The United Nations Organization
that you and your family move to a new home in a neighborhood of
190 other residences. As you carry in some of your possessions,
you are welcomed outside your front door by the Chairman of the
Neighborhood Community Services Organization. He extends his hand
and introduces himself. "Welcome! We have 190 members in our
Neighborhood Community Services and we would like to have you in
our organization as our 191st member! We had a meeting
yesterday and all of your neighbors would like you to join."
nice. Is it a kind of Homeowners Association?" you ask.
could say that."
sure that would be fine," you nod. "It sounds good."
chairman smiles. "It is good. And because you have such
a nice home really the nicest in the neighborhood
our members expect you to pay 22% of our budget."
would be some silence, and then your response: "You have 190
members and I would have to pay 22%?"
home shows that you can afford it."
that a little on the high side? After all, I worked for what I have."
course you did. Thats wonderful. Maybe you could be a good
influence on your neighbors if you know what I mean."
And he laughs.
dont know anything about my neighbors. Youre the first
one Ive met. Tell me a little about them."
chairman nods. "Our members are diverse. Youll like them.
Oh, sure, we have some who may give you some difficulties. You see,
some of them are murderers, kidnappers, rapists, hostage-takers
and slave-masters. But not all of them!"
have yet to sign up. Would you join? Would you want to be in a club
with those members? Would you want to regularly sit next to those
you know it or not, we all regularly sit next to those guys. It
isnt called the Neighborhood Community Services Organization.
Its called the United Nations Organization.
was in the middle of the 1970s that the late Daniel Moynihan entered
and exited as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Upon his
leaving he gave three definitions of that organization: "A theater
of the absurd, a decomposing corpse, and an insane asylum." Then,
giving his remarks support, he quoted a leading British journalist
of the time who said that the U.N. was among "the most corrupt and
corrupting creations in the whole history of human institutions."
the 1980s, another U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane
Kirkpatrick said, "Rather frequently, what goes on in the U.N.
actually exacerbates conflicts rather than tending to resolve them."
were the days when the U.N. debated the threat posed not by 14 concurrent
Soviet proxy wars, and not by Fidel Castro's 40,000 troops on the
African Continent, but by U.S. forces in the U.S. Virgin Islands
since 14 U.S. Coast Guardsmen were stationed there.
the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), financed
in large part by U.S. purchasers of UNICEF's Christmas Cards, had
sent millions of dollars in aid to North Vietnam during the last
year of its war against South Vietnam. UNICEF's spokesman said,
"UNICEF has no way to make sure the supplies got to the children.
They were dropped off at the airports and docks and we assume they
were used as we intended." But what UNICEF had dropped off at the
airports and docks were not crayolas, dolls, and lollipops. They
dropped off trucks, bulldozers, and heavy construction material.
fit a pattern of the United Nations Organization throughout the
Cold War years.
time has passed, and the Soviet Union is gone, its empire has been
dismembered, and the Cold War was won, no thanks to the U.N. that
supported what the organization called Wars of National Liberation.
the last full year before the Berlin Wall came down, the U.N. was
the last to give up. That was when the majority of the General Assembly
voted with the Soviet Union 95.16% of the time. On economic development
and international regulation questions, the ratio was even more
pronounced. It isnt that the United States was completely
disregarded: after all, the positions of the United States were
embraced 2.71% of the time, while the positions of the Soviet Union
were supported 96.62% of the time.
the U.N. should have been buried with the Soviet Union but it survived,
looking in new directions. The military expansion of the U.N. increased
from its 1990 level of 11,550 troops under its command to 80,000
troops two years later.
were called "peacekeeping operations," which cost $230 million in
1988, were raised to $3.6 billion by 1994. The difficulty, of course,
was that peace was not kept despite the increasing funds.
the horror of genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia became evident, the
U.N. looked the other way. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali
warned the United States that under existing Security Council resolutions
only he had the power to launch air strikes against the Serbian
aggressors fighting Bosnians, and the United States would be in
violation of the U.N. Charter if the U.S. acted on its own.
General Boutros Boutros-Ghali made a plea in his book, "Agenda for
Peace," that its the task of leaders of states to understand
that the time of absolute and exclusive sovereignty had passed.
