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UN Names N. Korea Chair of Disarmament Committee 182

Posted by timothy
from the team-america-world-police-was-a-documentary dept.
LibRT writes "The irony-challenged folks at the UN have named North Korea chair of the Conference on Disarmament, which is heavily focused on the prevention of a nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament. The Canadian government has boycotted the convention, calling it an 'absurd' turn of events: 'North Korea is simply not a credible chair of a disarmament body. The fact that it gets a turn chairing a United Nations committee focused on disarmament is unacceptable, given the North Korean regime's efforts in the exact opposite direction.'" Note that Libya was once president of the UN's Human Rights Commission, and only recently removed from its successor in interest, the Human Rights Council.
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UN Names N. Korea Chair of Disarmament Committee

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  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday July 11, 2011 @06:24PM (#36727970) Journal

    In other news, UN Secretary General as quoted today as saying "The reprsentative from Burundi owes me 10 euros", followed by laughter broken up with occasional phrases like "suck it", "who's your daddy", and various other remarks.

  • by poity (465672) on Monday July 11, 2011 @06:34PM (#36728056)

    a little preemptive reward to push them in the right direction maybe? We know it worked out last time.

  • by Villain (19081) on Monday July 11, 2011 @06:41PM (#36728122)

    If you bothered to RTFA you'd realize that the chair rotates among all the nations and North Korea will only hold it until August 19th.

    • The objection is based on the idea that DPRK should specifically be excluded from what would otherwise be a routine rotation through the member states for chairmanship of the committee, because of its explicit goals toward proliferation. From a diplomatic perspective, being permitted to participate in the rotation is a reward for DPRK's bad behavior.

      A lot of times, to regular joes, diplomatic actions bear little connection to how people behave in reality. Heads of state become unduly offended by perceived

      • by blair1q (305137) on Monday July 11, 2011 @07:04PM (#36728304) Journal

        What are the chair's powers?

        I'm guessing it's not much of a perk, and to snub them would be to give them reason to quit altogether.

        • by stinerman (812158)

          I wouldn't loose too much sleep if N. Korea was no longer in the UN.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I wouldn't loose too much sleep if N. Korea was no longer in the UN.

            I wouldn't tight too much sleep either.

          • I wouldn't loose too much sleep if N. Korea was no longer in the UN.

            (It is lose, not loose). How is shunning the country going to help to encourage them to become better members of the world community? If you stop listening to any group of people then it causes resentment to fester. This is never a good thing at any time, but especially when talking about nuclear weapons.

            North Korea should have a role in a dispute of which they are part, especially at a time when the country is falling into disarray need to be given shown the path of enlightenment(1). The alternative is to

            • How is shunning the country going to help to encourage them to become better members of the world community? If you stop listening to any group of people then it causes resentment to fester.

              I'd feel better about that if thought the DPRK's ambassador represented a people instead of just an illegitimate government. I don't have a lot of hope for the DPRK peacefully reforming. I'd like to be proven wrong, mind.

            • I wouldn't loose too much sleep if N. Korea was no longer in the UN.

              (It is lose, not loose). How is shunning the country going to help to encourage them to become better members of the world community? If you stop listening to any group of people then it causes resentment to fester. This is never a good thing at any time, but especially when talking about nuclear weapons.

              North Korea should have a role in a dispute of which they are part, especially at a time when the country is falling into disarray need to be given shown the path of enlightenment(1). The alternative is to have a country with nothing to lose by going to war.

              ----------
              (1) Yes, I know that sounds a bit hippie!

              It sounds a lot hippie.

              How is it helping to never have any consequences when a nation deliberately, repeatedly and blatantly violates everything the UN stands for? It is a slave state, where the population is callously used up as so many food powered robot slaves. Those born with disabilities are still put to work in the fields most suited them, guinea pigs in testing the lethality of their chemical weapons research program. That's right, an escaped military officer explained how watching a fellow officer s

        • by JordanL (886154)
          Why would you be concerned about them "quitting"? That would explicitly make a statement that continued membership masks: that they have no interest in participating in any kind of global governance, oversight, or community, and see the world as divided into two sections: those that are theirs, and those that are inferior.

          So again, why would DPRK quitting the UN be a bad thing?
          • by blair1q (305137) on Monday July 11, 2011 @07:41PM (#36728606) Journal

            As long as we're not shooting them, anything we can do diplomatically to soften them up is a good thing.

            Not having them as participants in the disarmament talks means they have no reason even to hear what we say about it.

