Many people who oppose a Western attack on Syria feel that intervention would be more legitimate if the United Nations (UN) backed it. The UN was set up after the Second World War to make sure that such a conflict should “never be repeated”.
It appears to be above national politics because all member countries have a say in the General Assembly. But real power lies with the Security Council. This has five permanent members which can veto decisions—the US, Britain, Russia, France and China—the victorious powers at the end of the war. It has a history of backing powerful rulers and their wars.
The UN helped to partition Palestine and create the state of Israel. UN “peacekeeping” missions have led to bloodshed and terror—such as in Somalia in 1992. Its “stabilisation” force has occupied Haiti since 2004—and waged war on poor people. Powerful states such as the US can threaten to withhold aid or promise to write off debts to bully other countries into backing them. UN backing will simply give a diplomatic sheen to Western rulers’ imperialist agenda—and help them get away with murder.