As dozens of United Nations peacekeepers are captured in the Syrian desert, as Russian forces are reportedly entering Ukraine in numbers amounting to an invasion, as Libya slides into a civil war, and as the so-called Islamic State claims more and more territory and kills or forcibly converts more and more people, the U.N. has issued an urgent warning: Beware of killer robots.
“Killer robots programmed to open fire without human control are just a ‘small step’ from the battlefield and military powers should agree to outlaw them, a top United Nations official has said,” the (London) Telegraph reports. “Angela Kane, the U.N.’s high representative for disarmament, said governments should be more open about programs to develop the technology and she favored a pre-emptive ban before it was too late.”
It gets even more ridiculous.
“Ms. Kane said there was ‘a great deal of concern’ about the prospect of killer robots being developed that would commit war crimes on the battlefield,” the Telegraph adds.
Maybe — just maybe — “killer robots” could eventually become a real thing. But that remote and speculative threat is dwarfed by actual threats the United Nations has either ignored or, in many cases, made worse.
Let’s look at a few. On Thursday, officials acknowledged that Islamic militants have captured its peacekeepters.
“An armed group detained 43 U.N. peacekeepers during fighting in Syria early Thursday and another 81 peacekeepers are trapped, the United Nations said,” according to the Associated Press. “The peacekeepers were detained on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights during a ‘period of increased fighting between armed elements and the Syrian Arab Armed Forces,’ the office of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. It said another 81 peacekeepers are ‘currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah.’”
In other words, the U.N. has utterly failed at keeping the peace.
Then there’s Ukraine.
“A Reuters reporter saw on Thursday a column of armored vehicles and dust-covered troops, one of them with an injured face, driving through the Russian steppe just across the border from a part of Ukraine which Kiev says is occupied by Russian troops,” Reuters reports. “None of the men or vehicles had standard military identification marks, but the reporter saw an Mi-8 helicopter with a red star insignia — consistent with Russian military markings — land next to a nearby military first aid tent.”
The U.N. response? It called a meeting. Its last such U.N. Security Council meeting on the matter results in no action, and not even a statement.
The point here is that the United Nations has proven itself, time and again, useless. What makes things worse is the amount of money we’re spending to prop up the international body.
“FY 2010 contributions to the U.N. system exceeded $7.691 billion — more than $1.3 billion higher than the previous record, set the year before,” the Heritage Foundation reports.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration stopped releasing the total after 2010.
Shouldn’t we be getting more results for our billions? Instead, as the world burns, we get warnings about robots.