            Not having them in the UN means they have no choice but to continue to treat the entire world as their enemy.

            Letting them have participation in democratic institutions will maybe open their eyes to their own hypocrisy, a little bit every day.

            • by Nutria (679911)

              As long as we're not shooting them, anything we can do diplomatically to soften them up is a good thing.

              Do you really, *actually* believe that 20 years of diplomacy has softened them up at *all*?

              Not having them in the UN means they have no choice but to continue to treat the entire world as their enemy.

              Haven't you been paying attention for the past 2 decades?

              They don't want talks w/ the UN. They want bi-lateral talks w/ the US.

              Letting them have participation in democratic institutions will maybe open their eyes to their own hypocrisy, a little bit every day.

              Bwah HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

              • by Kagura (843695)
                North Korea had their best shot in the 90's with the so-called Agreed Framework [wikipedia.org]. What's interesting is that it broke down when the U.S. accused them of having a clandestine uranium enrichment program. And that one sentence is all we still know today publicly about it.
                • We now know that they actually *do* have a uranium enrichment program, and it isn't clandestine any more. I don't know if they had it at the time of the agreement failure.
        • A chair's powers mainly involve "keeping an ass from hitting the ground".

          Somehow that almost seems appropriate.

      • For instance, Germany often is heard talking about human rights. Germany! But what country can? Name a single one that does not have a laundry list of human rights abuses to its name. Probably even south-sudan, the newest country, already has a past soaked in blood. Oh it has? Well that proves it then.

        The US, the country with the biggest arms budget, holding the chair for disarmerment?

        The chair rotation happens precisely for this reason, to allow those who have not rewritten history to make themselve look P

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          I agree with you up to a point. Germany has recognised how bad things went for them and written very strong laws to prevent it ever happening again. I think it is fair for Germany to accuse others of human rights violations because they got their own house in order. The US is in a worse position because Guantanamo is still in use.

        • I think the point is that most of those other countries have learned from past mistakes. How about we don't have countries that are actively engaged in egregious human rights violations on the human rights commission. Unfortunately the nuclear weapon genie is out of the bottle and can't be put back in. As much as people like like to beat on the US for our use of nuclear weapons or our massive stockpiles (we probably don't need North Dakota being a world nuclear super power) the simple fact is as long as som
        • The US, the country with the biggest arms budget, holding the chair for disarmerment?

          While I agree with the rest of your post, I think it's worth pointing out that, to my knowledge, the US also has the second most experience with nuclear disarmament after the Soviet Union/USSR.

    • Ah, well, that makes it all good. Nothing wrong with a state, that is arming itself with illegal nuclear weapons as fast as it possibly can, heading the Disarmament Committee as long as it's their *turn*.

      It's just life at the UN, nothing to see here...

      • by tragedy (27079)

        The problem is, they're only "illegal" because the UN says so. There is no international law except for that which nations agree on through organizations like the UN. So, all the posters who just want North Korea out of the UN don't seem to quite grasp what that would mean. As for North Korea being head of this committee, can anyone tell me if the US, France, UK, Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa (while it had nukes), China, USSR/Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan/Ukraine have ever headed it? With the exceptions

        • The problem is, they're only "illegal" because the UN says so.

          No, they're illegal because North Korea voluntarily signed a treaty making them illegal.

          There is no international law except for that which nations agree on through organizations like the UN.

          Wrong! International law has been established by treaties long before there were organizations like the UN. And North Korea broke their treaty, voluntarily entered into.

          can anyone tell me if the US, France, UK, Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa (while i

          • by tragedy (27079)

            If a nation decides not to honor a treaty, then they don't honor the treaty. It's not illegal for them to do so. In the case of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, article X allows for a country to withdraw from the treaty. What set of laws are you referring to under which breaking the treaty is "illegal"? A treaty between just two nations doesn't really count as "international law" since it's not really binding on anyone except those two nations (and whether it's really binding to those nations is a litt

            • I see. So we shouldn't get upset by it. After all, it's just a piece of paper.

              • by tragedy (27079)

                I never said anything about not getting upset about it, just that there isn't really any international law. The closest we can come is organizations like the UN. Either that or total anarchy. Don't try to misconstrue what I'm saying as support for North Korea gaining nuclear weapons. That's _not_ what I was saying. All I was saying is that you can't have it both ways. You can't declare that actions like developing nuclear weapons are "illegal" while simultaneously questioning the legitimacy of international

    • by Xest (935314)

      Yep, I find it incredible how quick people are to bash the UN when it's actually upholding a principle that most Slashdotters hold dear when they're not blinded by the irrational hate of the UN. The UN is actually allowing fairness here- it's giving everyone a chance, and you may disagree with them, but in the international community they no less have a say than anyone else.

