The United Nations has a long history of denying self-determination to independent political units, particularly in areas with rich natural resources. The international system is a game of states and recognition as a state is prerequisite to admission to the club. The UN is just one vehicle existing states use to rig the game in their favor.
When what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) gained independence from Belgium in 1960 certain mining firms with significant investment in the mineral rich southeast province of Katanga promoted a separate state. Unfortunately, the socialists in the DRC, along with other big names in the international system, wouldn't tolerate private property, wealth creation, or self-government.
The solution was to assert control through the United Nations. The very existence of Katanga, an independent state outside the tributary control of those claiming to rule the world was viewed as antithetical to international order.
As you'll see in the first few minutes of the documentary above, United Nations special representative, Dr. Conor Cruise O'Brien, believed that the existence of an independent Katanga was a threat to the existence of the UN.
Think about that. A voluntary organization considers any state outside its mandate a threat to its very existence. What other club can make such a claim? Do Toastmasters or Masons consider everyone outside their club a threat that must be confronted with violence and extinguished? How long would such clubs exist if they acted on such irrational impulses?
With very little success to show since its inception in 1945 and reeling from an ongoing, embarrassing defeat in Korea, the United Nations looked to assert power in undeveloped Africa. It is the classic case of a self-promoting bureaucracy putting parochial interests above peace, security, or service.
The UN bureaucrats deployed blue-hatted Irish troops into the heart of Katanga as a show of dominance and left them in the lurch without adequate support as the locals fought to expel them. Of course, the Irish soldiers performed admirably, given the circumstances, and would later recognize that they were just pawns in a geopolitical game.
From the standpoint of political-economy, the UN Katanga fiasco is another example of conflict being driven by control over resources.
-How much extra should the taxpayers of the developed world have to submit in order to force access to copper, uranium, and other minerals?
It is impossible to argue a counterfactual, yet there is nothing to definitively claim that an independent Katanga, or more importantly the firms operating there, would refuse to sell their products internationally.
No matter how much of a premium Katangan firms would charge for their precious minerals, to those that desire them, it pails in comparison with the cost imposed upon the taxpayers of the member states to prop up the United Nations corruption machine.
The world will never know how much more efficiently such resources could have been delivered because certain players in the game of states, using the UN as cover, decided to use force to get what they want rather than reason, and in so doing prop up the socialist DRC that continues to be a basket case.
The Irish Army in the Congo documentary above illustrates why every taxpayer should scrutinize just what kind of “security” they are buying by way of their governments, and paying with their collective life force.