The United States, Britain and France have taken action in performing a bombing spree on Libya in order to enforce a United Nations Security Council vote last week to implement a no-fly zone over Libya. The intent of the UN imposed no-fly zone was to protect Libyan rebels from air attacks by Dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s forces. Although the UN Security Council voted 10-0 in favor of enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, 5 members of the council abstained from voting. Two of the nations that abstained from voting, China and Russia, have veto power in the Security Council, and could have prevented the UN from imposing the no-fly zone by casting a “Nay” vote. Considering 5 member nations, including the 2 with veto power, abstained from voting on this action, the United Nations has once again shown the world how irrelevant its role in global policy really is.
The United Nations was created in 1945 for the purpose of assuring international law enforcement, providing international security, upholding human rights, and most importantly, preventing war. The organization is comprised of 5 different organs, and the Security Council is the only organ of the UN that has the power to make binding decisions that member nations agree to carry out (the other 4 organs that make up the UN only have the ability to make recommendations). The countries who voted in favor of the no-fly zone over Libya decided someone was obligated to use force against Gaddafi and his supporters due to the fact UNSC decisions must be carried out. Although 10 member nations of the UNSC voted in favor of the no-fly zone, only the US, France and Britain have taken action in enforcing the measure at the UN’s demand. It appears the other 7 member nations of the Security Council who voted in favor of the no-fly zone do not want to get their hands dirty in Libya or bear the financial costs associated with using force.
I am not sure about Britain or France, but according to the law of the United States, the US may only get involved militarily in a foreign nation after first passing through the Congress and then going to the President. The US executive branch and military do not have the authority to use force against another nation due to a resolution from any sort of governing body, such as the UN, other than the US Congress. If the federal government is going to act outside the confines of the Constitution by using force without passing a resolution through Congress and do so without the help of the majority of members of the UN, what is the purpose of the United State’s involvement in the UN at all? The United States is the top financial contributor to the UN, providing 22% of their overall funding ($598 million in 2009 alone), with all other member nations contributing significantly less. Considering the US is carrying out the situation in Libya at the UN’s request with help from only France and Britain, the United State’s involvement in the UN is worthless. As lawmakers begin to look for areas to cut wasteful spending in an attempt to fix the massive budgetary problems facing the US, federal funding to the UN would be a great place to start!