      We might not like the way other countries are run- but here's a hint- they probably don't like the way ours are run either.

      Is it any le

  • Why..? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Caerdwyn (829058) on Monday July 11, 2011 @06:41PM (#36728128) Journal
    Can someone please explain why the U.S. should host, subsidize, or be a member of the U.N. given its current condition and activities? In all seriousness, I can think of no reason whatsoever.
    • Can someone please explain why the U.S. should host, subsidize, or be a member of the U.N. given its current condition and activities? In all seriousness, I can think of no reason whatsoever.

      To keep an eye on the idiots?
      • by thej1nx (763573)
        To keep an eye on the idiots?

        For *that*, we already have the domestic surveillance program...

    • by Villain (19081)

      The US can exert more of a force on the UN from within, rather than trying to reform it from the outside. That's all I got.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What's your alternative venue for the countries of the world to talk to each other rather than shooting at each other when there is an issue that straddles across their borders? Also, any time the US wants to opt-out and leave international politics entirely to the other countries of the world to sort out on their own, go ahead. It's a free planet, and the rest of us might be better off.

      Oh, wait, but that's not what you meant. You meant you would still be able to be the global bully and/or meddler if you

      • The alternate venue is called diplomacy. Countries maintain these things called "embassies" in each other - you may have heard of them.
      • You meant you would still be able to be the global bully and/or meddler if you wanted, but with no responsibilities, accountability, or repercussions in the UN if you are?

        What responsibilities, accountability, or repercussions does the UN impose of the US?

      • by TheSync (5291)

        "What's your alternative venue for the countries of the world to talk to each other rather than shooting at each other when there is an issue that straddles across their borders?"

        Videoconferencing. It would be cheaper than the UN and just as effective (as in not very).

        I can't think of one useful thing the UN Security Council has done since the Korean War, and that's only because the Russian autocracy of the time did not show up that day.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Because the UN can't actually do anything of any substance without the US agreeing to it?
      Because (although it's against the rules) the US likely gains a ton of intelligence by spying on the diplomats in New York?
      Because the UN occasionally give international stamp of approval to what the US is going to do anyways?
      Because it makes the smaller countries feel less butt-raped by the US?
      Because if the US withdrew, and the UN decided to do something the US didn't like, instead of issuing a nice veto in the Securi

    • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Monday July 11, 2011 @07:48PM (#36728652)

      Can someone please explain why the U.S. should host, subsidize, or be a member of the U.N. given its current condition and activities? In all seriousness, I can think of no reason whatsoever.

      The U.S. tends to look down on the U.N., as do most truly powerful countries. But the U.S. also is incredibly undereducated about the U.N. compared to many other nations, in part because we look down on the U.N. and our media provides information so slowly that snails eclipsed their information store long ago, and in part because as a powerful country with our own independent foreign agenda, we frankly tend to have more news that's related to what we are doing than we do about what the U.N. is doing.

      But the U.N. is still important--it provides support for some important humanitarian work, for one (UNICEF and UNODC come to mind). It provides an international mechanism for justice and oversight of elections and regime change when countries are ready for those things. (The International Criminal Tribunals and later the International Criminal Court, for example.) It also determines whether wars are legal or illegal under International law, and arbitrates certain small disputes under international law. The legality of a war will influence the legitimacy of that war in the eyes of the world.

      The Security Council was effectively neutered for the cold war by the perpetual split between Russia and and the U.S. China had no rep for a while in the 50s, and because of that the U.S. got approval for the Korean War (i.e. the UN action against North Korea). China learned its lesson and started sending representatives to the security council again. The U.S., similarly, as one of the only world powers with a veto over security council resolutions--a power that would NEVER be given to the US in a new, similar international body today--has a great interest in maintaining its presence in the United Nations.

      In addition, the level of isolationism in the US is frankly frightening. It's nothing like North Korea, of course, but there are a LOT of Americans who are incredibly insular. It isn't as bad as some of the numbers suggest--the very few Americans having a passport is more a testimony to the fact that you have to go farther to cross a border than you do in Europe--but it's bad. Most people in the US know effectively nothing about modern international affairs, and only a small percentage know anything about international history. During the presidential election, for example, then-candidate Obama expressing his willingness to go into Pakistan if necessary was a relatively small bit of trivia here, and most people had no freaking clue how upset his statements to that effect made pretty much everyone in Pakistan. Fast-forward a few years, and you see the consequences of that ignorance--the public's response to Pakistan's being upset with the actual raid isn't "We know how big a deal this was for you, we felt we had to do it, and we'll make it up to you," it was "if you're upset it must be because you were hiding Osama!"

