UN approval for war

Read this claim on the web:

“the US is the only country that has ever attempted to obtain UN approval for international military action. The list of countries that have not includes all permanent members of the Security Council.”

Can anybody support or refute this, especially the first sentence?

Please keep in mind that this a GQ thread. Or at least it’s starting that way, and I’m hoping.

Well, the UN Security Council has only ever approved two actions–Korea and Gulf War I. For that matter, Korea wouldn’t have gotten approval if the USSR hadn’t been away boycotting the council for some unrelated reason.

Now, the only dicey is part is the fact that both times the US asked with a fair-sized coalition. It’s sort of like this last time around–did just the US attempt to obtain approval, or did the Brits as well? Now, I know this is a bad example, since the second resolution was never brought before the council, but you see my point. The statistic, without any other information, seems suspect to me because I don’t know who they give “credit” to for the first steps.

IIRC, the US is the only country that has launched invasions after WWII.

That’s not even remotely true. There have been many, many post WWII invasions of coutries, by countries, that were not the U.S.

What do you mean? There was the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets, the war over the Falklands by the British (not an invasion, admittedly), and all sorts of third-world wars.

I think a fairer statement would be that only the US has ever obtained Security Council approval because it is the only one that has initiated wars that would not be justified under other provisions in the UN charter and because its the only one who cared about reputation with the rest of the world.

What still mystifies me is the Falklands, but that’s a subject for another thread.

Wow. That’s some spectacular ignorance there.

Here’s a link to just the wars currently being fought. How many involve “invasions” is open to interpretation, but there are several.


What exactly do you find mystifying about it? As near as I can remember (and I’m no expert,) it was a rather typical territorial dispute. Argentina claims the Falkland Islands, and so eventually invades in order to take them, the UK then decides to take them back.

FWIW, in 1982 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 502, demanding the withdrawal of Argentine forces from the Falklands shortly after the invasion.

Let me amend the statement as follows:

The US is the only country that has launched invasions after WWII for the express purpose of changing the government to one that is catered to US interests.

[ul]And we’re supposed to take your word for this? Then if this one is disproved you get to requalify, right?

:stuck_out_tongue: [sup]**Yeah, when at first you don’t succeed, try, try some more! **[/sup][/ul]

Wow. :rolleyes:

Learn some history, then come see us.

As opposed to, say, Russia invading for the express purpose of changing the government to one that is catered into US interests?

Several? Really? It’s pretty clear that nearly all of those are civil wars and are labeled as such. The only two that I see that might be international are Congo and Eritra/Ethiopia (though I thought things had calmed down there). The UN would really be a better source for this, since they have to decide whether a conflict is internal or international.

Prior to War on Iraq I, the UN Security Council had only authorized the use of force in Korea. Since then, the Security Council has been more willing to exercise its powers under Chapter VII. The Security Council has authorized the use of force to implement measures under Article 41 in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, and Sierra Leone. The Security Council has authorized members to take action of some sort in Somalia (1992), Yugoslavia (from 1992), Haiti (1994), Rwanda (1994), the Great Lakes region in Africa (1996), Albania (1997), the Central African Republic (1997), Sierra Leone (1997), Kosovo (1999), and East Timor (1999). These were all humanitarian interventions in internal conflicts.

As stated, the quote in the OP is incorrect. Perhaps she meant to say that “the US is the only country that has ever attempted to obtain UN approval for military action in an international conflict.” That is perhaps true, since all of the above conflicts, except Iraq-Kuwait, were non-international. One would also have to consider the question of which country proposed the relevant resolutions and whether the US can really be credited/blamed for the resolution.

While Urban Ranger clearly overstated the case, invasions of other countries are in fact, rare, and the United States is the only developed country that has invaded another country in modern times. (I admit it’s possible there’s an incident I’m forgetting.) I can’t understand why so many Americans feel their country is above reproach. In discourse, Americans hate the idea that there are people in the world who don’t love them, but they have no interest in conforming their foreign policy to fit this goal. Simply put, the United States does not behave like other countries in the world. It is the world’s sole superpower, and it does not hesitate to use that power to its advantage. Anyone who can’t see that has a huge blind spot.

I’m pretty sure Iraq invaded Kuwait, and technically, Saudi Arabia as well. I believe the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, as well. Just to name a few off the top of my head.

That’s an awfully broad brush you have there. Seeing as how this is GQ, and not GD or the Pit, the only thing factual in that paragraph is “It is the world’s sole superpower”. What I can’t understand, is why people cannot comprehend the simple ground rules for posting in this forum.

This is so spectacularly wrong that I’m surprised it was posted here in GQ. Just off the top of my head, you’re ignoring the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (which was preceded by the murder of the Afghan ruler by the KGB), Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975 (to put the kibosh on the burgeoning Marxist movement there after Portugal left), Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia (and subsequent installation of a VN-friendly government), and Tanzania’s invasion of Uganda (and ouster of Idi Amin). There is a reason for the phrase “puppet government,” and the US is certainly not the only country that has attempted to install them.

Iraq and the USSR are/were not considered “developed countries” (though admittedly the more archaic term “First World” might be more appropriate here).

peepthis, technically, he said “US interests.” That statment’s hard to argue with.

Okay, I’d say Chula’s list effectively kills the first part of the OP statement. The US was not primarily involved in several of those 90s adventures.

What about the second part? Are the others UNSC members’ hands dirty, too? (notice I didn’t say “as dirty;” let’s not go there.)

USSR: Afghanistan
China: Korea
France and UK: 1956 Suez


Soviet Russia not a developed nation? Come on.

1956 soviets vs hungary . regime change

1968 soviets vs checoslovakia (sp) regime change

1978 Vietnam vs Cambodia , regime change

1980 soviets vs Afganistan , regime change

1982 Israel vs Lebannon , clean house

1982 England vs Agentina , falklands


The Soviet Union (Russia) was not a developed country? The folks who were the only other superpower? The ones who beat us into space? Twice? The only other nation with space shuttle? The creators of the MIG-31 and the SU-37?

For the purpose of this discussion, what exactly constitutes a “developed” nation?

For clarification, the use of force was authorized in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, and Sierra Leone. The U.S. certainly had a at least a large role in all of those military actions. (I believe the British were the largest force in Sierra Leone, but the U.S. was the driving force behind the international response.)

I used “developed country” because that’s what’s now commonly used in place of “First World.” The USSR definitely was not considered First World - it was Second World, though for some reason that term was never popular. Perhaps a more accurate way to describe the category would be “liberal democracy.” (Of course, here “liberal” is used in the older sense.)

You shouldn’t take these categories so literally. We used to call “developed countries” “industrialized countries,” but obviously there is a lot of industry in poor countries. Technology doesn’t decide which category a country fits in. The developed vs. developing category is based on economic criteria, so admittedly it probably wasn’t the best choice.