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What can the United Nations do?

When interviewed by veteran journalist Andrea Mitchell this week, Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton made it clear that she thought the refugees streaming out of Syria constituted a world problem requiring intense diplomacy in the U.N. and the U.N. Security Council with the U.S. taking the lead.  People have to be helped to get to safe places and the international community must try to restore peace in the country itself. It should not just be Europe and the US which should attempt to bring a solution to the conflict, but the broader Middle East and Asia had to be involved too. Questioned by Mitchell,  Clinton said that it wasn’t just US policy which had failed but world policy.

One hundred and ninety three states are represented in the U.N. which is the supreme world forum for discussing issues facing the world.  Winston Churchill famously said “Meet­ing jaw to jaw is bet­ter than war.”  and ideally a diplomatic solution to the Syrian civil war could be negotiated in a civilized fashion so that peace can be restored and maintained with the help of U.N. peacekeeping forces. However, one wonders how an ISIS delegation could ever be brought to the negotiating table, or for that matter Russia made to withdraw their support from Syrian President Assad who obviously has no qualms in bombing and torturing civilians in his own country.   The Russian Federation with their right of veto in the U.N. Security Council have been thwarting efforts by the international community to bring the Syrian dictator to heel for years.  The UN developed a six point action plan for Syria in June 2012 but the Security Council failed to adopt the resolution due to China and the Russians voting against it.  In the meantime desperate civilians are running to wherever they can in order to find safety.  They cannot wait to be overwhelmed by ISIS or for the UN to adopt a resolution which may not even be worth the paper it is written on.

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