      We need more international involvement, not less. Better education. Why the hell we don't have every schoolchild in America watching good conferences on major international issues via the web and answering quizzes on them I have no idea. Not every day--but do four conferences a year on different subjects, and they'd learn a hell of a lot.

      • The international criminal court and international criminal tribunals have a pretty big problem in the fact that neither of them are recognized by the the world's current lone superpower.

        The US does not recognize either of these bodies. That is a pretty fundamental problem for a supposedly international organization.

        • by Alex Belits (437) *

          It's not like anyone needs a court to find out who in US is a war criminal.

      • China had no rep for a while in the 50s, and because of that the U.S. got approval for the Korean War (i.e. the UN action against North Korea). China learned its lesson and started sending representatives to the security council again.

        Umm, no.

        The USSR was occasionally boycotting the UN about then, in order to express their displeasure with it. During one of its boycotts, the UN approved a resolution calling for aid to South Korea to repel a "bandit invasion" from North Korea.

        Since the USSR wasn't around

        • Ah, that's almost certainly right. (I had heard the story only once.) For purposes of the point I was making, it is still illustrative. (But thank you for clearing that up.)

      • In addition, the level of isolationism in the US is frankly frightening. It's nothing like North Korea, of course, but there are a LOT of Americans who are incredibly insular. It isn't as bad as some of the numbers suggest--the very few Americans having a passport is more a testimony to the fact that you have to go farther to cross a border than you do in Europe--but it's bad. Most people in the US know effectively nothing about modern international affairs, and only a small percentage know anything about i

    • How about because we pay for the silly shit! I know that's kind of lame, but who else is stupid enough to foot the considerable bill for the UN, while being treated like the scum of the Earth by a bunch of 2 bit dictators that can't even pay their membership dues?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @06:41PM (#36728130)

    This has nothing to do with being irony-challenged and everything to do with representation.

    1) the UN is an international body which encourages participation from all. You don't make peace with your friends, you make it with your enemies.

    2) the Conference On Disarmament is not like the Security Council

    3) the chair of the Conference On Disarmament is appointed on a rotational basis, so the UN has not deliberately and fecklessly chosen North Korea; they are a member of the Conference (they need to be so we can discuss disarmament with them) so the chair comes to them eventually.

    4) the chairmanship period is ONLY SIX WEEKS LONG

    5) without such bizarre situations it would be difficult for the world to stand up and mention the bitter irony and discuss North Korea's record, now wouldn't it?

    I appreciate this isn't going to stop the armchair John Boltons of slashdot, and I consider this a service to others who might otherwise feel the need to raise their blood pressure to deal with the inevitable idiots. I got this one guys; you can deal with it when Israel gets the chair.

    • by JordanL (886154)
      While all of this is true, and important to know before reacting, I think it also worth noting the situation as an example of how the UN is impotent at accomplishing certain goals because of the immovable structure of procedure that has pervaded the entire body from top to bottom.

      What the UN is really good at is illustrating just how nationalistic the world still is.
    • by AdamHaun (43173)

      Thanks, I appreciate the hard work. My blood pressure is a lot lower now as a result of your comment.

    • While you make good points about the lack of any actual harm due to NK's chairmanship, it's probably due more to the general uselessness of this sort of activity than the design of the committee. Nuclear disarmament will not arise due to committee hearings at the UN. Hell, nothing of any political significance will come from UN committees, save for sternly worded declarations aimed at tyrants who could care less. Let NK lead this committee permanently if keeps the nutjobs occupied.

      You're right about the

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday July 11, 2011 @06:44PM (#36728158) Journal

    The only political body in UN that has any relevance whatsoever is the Security Council, and even then only its permanent members. The rest of UN political organizations are there mostly for lulz (I don't know any other reasonable explanation for the current membership of UNHRC), and in any case, all they do is write strongly worded condemnations - mostly of Israel.

    Now, UN is not entirely useless in a sense that it does have a bunch of non-political organizations that actually do useful work, like UNESCO. It's probably worth keeping it around for those, with political circus being an unfortunate attachment.

    • by Nutria (679911)

      The rest of UN political organizations are there mostly for lulz

      You forgot, "graft" and "veneer of civilization".

