Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 

America & the UN

We should admit the UN is, in effect, our enemy and act accordingly.

A Chicago Tribune editorial from Sep 14 supporting John Bolton's efforts at the UN concludes:
But too many nations have stakes in the derelict status quo. Late Tuesday, the UN General Assembly agreed to offer the summiteers a weak "outcome document" that abandons many ambitious reforms or leaves them for later. If the heads of state settle for that, Annan, the posturing but failed reformer, will look even weaker.

Bolton, by contrast, now is identified with a priority many Americans support: that the UN no longer be a clubhouse where diplomats dither while, elsewhere, dictators murder their people and genocidal armies exterminate innocents.

Bolton spoke Tuesday of the summit as a first step toward reform. "We have certainly obtained a number of priorities that we felt were very important--on terrorism, on human rights, on management," he said. "There are things we didn't get. This is a negotiation among 191 countries and this is the United Nations as it is, and you know, you judge it as such."

You judge it as such. But you no longer go along just to get along. Americans can be proud of their government's long overdue assault on UN timidity, negligence and corruption.
Ramah Kudaimi from the Communications Department of the Council On American-Islamic Relations responded:
Unfortunately there is absolutely no blame placed on the United States for the current obsoleteness of the United Nations. The (Tribune editorial) board seems to believe that all nations but America want the United Nations to remain unchanged.
He next whines about US protection of Israel at the UN and goes on to complain that the US only looks out for its own national interests. He concludes:
The United States has been indifferent and hostile to the United Nations. It has acted several times unilaterally instead of waiting for this international organization to discuss and choose the moral path of action. American governments have withheld dues to ensure the UN secretary general fully understands that all the UN does must be approved by the U.S.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, is not doing anything extraordinary by criticizing the United Nations and calling for reforms. The extraordinary thing will be if he or some American official finally admits the United States has cared more for its national interests than for ensuring the United Nations becomes a viable organization for the entire world.
I just don't get it. How can one argue that the US is simultaneously pushing for reform and trying to preserve the status quo? Which is it? What's wrong with the US using the UN to further our own national interests? Every other government does the much the same thing, except those, of course, too feeble, foolish or corrupt to act in their country's national interest. (They try to procure wealth for their elite and/or pursue utopian fantasy ideologies instead.) And if its important to respect majority opinion among UN member governments, why isn't it equally important that those same governments respect majority opinion in their own countries?

Consider this chart, a statistical log of the actions of the UN human rights system which are critical of the human rights record of specific states covering the last 3 years. How can anyone argue that Israel, the US and India are worse violators of human rights than either China, Iran or Uzbekistan? Who can take such a system seriously?

Also, its instructive to recall how damaging corruption sanctioned by the UN has been to US interests. Iraq became a diplomatic and public relations disaster almost entirely as a result of endemic corruption within the UN system. (Remember all those UN/NGO reports claiming that Iraqi children were starving and dying due to the effects of the 'US imposed' sanctions?) From the Tribune editorial:
In truth, oil-for-food put a tremendous amount of money--evidently $100 billion--into play around the world. And some of it did buy food.

But Hussein used every trick in the book--bribes, kickbacks, illicit surcharges, favors to cronies--to profit from the program. Apart from enriching his slaughterhouse regime, he exploited oil-for-food to buy friendships in influential UN member nations. Those nations, in turn, could lobby for the relaxation of international sanctions that were slapped on a dangerous Iraq after the Persian Gulf war. And many of those influential governments (France, Russia and China, to name three) were nicely positioned to keep the UN Security Council from ever enforcing its lip-service ultimatums to Hussein.

Did interference that nefarious really happen? Volcker's new report says the beneficiaries of Hussein's scams included not only Benon Sevan, the high UN official overseeing the program, but also 'present and former politicians and diplomats, members of organizations supportive of Iraq, members of influential families in the Middle East, lobbyists and media figures.'"
World outrage should be directed at the UN for what it has become. Instead, aided by their media allies and the global elite, the UN serves as a forum where anti-US forces redirect world outrage at the US. The UN is, in effect, an enemy of the US. Instead of trying to reform the UN, we should be working on destroying the whole rotten structure completely.

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