The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Lisa Frankenstein was released to theaters Feb. 9th and was released to digital platforms Feb. 27.
"Lisa Frankenstein" Review
February 29, 2024
The program for SMU Lyric Theatres performance of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Dallas Texas, Sunday February 18, 2024
Love, loss and laughter
February 27, 2024

Backing the blue, globally

SMUdinista!
 Backing the blue, globally
Backing the blue, globally

Backing the blue, globally

The United Nations seems to be held in rather low esteem by certain elements in the United States, the very country that gave the organization a home in New York City in 1948.

President Bush seems to believe that if the United Nations does not reflect his beliefs on Iraq, it will lose its “relevance,” becoming nothing but a “debating society” (his words). Elements on the American far right wing have been voicing venom at the United Nations for decades, with blowhard commentators mocking the organization’s alleged ineffectuality, and reactionary organizations calling for American departure from the community of nations.

A few years ago, large signs with the ominous-looking caption “U.N. Troops in Texas?” and some contact information stood in a field to the south of Dallas, clearly visible on the highway to Austin. This was most likely the work of someone in the far right “militia” circles, who have a history of promoting paranoid conspiracy theories in which the United Nations plays a prominent role.

The Christian right takes a similar attitude, painting the United Nations as some sort of apocalyptic harbinger of doom, doing the bidding of the ultimate evil in the universe. Books, pamphlets, broadcasts, videos and, recently, feature films all send home the same message: The United Nations is no less than Satan’s army on Earth.

Some years ago, an American serviceman became a folk hero of the far right by refusing to serve under U.N. auspices or wear the blue headgear of international peacekeepers. This all sounds ridiculous, but that’s no obstacle to the anti-U.N. elements in America.

It is both embarrassing and dangerous that such sentiments hold sway over such a large number of Americans, especially today. Contrary to the rhetoric pumped out by the professional fear mongers, the United Nations stands alone as a force for genuine good on this planet, bringing measures of hope where previously none existed. At the end of 2002, there were 39,636 U.N. peacekeepers (military and civilian personnel) serving in 13 trouble spots around the world. These men and women put themselves at great risk in order to prevent the escalation of heinous conflicts, and 1,778 have been killed in the line of duty since 1948.

On the humanitarian front, it’s hard to find an area the United Nations is not heavily involved in. The U.N. High Commission on Refugees has helped roughly 50 million displaced people restart their lives, and is currently serving about 19.8 million. The United Nations works to promote and protect human rights around the world. Perhaps most critically, the U.N.’s Economic and Social Development Council assists the underdeveloped world with overcoming its myriad problems. It’s disturbing to consider the world without the efforts of the United Nations, but as the body has only existed since 1948, it is easy to get an idea.

Before the establishment of the United Nations, the world obeyed what has been called “the law of the jungle.” The grabbing hands grabbed all they could of the world’s wealth and resources, alliances shifted on a whim, and woe to anyone moved by patriotic or nationalistic fervor to go to war for the interests of his or her ruler.

Equally unlucky were those innocents caught up in such power struggles, as they could expect no help in the form of emergency supply deliveries, refugee aid or peacekeepers to protect them from harm. This state of affairs stretched, essentially, from the beginnings of human history until reaching its nightmarish peak with two World Wars.

In 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire (or, more specifically, its leaders) decided, without a thought to the consequences, that it was necessary to fight a war against the terrorism that was emanating from the countries to the south. Much of the world was dragged into an abyss of death and destruction as a result.

In the 1930s, the rise of Fascism, aided and abetted by big business, occurred as it was discovered that war production could generate tremendous profits. A second conflagration erupted, this one truly global, and when it was all over the governments of the world knew that, with the advent of nuclear weapons, something had to be done.

Fifty-five years ago, something was done, and it’s been the only thing holding the world together since then, through an absurd Cold War and into a new, still undefined era.

Albert Einstein was very wise when he observed that “peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved through understanding.” Nothing other than the United Nations is prepared to even try to bring about this understanding; indeed, it’s the United Nation’s reason for existence in the first place.

We in the United States and around the world would do well to remember this. After all, to quote the United Nation’s own slogan, “It’s your world.”

More to Discover