“Captain America: Civil War” and the Role of the U.N.

8-questions-captain-america-civil-war-needs-to-answer-893088Op-Ed by Maalikah Hartley

Editor’s Note: Spoilers ahead!

Captain America: Civil War is the reason why going to the movies is one of my favorite pastimes. Certain movies, when done correctly, invoke a sense of inspiration when you leave the theater that make you contemplate morality, characters, philosophy, politics and the parallels of art imitating life. And the fact that this is an epic comic book movie with crazy battle scenes, eye-candy superheroes and bad-ass female roles, work in its favor to make you want to watch it a second time.

The story begins after telekinetic superhero Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), causes collateral damage in Lagos, Nigeria after trying to stop HYDRA villain, Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo), from blowing up a populated area, ironically. This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and in turn makes the United Nations bring forth the Sokovia Accords—ratified by 117 countries—which will place The Avengers under their control and will no longer let them operate independently. The accords create a rift between Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) as Stark, who once enjoyed his independent vigilantism, is hit with a deep sense of guilt when a mother confronts him for being responsible for her son’s death in Sokovia. Stark believes the heroes should now act with oversight while Rogers believes the U.N. will always have their own agenda and that he must do what he feels right—taking lessons learned from when HYDRA took over S.H.I.E.L.D in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

There are many angles to consider when watching the movie, but one that stood out is the questioning of the moral authority of well, authority. In real life, we are made to believe that the U.N. has the moral high ground as it is a “democratic” entity comprised of countries around the globe that want to do good like end world wars, combat global warming and recognize human rights worldwide. And while it does create a venue for change and good, it cannot always be blindly followed because history shows that vertical control from a far-away entity with little oversight will eventually lead to overreach.

Regarding war, presently we can look to a country like Libya where NATO bombed the country while supporting radical opposition networks, which in turn created a civil war, which in turn led to the U.N. putting in the undemocratically elected Unity Government, which is said to possibly obtain billions of frozen Libyan assets. And let’s not forget about the U.N.’s tarnished involvement in other countries like Haiti or the Congo. Regarding environmentalism, instead of promoting alternative energies, a carbon tax was pushed that would have not only hurt the Third World but put money in the creators of said tax, Goldman Sachs’ David Blood and Al Gore. And finally regarding human rights, well, Saudi Arabia sat as chair to the Human Rights Council of the U.N. last year. And while the U.N. can legitimately be a venue for positive change, historians and writers such as G. Edward Griffin and H.G. Wells have marked it as a collectivist takeover with disregard to individual rights. Democrats like Rosa Koire—author of Behind The Green Mask—have also warned of the agency’s use of eminent domain and the overthrow of land usage rights.

So, to circle back around from that tangent, Captain America is weary of being under the control of an authority whose agenda he is not certain of—sounds a bit more reasonable—while Iron Man believes The Avengers need the oversight and accountability to act more responsibly and avoid collateral damage—also sounding reasonable, but diving deeper; will authorization provided from the U.N. for the superheroes to fight or not fight a certain way, achieve this goal? If they decided Rumlow should not have been gone after, how would the outcome have looked then? Perhaps if they worked more closely with The Avengers (hopefully not in the slow, bureaucratic fashion certain things work today) would certain battles against alien super powers have a more positive outcome?

I don’t pretend to have the answers, but one thing I am more sure of is to not so easily take the bait when something sounds too good to be true—in real life. In the end of the movie, as Iron Man sees his colleagues behind bars—who did not get a trial, yet—he realizes he is wrong and when he finds out Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) was set up, he also ends up breaking the accords. The writers and directors of the movie don’t have a clear answer of which hero’s side to take in the end as both have their merits, but rather wanted to open the film up to debate.

If there is one thing that these super hero movies do right is that they present deeper levels of thinking to a possibly unsuspecting public and give warnings about certain organizations or ideas that claim to have all the “good will” behind them. But when it comes to wiser decision making that is least likely to get someone killed, I’m going to have to go with Team Cap on this one.

Image: theatrical release poster

Maalikah Hartley writes for DisillusionedDreamer where this article first appeared.  

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9 Comments on "“Captain America: Civil War” and the Role of the U.N."

  1. United Nazis, n’uff said.

  2. U.N. , such a noble organization but I think I would like them better if they were based in Siberia instead of N.Y.

  3. Blue hats make great targets…………………

  4. Please check your info on H.G. Wells who was an elitist in league with Bertrand Russell et al, and very much pro-UN and pro world government. He even wrote the UN’s first declaration of human rights. Well’s sci-fi writings were predictive programming, hoping mankind would create WMDs that could destroy earth’s inhabitants and thus the fear of war would force humanity to accept an authoritarian world government. (Reference Doomsday Men by author P.D. Smith). G. Edward Griffin’s views are antithetical to Well’s goals.

  5. the problem of the un is that they cannot do what they are supposed to do, what they should do is impartially judge any conflict between nations, but if the result its not supported by whoever has the armies its ignored, even if its sanctioned because in the end what are they going to do? so it goes back to a conflict between nations and then it becomes a justification propaganda war to support chosen interest, then when something happends its brought back to the un and the cycle repeats itself.

    I also agree qith capt america here because whoever is going to hold them accountable should be held accountable too.

    • If the U.N. were directly elected, restricted its membership to those with a minimum of human rights (including regular secret ballot elections which are recognized by the U.N. as a right), and were somewhat proportional to population, then the world’s people might trust it more. It also doesn’t serve the interests of powerful nations or their peoples to become targets by interventions which lack international support (Just came across the info that Zarqawi had a field day when he was able to get the U.N. to leave Iraq and portray things there as a foreign occupation). Powerful states have united before to allow oversight of their own armies/militias–as in the formation of the U.S. Constitution after the excessively weak Articles of Confederation demonstrated its incapacity to serve the member states’ interests.

      • I dont think it should restrict meberships, but it should have some guidelines, and any nations should be able to present its case to them, but most likely if this were to happend it will affect poerful nations, human rights violatros, and everyone as you said just looking to past international conflicts will show the ammount of ilegal invasions, occupations, elections etc.

        • While it is a reasonable tendency to want to be as inclusive as possible and be wary of hypocritical condescension by powerful to less powerful countries, there are some nations which are indeed so abusive of their citizens’ rights, and so unrepresentative of their own people (whether due to past colonialism, military coups or revolutions, etc.), that it is a spit in the face of even the citizens of those countries to give such abusive and horrific regimes a voice, not to mention for the injustices they can bring to other countries (such as on Human Rights Councils). Just as a federal authority would have good reason to intervene and dissolve a local government which had become run by completely corrupt thugs, so too should we stick together in our international community to ensure some standards improve over time by more than just wishful thinking.

          But yes, I agree, we also have to move away from the authoritarian notion of certain countries being more worthy of power than others such as evidenced in the veto power which has become used for far more than its original intent of preventing the major powers from starting war on one another or the hamstrung International Court which requires both parties to agree to hear their case, a situation which is clearly unjust!

          • Hugo Spinoso | May 26, 2016 at 4:59 pm |

            A voice should be given to them if another country or group within it were to ask for the un intervention, and also to avoid the un to be used as an excuse for intervention without justifiable casue as has been the case several times, this way the un could intervene as a colaition to adress the problem, with guidelines and objectives, otherwise its just a “vote” on wether other countries agree there should be an intervention and if they dont it will be ignored, but this was suppossed to be the case, and of course those with guns will ignore it and just use it as an excuse.

            A good example of ths is irak and the wmd, this is still going on and no wmd, however saddam was a dictator, but the un should have enforced elections and not continous occupation.

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