Free Terrorism Essays: We Need the United Nations

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We Need the United Nations in Our War Against Terror

The United Nations has often been criticized, but events after the terrorist attack of September 11 show how essential it is to international peace and security. The United Nations Security Council, in particular, has proved its value in the present crisis.

To combat terrorism, and specifically Osama bin Laden's network and the governments of Iran, Iraq, North Korea and other countries, a broad and diverse coalition is necessary. President Bush quickly realized that the active cooperation of other countries, including Muslim countries, was essential to the intelligence and policy work needed to find terrorists and destroy their networks. The support of these countries was also important to avoid a severe political backlash against the use of military force in Afghanistan.

To secure such cooperation and support, country-by-country negotiations were necessary, but they were not sufficient. The campaign against terrorism needed to be rendered legitimate in the eyes of the world - particularly in countries whose governments and people are suspicious of the United States. Unilateral American action could have too easily been portrayed as lashing-out by the powerful "hegemon" at the expense of the poor and the weak.

To be legitimate, action had to be authorized collectively, in a public forum representing the whole world. No such forum exists except the Security Council of the United Nations. Its fifteen members currently include three Muslim countries - Bangladesh, Mali, and Tunisia. Hence unanimous resolutions by the Security Council belie the claim that efforts against terrorism are "anti-Muslim."

The Security Council has passed two unanimous resolutions on terrorism since September 11. Meeting in New York the very next day, it adopted Resolution 1368, which unequivocally condemned the terrorist attacks on the United States, and called on the international community to redouble its "efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts." Resolution 1368 also referred to the "inherent right of individual or collective self-defense," in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. In effect, it declared that military action by the United States against those responsible for the attacks would be lawful.

Last Friday, September 28, the Security Council passed a more specific and equally far-reaching resolution, Resolution 1373. In this resolution it acted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which gives the Security Council authority to order states to carry out "the measures decided upon by the Security Council.

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