Over seven decades, the United Nations has forged a system of international rules and norms that is better, stronger and more stable than anything that came before it.
“It is this international order that has underwritten unparalleled advances in human liberty and prosperity,” said President Barack Obama in his remarks to the United Nations General Assembly on September 28th. However, some nations see fit to contravene international law. They justify their behavior by claiming that the UN ideals are unachievable, antiquated. In their view, order must be maintained by force if necessary. The rights of individuals are irrelevant.
But “history shows that regimes who fear their own people will eventually crumble, but strong institutions built on the consent of the governed endure long after any one individual is gone,” said President Obama.
Indeed, the international community must improve its collective capacity to establish security where order has broken down, and to support those who seek a just and lasting peace. Together, we must protect the powerless, said President Obama. But we can do so much more:
“Helping people who have been pushed to the margins of our world is not mere charity, it is a matter of collective security. And the purpose of this institution is not merely to avoid conflict, it is to galvanize the collective action that makes life better on this planet.”
Working together, we can roll back preventable disease and end the scourge of HIV/AIDS. We can eliminate pandemics that recognize no borders, eradicate extreme poverty, erase barriers to opportunity.
And we must pursue inclusive democracy, because countries are stronger when people govern themselves.
“History is littered with the failure of false prophets and fallen empires who believed that might always makes right,” said President Obama. “But we are called upon to offer a different type of leadership -- leadership strong enough to recognize that nations share common interests and people share a common humanity.”
We must call on member states to work together more closely under the UN framework. All members should support the on-going efforts of the special envoys to forge political consensus, buttress essential peacekeeping endeavors, and utilize the full-range of conflict prevention tools. Working together we can assure a brighter and more peaceful future for our world.