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Is it Time the UN Leaves New York?


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#1    Leonardo

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 08:59 AM

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Iran has accused the US of acting illegally by refusing a visa to the new Iranian envoy to the UN in New York.

Iran's UN mission spokesman Hamid Babaei called the decision to bar Hamid Aboutalebi "regrettable", but did not specify any action Tehran might take.

The US accuses Mr Aboutalebi of links to the group that seized the US embassy in 1979, an incident that soured ties between the two countries for decades.

Mr Aboutalebi says he only acted as a translator for the group.

Congress passed a bill last week that would allow the US to refuse an ambassadorial selection if the candidate posed a security risk.

source

This type of issue will only become more common, as US foreign policy and intervention ratchets up the tension between the US and other nations. So, is the US becoming unviable as a place in which to locate an organisation dedicated to world diplomacy?

The US Congress appears to be caught between US isolationism and engagement with the rest of the world, with the former ruling the roost at present.

While many Americans might indeed welcome any decision to relocate the UN's headquarters, such a move would deal a severe blow to the US's prestige, and thus it's capacity to influence other nations via diplomacy. This prestige is something many other nations would covet and their hosting of the UN's headquarters at the US's expense would be a major coup.

This is not to say such a move is very likely, and this latest spat will certainly ease with time, but the US Congress is doing itself no international favours with it's "patriotism", designed purely for domestic consumption.

Edited by Leonardo, 12 April 2014 - 09:01 AM.

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#2    Norbert Dentressangle

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 09:05 AM

Well, its sole purpose for at least the last 20 years has been merely to rubber-stamp the wishes of the US, hasn't it, kind of like the Soviet Parliament under the USSR. (And of course, if it doesn't agree to the US doing what it wants, then they just completely ignore it.) How it could possibly be impartial and neutral when it depends on the co-operation of the US, i really can't see.
Perhaps Vatican City might be a good location for it, or San Marino or Andorra?

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#3    Leonardo

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 09:21 AM

The Manhatten land on which the UN is headquartered is considered extra-territorial, so in theory the US should not be allowed to influence who nations assign as delegates. Obviously, practice works slightly differently.

And, yes, there is the preception that the UN is beholden to the US. I'm not sure how accurate that perception is, but there is no doubt the US wields great influence there - and in no little measure simply by being the host nation.

I agree that any potential new host nation should not be a 'world-mover', else we would likely see a similar situtation develop. But just how feasible is it for the UN to 'up sticks' and relocate?

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#4    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 09:44 AM

What about one of those decommissioned rigs (Sealandia?) tht'd be a good Bond villain lair UN headquarters.

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#5    Leonardo

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 01:01 PM

View PostSir Wearer of Hats, on 12 April 2014 - 09:44 AM, said:

What about one of those decommissioned rigs (Sealandia?) tht'd be a good Bond villain lair UN headquarters.

A bit 'downmarket' for all the "high-class" :rolleyes:  diplomats and their entourages, don't you think, SWoH?

*not that I disagree with you, necessarily*

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#6    Thorvir Hrothgaard

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 01:06 PM

Yes.  It's nothing more than a corrupt, useless organization that allows terrorists to run the show.  It hasn't been relevant since the early 1950s.  The US should get out of it, since the UN's interests and the US's interests don't coincide anymore.  Without the US, and the money from the US, it will wither and die as it deserves to.

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#7    Leonardo

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 01:13 PM

View PostHida Akechi, on 12 April 2014 - 01:06 PM, said:

Yes.  It's nothing more than a corrupt, useless organization that allows terrorists to run the show.  It hasn't been relevant since the early 1950s.  The US should get out of it, since the UN's interests and the US's interests don't coincide anymore.  Without the US, and the money from the US, it will wither and die as it deserves to.

Be careful what you ask for, HA.

The grass isn't always greener and you'd be surprised at how much protection for the 'weaker nations' the UN has actually provided against deprivations by the more powerful.

