Israeli crisis a problem for U.N.

Jen Steer

Funny things seem to happen when world leaders get together. Like the time President Bush called the situation in the Middle East “bullshit” while he was speaking candidly with Tony Blair. Or even the time Bush tried to playfully rub the shoulders of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the only female leader of a G-8 nation. Those crazy heads of state. What are they going to do next?

Well, it sure was not fun and games when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan met to discuss the current situation along the Israel-Lebanon border. With the serious threat of a full-blown war between Israel and the Hezbollah, the only semi-funny thing was hearing Olmert describe a U.N. resolution as “not a smorgasbord.” I have no idea what he meant by that.

The news conference with Annan and Olmert was more than just an opportunity for the two to disagree; it also pointed out the flaws in the United Nations as a whole.

Annan was in Israel last week, touring parts of both countries that had been devastated by fighting. While meeting with the Israeli prime minister, he requested Israel lift its blockade on Lebanon and withdraw troops from the southern parts of Lebanon, according to Aug. 30 edition of The New York Times.

Olmert, of course, completely shut the Secretary General down. No one can truly expect him to just allow the Hezbollah to continue to receive supplies that will just prolong its attacks on Israel. The only thing Annan and Olmert were able to agree on is that they both called for the release of the two Israeli soldiers whose kidnaping triggered the 34-day war, explained on Aug. 30.

It appears Annan should work on his persuasive speaking skills because nothing he says seems to be helping. By rejecting Annan’s numerous pleas, Olmert was just proving, once again, that the United Nations needs a serious revamping.

It has been a while since Annan was really in control of a situation. As long as the United States wants to play the role of global police, the United Nations will have no role in the international community. Since our country invaded Iraq without the United Nation’s approval, the United Nations has yet to be effective.

And now, given the situation in the Middle East, the United Nations will continue to lose credibility. No longer does the world look to the United Nations for guidance in times of crisis; instead, its primary representative is snubbed.

While the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah is on the other side of the globe, its effects will still be felt here. Changes must be made to the current setup of the United Nations, not just so these current issues can be dealt with, but so future problems don’t develop.

For the United Nations to have any true power, the United States might need to back up and allow room for the United Nations to have a say in international matters. After all, isn’t that what the United Nations is supposed to do in the first place?

Jen Steer is a junior broadcast news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].