By Robert Weiler
Students discussed President George W. Bush and the United Nations in a “Speak Out” debate at the Spencer W. Kimball Tower on Thursday, Nov. 20.
The debate, sponsored by Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society, addressed whether Bush”s policy towards the United Nations is overdone or overdue.
Darren Jackson, 18, a sophomore from Ashburn, Va., majoring in international relations, said Bush has overdone his policies with the United Nations.
Jackson said Bush encourages unilateralism, which creates hatred towards the United States and its democratic values.
Jackson said the United States should be a multilateral nation, even if it isn”t always in the best interest of the nation.
“The United States should compromise national sovereignty for international agreement,” Jackson said.
He said the world has become more globalized in the past 15 years. Issues involving business, trade and social problems like terrorism and the black market require a unifying body like the United Nations to determine accepted practices.
“I will not argue that the United Nations is perfect, but it deserves our dedication,” Jackson said.
Karl Schaub, 24, a senior from Tumwater, Wash., majoring in political science and Asian studies, argued in favor of Bush”s actions with the United Nations.
Schaub said in issues of national security, the United States cannot allow itself to be bound by any organization or other nation that doesn”t have U.S. interests at stake.
Schaub said the United States has the right to act unilaterally because of its ability to defend itself in today”s world.
“We”re the only ones in this kind of world who can defend ourselves,” Schaub said. “If we can, we should try to get other countries to go along with us. But if we can”t, we have the right to act unilaterally.”
Schaub said Bush isn”t the first president to take action unilaterally, citing President Bill Clinton”s bombing of Kosovo in 1999 after avoiding the United Nations.
Schaub said he supports the idea of the United Nations, but has always questioned the organization”s ability to fulfill its mission effectively.
“It has become a corrupt institution,” Schaub said, referring to having countries like Sudan and Libya on the human rights committee. “It has become a joke in a lot of respects, and that”s sad because they pass resolutions and they don”t enforce them. I don”t think anybody takes it seriously anymore.”
Jackson said he participated in the debate to help students understand more about the issue.
“I feel that sometimes at BYU, students don”t get a well rounded view of the issue, and this is something I feel very strongly about,” he said.
The format gave time for each debater to make an opening statement before rebutting each other and answering questions from the audience.
“The point of the debate is to foster student discourse,” said Chris Rich, one of the debate”s organizers.
The debate was the second “Speak Out” debate. The next debate will be in January.