A political analyst says that the UN disproportionately misrepresents its member states because the “top one percent” can exercise veto power over the majority opposition.
Press TV has conducted an exclusive interview with Nader Mokhtari, columnist and commentator, to further discuss the issue.
The following is a transcript of the interview.
Press TV: 50 countries, actually, voted against the United States with israel. The United States wanted to control and regulate the use of cluster bombs. But the main part of the international community has now said No that it needs to be banned. How significant is this in your perspective?
Mokhtari: It’s significant that the attitudes are changing and that there is no longer the servitude and lip service to the United States. But how relevant it is at the end of the day is the question.
Press TV: Ok, how relevant is it?
Mokhtari: It’s not very relevant because the military industrial complex within the United States and Britain, also, do go on producing these weapons. They are highly effective weapons in a theater of war against armor, against personnel.
Also, it is well known that they are designed as deadly weapons to cause a legacy afterwards. So, it serves the purpose of the warring factions. Now we talk about the United States and Britain, for instance in the 2006 war in Lebanon I saw the UK made cluster bombs for the first time under the slung under the israeli F-16s going into Lebanon, and because I recognize the weapon, I know the weapon, I know it straight away. And I thought since when has Britain been supplying to israel?
But the problem is that we’re not just talking about Britain and the United States, Russia is another major producer of cluster munitions. And we don’t see the Russians particularly forthcoming when it comes to this particular weapon.
It’s a long road. It’s a bit like land mines. It’s a process of attrition until we get there. But for as long as it serves a purpose, and it has been useful in the theater of war, it would be the weapon of choice.
Press TV: Interestingly enough you talked about the UK but, actually, the UK was not on the side of the US with this. But it was China, it was Russia, it was israel, these [countries] worked together in trying to get them regulated. Let’s look at this whole situation in general.
A country like the United States, why would they prefer to try to get laws implemented or regulated instead of totally banning them?
Mokhtari: Because of the type of warfare they’re witnessing. They’re not witnessing the type of airpower that they have done in the past: fighter pilots and jets going at each other. They’re witnessing human wave tactics, and they’re witnessing a lot of armor on the ground – a bit like Libya. And it is much, much easier to drop a couple of 500 pound clusters and take those out than to spend the money to try and target each individual or each piece of armor or each armored vehicle. So, it just goes along nicely with their doctrine.
Press TV: Looking at some of the footage that was just being shown, we’re sitting here in Tehran and, of course, Iran was a victim of the use of chemical weapons. It’s interesting what [our other guest] Richard Becker has said about the WMDs, that the war was started because of alleged WMDs, but that actually the United States is the biggest producer and user of WMDs.
As the world seems to be changing, that people are hopefully coming to different levels of consciousness, do you think that more pressure will be put on the United States? And do you think that they will be held more accountable for not only what is happening now but for events such as in the past, one of them perhaps supplying Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein and, of course, the use of these weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Mokhtari: Yes, indeed. We’re coming to quite a curious time. What happens is that countries are being attacked that do not have WMDs, whereas, countries that do posses WMDs are being allowed to attack those countries. So, this is all skewed.
The socially conscious are joining up using their social networking across the world, and they are joining hands, and they are becoming aware of each other’s suffering. And that is one side of the equation.
But it’s the people’s staying power at the end of the day that is telling. One problem that the US has at the moment, it’s been highlighted, is that the United States population, the society alleges that one percent of the population controls 99 percent of the wealth.
And a similar setup exists in the United Nations where you do have countries which are the biggest offenders in terms of using weapons of mass destruction and in terms of supplying them to dictators like Saddam Hussein, and they have the veto power. So, it is literally impossible to act against them.
How far can you get? You can refer the United States or Russia or China to the UN Security Council, but they can veto the motion therein themselves. And this makes it a complete mockery of the world body in which 190 countries can say one thing and one country with the right of veto can say you can’t match what I say.
The problem at the core is a lack of belief in the United Nations system. You can legislate all you want but at the end of the day you have to be able to have executive powers, and the world body does not have executive powers.
Press TV: How do you see it right now with what [our other guest] Mr. Becker talked about, this military machine? It is interesting that the United States has used WMDs – probably the most – and is portrayed to be the one that is against the usage of it. And we know that the media has to play a very, very strong role in this, in propelling this type of image.
And on the other side of the coin, there are countries that, perhaps, have not used them but are trying to be portrayed as the boogeyman. Now, at this point, as we talked about a higher consciousness on the horizon in the world, what do you see would be the role of the alternative media in spreading the truth, for example like about cluster bombs and so many other aspects of what’s being used?
Mokhtari: I think the use or role of alternative media is absolutely crucial. And this is why some of the alternative media have been blacked out in the West, because they do tend to give a flipside of the news to the people.
The problem we have is corporate media. Corporate media contains well paid jobs and it’s a big magnet to the youth who want to be recognized, who want to be known, who want to make their way in the world. But at the same time, they do tend to betray the very people who are the basis for their education, whose taxes are the very basis for their education.
Social networking, blogs and such like are crucial to add weight to people’s movements. And, hopefully, what Mr. Becker says comes true.
Again, all social movements in history have lacked executive power. They have to be able to gather enough force to be able to force their governments to retract from their practices. And that is the next challenge in the way of the 99 percent in the United States or anywhere else in the globe.
Press TV: Well, a story we’re talking about today – the banning of these cluster bombs – as far as the main media getting the play on time a story like this, if it’s not getting the top play in the news, isn’t it very difficult though for the people to be really informed?
Mokhtari: This is it. That’s why activists play such a big role in this because they have a job of informing the people about the real issues and about the real threats around the globe. As you said earlier, everything’s skewed.