    • Do not underestimate the fact that the UN provides a relatively neutral framework for even enemies to get together and talk about stuff. Considering the childish games that diplomats like to play with withdrawing their embassies and so on, it is important to have a stable and reliable point where the children can go and have a talk. I prefer that over them using their toys to kill each other.

      Look, the UN is not perfect, but as the saying goes, the perfect is the enemy of the good. The UN plays an important

    • For those who don't know the UN human rights commission has has such wonderful upstanding members as like Libya, Syria, Zimbabwe, People's Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan [wikipedia.org] all of whom have continued to fight for basic human rights.
  • TFS implies that there was some kind of specific decision to choose North Korea to preside based on an assessment of merit, but this is not the case. The rules of procedures for the Conference of Disarmanent state (in rule 9): "When the Conference is in session, the Presidency of the Conference shall rotate among all its members; each President shall preside for a four-working-week period."

  • by choongiri (840652) on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:05PM (#36728770) Homepage Journal
    Canada's just jealous because their persistent [torontosun.com] stupidity [thestar.com] at the UN finally turned other countries against them [theglobeandmail.com] last year.
  • by Demonantis (1340557) on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:30PM (#36728936)
    Please note that the Canadian Government has been re-branded Harper Government. And to that end, I would like to note that a lot of Canadian's don't supports its foreign policy.
  • by clem.dickey (102292) on Monday July 11, 2011 @08:53PM (#36729060)

    The United States deserves the chairmanship, on a semi-permanent basis.

    In terms of volume, the United States is doing more to disarm itself than any other country. We presently have disarmament operations underway over Afghanistan, Libya, and to a lesser extent Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

    • by Kagura (843695)
      Haha, I'm about as pro-U.S. as they come on Slashdot, and that's pretty funny.
  • Good Choice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Monday July 11, 2011 @11:19PM (#36729936) Homepage Journal

    I don't think anyone gets why North Korea is actually an ideal choice for the UN Disarmament chair. Check out the website [un.org] and you'll get a clue. Sure, there's lip-service from the council on WMDs and nuclear weapons, but the major effort right now is toward disarming the civilians of every country. And in that regard, North Korea is an excellent example of how thoroughly it can be done, and a perfect choice to lead the effort in teaching other countries to do the same.

    Despite Eric Holder's efforts with ATF's "Gunrunner" and "Fast and Furious" programs seemed to have backfired, and the disarmament media effort in North America will be significantly curtailed due to the inept handling of that false flag effort. A country like North Korea - probably the world leader in successful disarmament of its citizens, is the perfect choice for restarting the international effort, and assisting the United States in making better progress in that regard.

    • Despite Eric Holder's efforts with ATF's "Gunrunner" and "Fast and Furious" programs seemed to have backfired, and the disarmament media effort in North America will be significantly curtailed due to the inept handling of that false flag effort. A country like North Korea - probably the world leader in successful disarmament of its citizens, is the perfect choice for restarting the international effort, and assisting the United States in making better progress in that regard.

      So what you are saying is our government should follow North Korea by oppressing it's citizens and taking away their rights; because that would just make life simply grand like how the North Koreans are living right now.

      • So what you are saying is our government should follow North Korea by oppressing it's citizens and taking away their rights; because that would just make life simply grand like how the North Koreans are living right now.

        Well, if you support civilian disarmament, then you should follow the leader in civilian disarmament. Pretty obvious when you think about it. Call it "oppression" if you want to, but that just sounds like hyperbole. Have to do what's right for the country and the global community. If you let Americans have all those guns around, how will they ever join the new world order?

        • Well, if you support civilian disarmament, then you should follow the leader in civilian disarmament. Pretty obvious when you think about it. Call it "oppression" if you want to, but that just sounds like hyperbole. Have to do what's right for the country and the global community. If you let Americans have all those guns around, how will they ever join the new world order?

          Well I don't support civilian disarmament, because it is our constitutional/amendment rights to bare arms. And as for American joining the new world order, i do not know exactly what new world order you are talking about because what I have read and seen on the news the world is pretty much going to hell in a hand basket; and I rather be in a country that allow me to have guns rather than ones that take it away from me.

          Also playing COD is fun; but it's much more fun when you go to a range and have the real

  • do stupid stuff like selling weapons to mexican drug smuggler gangs and many other stupid things the UN would not be voting against the USA and not be so contrary towards the USA
  • This is no different than the UN human rights commission with such wondrous members like Libya, Syria, Zimbabwe, People's Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan [wikipedia.org].

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