Thursday, October 27, 2005

If Everyone is Corrupt, Does it Matter that the U.N. is Also Corrupt?

The final Volcker Independent Inquiry Committee Report has been released (see here). News summaries have generally emphasized the final report's conclusion that over 2000 companies participating for Oil-for-Food were involved in illegal or at least illicit kickback schemes with the Saddam Hussein Iraqi government. But the report also rightly faults the U.N. itself for failing to prevent or stop such widespread and blatant corruption.

Before Chris jumps on me again for complaining about the U.N. without acknowledging its good qualities, let me say that I think the U.N. can be effective in some cases. And I also find the reports of private companies like Daimler Chrysler or Volvo receiving kickbacks from Saddam Hussein just as damning as the reports of malfeasance at the highest levels of the U.N. Secretariat. The fact that diplomats such as France's former U.N. Ambassador and politicians like Britain's George Galloway also appeared to benefit from the scheme is equally troubling. Corruption appears to have been endemic in this program.

Having said that, I do think supporters of the U.N. are underestimating the seriousness of the Oil for Food scandal for the institution's long-term survival. Petty corruption is one thing, but petty corruption that directly undermines the U.N.'s administration of sanctions against Iraq is quite another.

If the U.N. cannot effectively administer sanctions against Iraq without succumbing to rather easy and blatant corruption by an unsavory figure like Saddam Hussein, it is hard to see why the "international community" should "trust" the U.N. to deal effectively with other serious threats to international peace and security. It is also hard to see why, for instance, the U.N.'s claims that it could effectively monitor Iraq's weapons program should be taken seriously.

The U.S. government has made many mistakes of its own, and it perhaps deserves to have its good intentions questioned around the world. But the Oil-for-Food scandal reminds us that the U.N. has its own serious problems and that its claims of high-minded disinterested protection of world peace deserves just as much skepticism.

5 Comments:

Blogger Peter said...

Julian, if you are talking about sanctions evasion, the bulk of Saddam's revenue came from smuggling ($8.5 billion), rather than kick-backs ($1.5 billion). That smuggling was the responsibility of the Security Council, not the Secretary General, and was not associated with the oil-for-food program. Moreover, as the previous Volcker report made clear, the United States was well-aware of this smuggling and didn't stop it as long as the trading was done with Turkey & Jordan.

Also, if you're talking about corruption and mismanagement, there is something to be said for the United States considering the beam in its eye before casting out the mote in the UN's. In January of this year, the Inspector General came out with a report that found almost $9 billion in oil-for-food funds that could not be accounted for by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Here is a link to the report as well as an article

As the title of your post indicates, corruption in other nations does not excuse corruption in the United Nations. Maybe you're right that the corruption with the oil-for-food program makes it untrustworthy to deal with threats to international security (Although I would say the fact that the oil-for-food program achieved its main goals - feeding Iraqis while preventing Saddam from obtaining WMD's - should count for something).

But since many of the UN's harshest critics are advoates of American unilateralism, I don't see how the United States' own problems on these issues can be ignored.

10/28/2005 12:05 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 08.08
michael kors outlet, coach outlet, louboutin, tiffany jewelry, burberry outlet online, nike air max, chanel handbags, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, gucci outlet, longchamp outlet, longchamp, prada handbags, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, coach purses, replica watches, burberry, jordan shoes, kate spade outlet, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, nike outlet, louboutin outlet, kate spade handbags, coach factory outlet, coach outlet, tory burch outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet, christian louboutin outlet, tiffany and co, prada outlet, true religion jeans, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, louboutin shoes, oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike air max, michael kors

8/07/2015 11:52 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

louboutin pas cher, michael kors, sac guess, michael kors, nike air max, air jordan pas cher, ray ban uk, hollister pas cher, vans pas cher, converse pas cher, true religion jeans, michael kors, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, nike blazer, nike air max, timberland, lacoste pas cher, north face, nike free, vanessa bruno, hollister, nike air max, burberry, true religion jeans, lululemon, longchamp pas cher, nike free run uk, tn pas cher, nike roshe run, air max, ralph lauren uk, mulberry, hogan, abercrombie and fitch, north face, air force, new balance pas cher, hermes, sac longchamp, ralph lauren pas cher, ray ban pas cher

8/07/2015 11:53 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

herve leger, ferragamo shoes, new balance, giuseppe zanotti, nfl jerseys, mac cosmetics, nike roshe, asics running shoes, oakley, vans shoes, north face outlet, baseball bats, reebok shoes, insanity workout, birkin bag, babyliss, valentino shoes, mcm handbags, beats by dre, nike trainers, mont blanc, p90x workout, nike huarache, ghd, instyler, timberland boots, celine handbags, jimmy choo shoes, abercrombie and fitch, hollister, iphone 6 cases, nike roshe, soccer shoes, nike air max, longchamp, chi flat iron, hollister, soccer jerseys, north face outlet, bottega veneta, lululemon, wedding dresses

8/07/2015 11:54 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

thomas sabo, karen millen, gucci, toms shoes, links of london, ugg boots uk, ralph lauren, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, pandora charms, swarovski, montre pas cher, uggs on sale, ugg boots, hollister, juicy couture outlet, pandora charms, ray ban, bottes ugg, ugg boots, lancel, supra shoes, ugg boots, ugg pas cher, wedding dresses, coach outlet, marc jacobs, juicy couture outlet, louboutin, vans, converse outlet, converse, swarovski crystal, ugg boots, pandora jewelry, replica watches, hollister, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, nike air max
ninest123 08.08

8/07/2015 11:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home