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#8    Norbert Dentressangle

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 01:20 PM

View PostHida Akechi, on 12 April 2014 - 01:06 PM, said:

Yes.  It's nothing more than a corrupt, useless organization that allows terrorists to run the show.  It hasn't been relevant since the early 1950s.  The US should get out of it, since the UN's interests and the US's interests don't coincide anymore.  

you mean by not automatically rubber-stamping any Military action the US wants to take against anywhere that doesn't do what the US wants it to? Not, as I remarked above, that that makes the slightest difference to whether the US goes ahead & does it, of course; that all depends on how strong the President is, it wasn't the UN that forestalled Military intervention in Syria, it was because everyone saw through Obama as being full of bluster.

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#9    Jeremiah65

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 01:22 PM

It should be located in Geneva.  The fact it is on "non neutral" territory is telling of a certain amount of bias.

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#10    and then

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 02:44 PM

The UN should have multiple "homes" around the world.  As a truly international body it could change locations every two years and the host country could pay for the privilege by accommodating the members and their entourages.  This would be fair and it would lead to a greater belief in impartiality.  Or they could just vacate the property they're on now and choose another spot.  Either way the budget should be reduced dramatically and the living expenses of the delegates should be greatly curtailed.

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#11    Leonardo

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 04:14 PM

View Postand then, on 12 April 2014 - 02:44 PM, said:

The UN should have multiple "homes" around the world.  As a truly international body it could change locations every two years and the host country could pay for the privilege by accommodating the members and their entourages.  This would be fair and it would lead to a greater belief in impartiality.  Or they could just vacate the property they're on now and choose another spot.  Either way the budget should be reduced dramatically and the living expenses of the delegates should be greatly curtailed.

Your first recommendation would seem to conflict quite markedly with your last.

How would the UN be able to reduce it's budget for operating a headquarters if expected to relocate at regular intervals?

Switzerland would be a good location, as Jeremiah suggests. Canada or Denmark would also be suitable, even if they're not "neutral" nations.

Edited by Leonardo, 12 April 2014 - 04:18 PM.

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#12    and then

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 04:25 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 12 April 2014 - 04:14 PM, said:

Your first recommendation would seem to conflict quite markedly with your last.

How would the UN be able to reduce it's budget for operating a headquarters if expected to relocate at regular intervals?

Switzerland would be a good location, as Jeremiah suggests. Canada or Denmark would also be suitable, even if they're not "neutral" nations.
Not at all.  The host countries would pay.  The UN's budget could be used only for the wonderful projects they want to transform the planet with :)
To be more specific, the records and IT infrastructure would be in the cloud and only the physical facilities - the meeting rooms and staff residences - would need to be provided.  No reason these should be lavish. The locations could be matched to whoever is the president that year.

Edited by and then, 12 April 2014 - 04:28 PM.

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#13    Leonardo

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 04:29 PM

View Postand then, on 12 April 2014 - 04:25 PM, said:

Not at all.  The host countries would pay.  The UN's budget could be used only for the wonderful projects they want to transform the planet with :)

Why?

The US does not carry the costs of the current UN headquarters. Why would any other potential host nation?

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. - Charlie Brown

"It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them."  - J. Robert Oppenheimer; Scientific Director; The Manhattan Project

"talking bull**** is not a victimless crime" - Marina Hyde, author.

#14    questionmark

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 04:31 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 12 April 2014 - 04:29 PM, said:

Why?

The US does not carry the costs of the current UN headquarters. Why would any other potential host nation?

In fact, mostly it does not even pay its share for the costs either....

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#15    and then

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 04:56 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 12 April 2014 - 04:29 PM, said:

Why?

The US does not carry the costs of the current UN headquarters. Why would any other potential host nation?
I was unaware of that little factoid.  Maybe the gift of some of the most expensive property in the nation was deemed enough?  Anyway, though I do not want the US to even be part of the UN I still made the suggestion not to bash it but to try to mend the problem of appearances.  If all the nations had an opportunity to host then it would be symbolic of greater equality, no?  And while I'm not aware of the actual numbers I suspect that if the US didn't pay, this institution would have closed doors a LONG time ago.

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