Should UN have an army

I am of the point of view that united nations should form an army by recruiting, on its own, from people around the world (as against requesting nations to send armed units). they would then not be restricted by petty political and financial interests of the member nations and could effectively intervene in rogue countries such as zimbabwe and others to get rid of the repression.
the question remains as how one could trust UN to be the judge of right and wrong, but then how do we trust our governments? maybe we could have elections to the UN from an electrorate chosen from different countries, especially drawn from those not belonging to the governments of those countries.
being realistic, this is not going to happen tomorrow, but it could be our long-term goal

Somehow a standing army that is not in the hands of the immediately elected government comes across as just a tad bit worrying to me. Like you say though, military organizations even when in the hands of elected democratic governments don’t exactly make me tingle with excitement either. In any case, I think the UN already has an army it’s called NATO.

its more like NATO, or the countries of NATO, control or dictate terms to the UN and not the other way round. NATO uses UN to give its decisions a seemingly global acceptance.
NATO would never intervene in nations like zimbabwe and UN would not be able to get NATO to.
moreover, NATO countries are the largest debtors of UN and have driven it to the verge of bankruptcy

Really? You don’t say…

and ram_shenoy…about NATO… I was being sarcastic :smiley:


And who is going to pay for this UN Army, Navy, and Air Force? It’ll cost an awful lot of money to provide them with a modern fighting force capable of worldwide deployment. Where are their bases going to be? It’ll have to be some place where they can get all the support a standing military needs. I doubt any country in Europe, North America, or Asia is going to welcome a U.N. base. What nation is going to allow its citizens to serve in a U.N. army? And who is going to control the U.N. army?


I have some say in how my government works. I have no say in what goes with the UN.

I don’t have a whole lot of respect for the United Nations especially when it comes to their military actions. The United Nations isn’t a government body and they’ve got no need of a military.


NATO isn’t a democratic body and isn’t intended to be so. It’s an organization where representant of democracies and genocidal dictartorships alike meet in order to come to agreement on issues threatening the state members security and try to design “lowest common denominator” codes of conduct.
That said, I’m not opposed to the concept of a world government with elected representants and armed forces. But it will be an entirely different animal. And I don’t expect this option to be seriously considered any time soon, if at all. It would necessitate all the countries in the world to agree on the same set of ethical values, or at least enough countries for the opinion of the others to be irrelevant. Unfortunalely or hopefully (depending on your taste), the “world village” is still very diverse, and the various tribes don’t agree on many things. However, the very existence of organizations like the WTO or the International Criminal Court and the fact that many international treaties and agreements are more and more perceived as having an universal value suggests that we’re slowing heading this way.

Of course you do. The same US administration that controls the US military has/would have veto power over UN military actions.

Isn’t this what the OP is meant to address?

It’s a quasi-governmental body, and damn straight there’s a need for a global military force capable of going after dictators and terrorists while being impartial and free from the constraints of national interests.

Basing might not be too much of a problem, since there are bound to be some 3rd world countries who would welcome such facilities and the cash influx they would bring.

But yes, where the money would come from in the first place is a major sticking point. Ted Turner can’t pay for it all himself.


You’ll excuse me if I don’t consider that much of a say. I have nobody in the UN that represents my interest like I do in congress or the senate. The UN is not a government of the people nor was it ever meant to be a government of any kind.


Since when did the United Nations make any decisions or take any actions which were impartial and free from the constraints of any national interest? Heck, the UN is set up so Russia, China, France, Great Britian, and the United States can veto UN decisions. The UN can’t possibly be impartial because they get all of their money from member states. If they upset the people who pay the most they may lose their revenue.

There is an issue of who controls this proposed UN military force. I’d be very uncomfortable with the idea of Syria, Iraq, and China having a say in where the UN military should be deployed and what their mission is.

That’s the major sticking point. I can’t see France, China, Great Britian, Russia, or the United States giving money to the UN to build their own strike force.


I think from the US stadpoint it is illegal for a US citizen to join a foriegn army. May be wrong or there are circumstances like when our pilots joined the brits before we got involved in WWII. Also it would be treasonous if there was any action taken against the US by this UN army.

ram_shenoy wrote:

Do you have a cite for this statement? (One of the requirements for debating in this thread is to provide proof (for lack of a better word) for assertions made in the OP)


Payments Owed the UN by Major Debtor Countries: Dec. 31, 2000
Sums rounded in $US Millions - Top 15 Debtors - All Accounts

Source: UN Documents Country Regular budget Peacekpg budget Tribunals budget Total Due
(Total Outstanding) 222 1989 47 2259
Owed by Top 15 206 1927 43 2176
United States 164 1144 12 1321
Japan 0 303 0 303
Ukraine 0 187 0 187
France 0 78 12 90
Russia 0 47 12 58
Belarus 0 48 0 48
Brazil 21 21 5 48
Spain 0 34 0 34
Argentina 12 4 1 17
China 0 16 0 16
Iraq 9 5 0 14
Austria 0 12 0 12
Portugal 0 11 1 12
Germany 0 9 0 9
Italy 0 8 0 8

Note: In a few cases, especially with the Tribunals, countries with small outstanding assessments (under $500,000) have been listed as zero due to rounding off.

