even Putin himself has violated int'l law multiple times: Chechnya in 1999-2000: illegal invasion, violation of Geneva convention, Georgia (2004/2008): illegal invasion, Ukraine (2014-) illigal invasion and occupation. Just because the neocons don't take UNSC (and the whole UN for that matter) seriously does not mean Russia does the contrary and respects it. Russia has 'gamed' the liberal west and its institutions and organs so good that it seems to the outside viewer that Russia in fact is the good law abiding citizen of the world. I am not anti-Russia and appreciate realpolitik but I can't use the Russia and respect for int'l law in one sentence.

I ask you, where is UN's role without which world peace is at stake? Where is UN when Trump literally gifted another country's most fertile and rich land to the Israelis? Where is UN in enforcing two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Where is UN in respecting the terms of the UNSC's 2231 in protecting the rights of P3+1 to buy oil (and do trade) with Iran?
What about the Iraq war? Libya in 2011? Syria 2011? Israeli's normal violation of Lebanon and Syria's airspaces?

It is one word my friend, "Power".

UN enforcement mechanisms don't have any power and legitimacy to be effective as long as the members ignore them and since nation-states have their own interests to pursue and not UN's, which at certain times become security matters, the UN cannot and would not do anything because it is useless and a topic of our ridicule here on SST.

If it were up to me and people like me, we would have abolished it in 1989 with the fall of Soviet Union.

Polish Janitor

correction: P4+1 not P3+1

BABAK MAKKINEJAD

Col. Lang:

Russia is not a 3rd World country.

I stand by what I wrote.

When US left League of Nations and Italians' invasion and occupation of Ethiopia was left unanswered by the League of Nations, another barrier to World War II was removed.

If UNSC is useless, then any sensible country should become armed with hyper-sonic nuclear munitions. The path of North Korea will be the standard but not the exception.

BABAK MAKKINEJAD

Fred:

OK.

Pedantically: what was the proportion of agency that France had in Rwanda vs. Hutus vs. Tutsis?

Would the genocide had occurred without the downing of the plane carrying the President of Rwanda?

Who did that? Was it a French operation that had gone wrong?

Yeah, Right

“i see now that Australia is essentially a 3rd word country, hoping always like the other 3rd world countries that this phony institution can restrain the major powers.”

!!!!!!!!!

You have completely misunderstood my post. I stated several times that the UN is not designed to do anything of the sort.

It is deliberately designed to perpetuate the authority of the major powers as they existed at the end of WW2, and to be used as a cudgel against 3rd world countries that dare to “hope” otherwise.

Oh, yeah, and also to provide a venue that can institutionalise the enmity between those major players so that they can spend their days staring daggers at each other without outright - and calamitous - war erupting between them. In that regard I believe Babak is quite correct, and your dismissal of him is unwarranted.

“It would seem that you missed the absolute veto the permanent members of the security council have over everything.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!

What can I say except: read my previous post.

Because I can’t see how anyone can read “Which, obviously, is why so few SC Resolutions contain those magic words and - equally obviously - the members of the P5 jealously guard their authority to put the kybosh on such stuff.” as anything other than a reference to the veto.

Stueeeeee

Babak

Your faith in the globalists’ bastard child, UN, is without basis. Did the UN hinder/stop the Iraq war? How about destruction of Libya? How about Syria? The UN does not prevent anything but provides “legal” or legitimacy for sanctioned interventions. Its other purpose is to whittle away the sovereignty of its unwitting member countries.

scott s.

I love the UN Special Rapporteur concept. Get that gig and you are set.

turcopolier

Yeah, right
Good! You are not as bad as I thought, but the idea that the UN exists to perpetuate enmities is just childish.

turcopolier

Babak

Russia is not a 3rd world country? really?

Deap

Third world country: (1) raid the treasury and (2) hire the relatives. Ergo: Russia is a third world country. So is California. And the Detroit school system.

English Outsider

Colonel - it's these accounts from the inside that are one of the things that makes SST such a valuable read. Is there anything else on the internet like it? I don't think so.

So I thought too when I read Walrus' account. But Walrus, fascinating though your story is I like my stories to have happy endings. And I can't work out whether you gave us a happy ending or not.

As for the UN itself, bitter experience our side of the Atlantic with a supranational organisation we're busy getting shot of at the moment (Yes, I know we're being slow but we're getting there) has convinced me of one thing. If you can't vote the people who run one out of office then it's guaranteed to become a monster gravy train.

And the UN sets a magnificent example of that. Though since it's kept a relative or two of mine in grand style I don't often push that one too hard.

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