Citing references may indeed be a US way of doing things. It provides support to the opinion raised. The real issue should be one of credibility of the cite sources. If one is continuously citing geocities.com or angelfire.com web sites, a credibility flag is raised (even if the site cited is owned by someone with some noteriety.)
OTOH, a cite reference to site that has a long history of striving for accuracy, fairness, objectivity, etc., provides support to an OPs opinion. Of course, media sites are often not accurate. However, and often for the sake of the debate, they offer background information to others and help to gain a better understanding of where the OP may be coming from in their opinion.
Don’t forget that your cite source you used as an example (the UN web site) has its own agenda as well. The site may have a higher level of credibility because of its parent owner, but it still may not be a definitive, objective and reliable source. The UN has its own political agenda, and that agenda is often manipulated by individual member states for their own ends as well.
While the SDMB has a world-wide membership, it is US-based and the majority of its membership are also US-based. It has an inherent bias towards a US system of cites, references and credibility. Those outside the US who gain a level of respect and credibility here probably do so by earning that respect under the US standard. Once there, offering an opinion/thread with insufficient citeable references may become acceptable because the OP has developed a perceived credibility in their own right on this board.
Perhaps one reason why you are often taken to task here Aldebaran is that you have yet to establish a personal credibility on this board. By refusing to “come to the party” using the US standard of citeable references this board uses, you now run into roadblocks. Is this fair? No. But it appears that’s the way it works here.