Data from 1995 Onwards
More Tables and Charts on the Core UN Budget

This, whole thread, of course, assumes that people really have a say in the foreign policy decisions of their governments now. :wink:

In any case, there’s no way the United States would ever allow this. The only way I can see the UN ever getting real power is if the world became truly multipolar again, and if people started wanting to give international law real teeth instead of being “only applicable as long as it’s in the best interests of whoever already holds the power”.

MGibson: I have little doubt they’d be equally wary of having the U.S. run the thing. Then again, what’s the difference between an armed U.N. and a Pax Americana if you aren’t American? At least in the U.N. countries each get a vote.

(Not that Pax Americana exists, but you get the idea)

Okay, so every country donates money to give the U.N. a military. Who maintains it? Who pays the annual bills? Doesn’t the fact that the U.N. has no source of income outside donations of its members suggest to you that it’s impossible for it to have an independent military?

If the U.N. army did something the U.S. didn’t like, it could just cut of funds and choke it. So could other major powers.

What makes you think the U.N. is a good thing anyway? More and more, it is becoming a mouthpiece for governments that are not friendly to the United States. The Human Rights commission is stocked with countries like China, Algeria, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Syria. This is not an agency for justice - Many of the members are on it for the sole purpose of defusing critics of their own hideous human rights abuses.

I wouldn’t trust the U.N. to deliver mail, let alone have a world military.

it’s not meant to be an army to intervene at will. the army will act following a vote by the member nations. for e.g. in a situation like zimbabwe’s, none of the countries would call for military action as they have no interests there and mainly would have to send their armed units if they do. an UN army would solve these problems. funding would come from the member nations.
US is the world leader, but it is not fair to expect it to intervene in situations where it has no direct interest. but all nations have a duty to address world problems and hence the idea of an UN army. and the army is not meant to be a power center in opposition to the existing superpower(s).

My point here wasn’t that the UN itself is completely impartial (but it’s more impartial than any given government), but that there is a need for an international military force capable of acting with impartiality, whether under the auspices of a revamped UN or some other theoretical organization.

Who’s descision–partial or impartial–was it for there to be a Israeli/Palestinian conflict that would spiral out of control and thus make it impossible to confron Saddam Hussein and his WMD programs?

Answer: The complete lack of any body capable of making descisions and enforcing them has resulted in this very dangerous situation.

Perhaps the UN should be scrapped and replaced. One possible idea is for there to be a ‘house of representatives’ whose members are elected directly, just as in the US. The beauty part is that any country which does not allow free and fair elections wouldn’t get any representation!

The problem, of course, is that you can’t have an army without sovereignty, and the United Nations is not a sovereign body.

On the other hand, there’s no reason that sovereign bodies couldn’t agree to lend the U.N. troops if they thought it was a good idea and in the interests of collective security. That won’t make a lick of difference, however, if the U.N. doesn’t have stable and politically neutral sources of funding. Considering that actually paying U.N. membership dues is actually somehow a political issue in the U.S. and the amount of the U.N.'s budget that derives from American sources, this isn’t going to happen any time soon. What are they going to do, boot the U.S. out?

You mean Wesley Snipes isn’t enough for them?

The UN is a diplomatic forum.

It is not a magical device for abolishing evil.

Everyone is concentrating on the details, who will pay for it, how will it be managed etc. You’re ignoring the most basic fundamental flaw:

No one will ever fight for anything but one’s own country.

This is why the UN is and always will be a nice idea but a completely impotent ruling body.


Whatever the merits or demerits of U.N. armed forces, that’s far too sweeping a statement, isn’t it? What about the Crusades, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the French Foreign Legion, Lafayette and Kosciusko, the Gurkhas, the Anabasis of Xenophon, several thousand years of assorted mercenaries, Al-Qaeda…People will fight for all kinds of reasons, good, bad, and ugly, from a paycheck to advancing the Great and Holy Cause of [Fill-in-the-Blank].