The UN may do good somewhere, but the case would take some convincing.
Its people are spread throughout the Third World. All told, they are probably not worse than the governments they are meant to help.
We often see UN vehicles and personnel in our neighborhood. They are here to help the Palestinians, but living in Israel because it is more desirable.
The UN reached the limit of its peacekeeping role in Korea, and has not returned to anything close. That exercise, which like later ventures in Vietnam and elsewhere, was managed by the US, and decorated as international with a smattering of other participants. Most of the fighters in behalf of South Korea were Koreans, with about half as many American as Korean troops, and other countries contributing about one-sixth of the American contingent. It was only because of a Soviet walk-out from the Security Council over the seating of the Republic of China that the US was able to manage a joint effort under the UN flag.
A vastly disproportionate amount of the UN's political efforts are directed at Israel and Palestinians, not justified by geography, population, or the nature of what occurs here and elsewhere.
UN personnel meant to be peacekeepers in Lebanon do no more than record what happens, and have not shows a willingness or capacity to enforce anything.
The publication of statistics may be the UN's most notable accomplishment. With the information, despite doubts about some of what they convey from national reports, we can assess how dismal much of the world remains after 60 years of UN efforts.
The UN's actions with respect to Palestinian refugees are a swindle to the refugees and others. They have maintained their status and dependence for decades, pass it on to unlimited generations of descendants, learn from UN schools about the fault of the Jews but not the fault of the Arabs who--with the exception of Jordan--do what they can to maintain the Palestinians as refugees and a demonstration of Israel's unmet responsibility to disappear.
If delegates voting in the various UN organizations think they are deciding about the justice of Palestinian or Israeli claims, the reality is comic opera. Israeli representatives have an opportunity to express themselves, but no chance to affect a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile, a host of clearly more damaging actions elsewhere get little or no hearing.
One can argue as to what has the force of international law, but again we are closer to comedy than a serious judicial process capable of enforcement.
More like an effective World Government is the United States.
Its advantage is a capacity to decide without pretending to represent everyone in the world. It sends troops who shed blood in order to accomplish their tasks, and its agencies distribute great amounts of aid, not noticeably less effective than the UN. Those wanting to credit various countries for UN aid must recognize that the US pays for much of it.
US efforts are far from perfect. Post-war Europe, Japan, and South Korea were positive accomplishments. The US did more harm than good in Vietnam and Iraq. Obama's efforts to democratize the Middle East contributed to the spread of barbarism. Afghanistan has been a waste of human and material resources, not clearly better than before the US involvement.
The European Union is closer to the UN than to a body that can accomplish anything worthwhile outside of Europe. There are too many governments involved for any resolute action.
The brouhaha involving the Israeli Prime Minister and the American administration is a product of the convoluted character of a national government that has become a world government.
True, it ain't quite there, but it does more serious international work than the UN or the EU.
Majorities of the US House of Representatives and Senate may be more concerned with their own careers than with international affairs, or even national policy. GW Bush and Barack Obama have shown themselves innocent of what moves things outside of the United States. The inner rooms of the Defense and State Departments have experts in just about everything, but executive and legislative branch politics reduce them to yespeople. Obama is trying to fight ISIS with troops from Muslim countries. Kerry is claiming success, but sources in the Pentagon are saying something else.
Nevertheless, from the perspective of Israel, the US is far ahead of any other world body in being able to decide and act with at least a bit of wisdom and fairness.
Israel's advantages begin with six million American Jews who are disproportionately informed and active in politics. They have something to do with US foreign policy devoting a disproportionate amount of energy and resources to Israel.
The structure of the US government lends itself to what Americans with excessive ethnocentrism may call "outside interference." The national legislature is independent of the executive. When one branch is inclined away from the interests of Israel (or any other country), the other branch provides an open playing field.
American rules of free expression lend themselves to all comers. Pressure groups are for sale to all who will pay, or to all who work with Americans who have created a group. AIPAC for example.
American wealth and power are part of the picture. They have been employed to shape the world since December 7, 1941, or a year earlier, when Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to trade destroyers for bases. American traditions of isolation appear in the Tea Party and among Republicans generally. Also in those organs, however, are Christian Conservatives with concerns for Israel. So far they have helped to balance Jews who lost their sense of direction, and see Palestinians when they look for the moral high ground.
There is no doubt which is the senior partner in the uneasy relationship between the US and Israel, but the dependence is not entirely one-sided. While some see Israel as the biggest disturbance for pax Americana, the reality is closer to Israel being an outpost of civilization and stability in a region on the cusp of volatility and violence. American pressure may keep Israel within bounds of moderation, or it may be Jewish good sense that does the work. We can argue the point without being certain as to which element kept Israel from destroying more of Lebanon's infrastructure in 2006, laying greater waste to Gaza in 2014, or using its arsenal to deal directly with Iran whose leaders have worked assiduously toward nuclear weapons and means of delivery, and miss no opportunity to call for Israel's liquidation.
It'll take a while to know the outcome of the latest Bibi-Barack set-to. There is widespread media criticism of the Prime Minister's timing and style. A common theme is that his overt cooperation with Congressional Republicans is an insult to the American President, with inevitable costs for Israel among Obama, his supporters, and Americans generally who see the presidency as an icon that should be honored.
Israel Hayom is a prominent exception in focusing its criticism on Barack Obama.
The news pages of Ha'aretz are predictably critical of Netanyahu, but the cartoonist has poked at Obama. The caption explaining his barring the door is "High alert."
Those who see this as essentially personal have not paid attention to the substance of Netanyahu's claims about the dangers of a nuclear Iran, or Obama's insistence on a political solution that does not seem to be coming.
If all is fair in national defense, then Bibi has a case in siding with the Republicans in Congress against an administration that has been unreliable on a matter of vital importance to Israel.
National interests may come to override personal feelings, with some overlay of pique. When push comes to shove, we can hope that the White House, State Department, and US military do not want Israel feeling that its survival depends only on itself.