1990 to 1998, the U.N.s staff grew from 23,000 to 53,000.
(There were also $4.1 million owed in New York City parking tickets.)
In 1995, the U.N. sponsored over 7,000 conferences in Geneva alone
while the quest as articulated by its Secretary General was "empowerment"
with a U.N. standing army and the ability to collect direct taxes.
That quest did not stop when Boutros Boutros-Ghalis term of
office was done, but continues to this day while Kofi Annan occupies
the office of Secretary General.
Kofi Annans leadership, the U.N. had its Millennium Summit
in the year 2000 with the attendance of 152 World Leaders, which
is the largest gathering of world leaders ever held. Its stated
purpose was "to make the 21st Century free of war, poverty,
ignorance, and disease." Notice no mention of making the 21st
Century free of oppression, totalitarianism, dependence, persecution,
next year, 2001, the United States was kicked out of the United
Nations Human Rights Commission.
ejected from the U.N. Human Rights Commission was thought by some
in the United States to be an outrage. But it should have been thought
of as a blessing. Admittedly, expulsion from the U.N. Human Rights
Commission is not the highest honor a nation can receive: the highest
honor would be expulsion from the entire U.N. Organization. That
has only been achieved by the Republic of China on Taiwan in 1971
when it was expelled to make room for the membership of the non-democratic
human rights violators of the Peoples Republic of China. Maybe
some day we, too, can have the privilege that was accorded Taiwan.
came September the 11th of 2001.
of condolences were extended to the United States by the United
Nations Organization, but nothing had changed. When it came to fighting
Al Qaeda and its hosts, the Taliban Government of Afghanistan, and
when it came to fighting Iraqs Saddam Hussein in the second
battlefield of the War Against Terrorism, the U.N. was less than
impotent. It became an impediment to the United States and even
ignored its own previously passed resolutions that had warned Iraq.
When it counted, the U.N. insured its resolutions were toothless.
the United States put together a coalition of nations willing to
fight against Saddam Husseins government independent of the
U.N., the U.N. continued its Oil for Food program for Iraq that
began in 1995. Through the years, the perception of the United States
and most of the world was that the program was worthwhile. It allowed
Iraq to sell a limited amount of oil in order to buy food, medicine
and other humanitarian goods for the people of Iraq. What was not
known by the United States until this year, 2004, was that some
estimated $10.1 billion was used for Saddam Husseins own purposes.
The General Accounting Office of the United States charged that
evidence shows that Saddam Husseins government levied surcharges
against oil purchasers, including commissions of 5 to 10 percent
against the suppliers of humanitarian aid. All of this indicates
the U.N. was not the best overseer of funds to members of that organization.
U.N. Charter starts with a bit of plagiarism from the United States
Constitution. Instead of "We the people of the United States," it
reads, "We the peoples of the United Nations." If they meant it,
it would have been to the credit of the organization, but the United
Nations Organization has nothing to do with "we the peoples," but
rather "we the governments, whether or not the governments
are chosen by the people of the nations."
prime purpose of the U.N. has been itemized in Article One of its
Charter: "To maintain international peace and security, and to that
end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and
removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts
of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about
by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice
and international law, adjustment or settlement of international
disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace."
prime purpose is part of the problem. The accent is on peace, rather
than on liberty. But peace without liberty is surrender. With a
substitution of the word "liberty" for "peace"
the organization might have had real worth: "To maintain international
liberty and security, and to that end: to take effective
collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to
the people's liberties, and for the suppression of acts of
aggression or other breaches of the people's liberties, and
to bring about, in conformity with the principles of justice and
international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes
or situations which might lead to a breach of liberty, which
is this organization's highest aspiration." But the word "liberty"
was not used. The lack of that word served as an invitation to totalitarian
governments. To this day there are over 70 governments represented
in the U.N. that do not believe in liberty.
coming October, the United Nations Organization will celebrate its
59th birthday. One year after its founding, its first Secretary
General, Trigvie Lie, praised that organization as "a fire-station
ready with a hose on the world-stage."
the time, he didn't know that the fire station would be controlled
by arsonists and financed by the residents who lived in the best
house in the neighborhood.
Herschensohn teaches public policy at Pepperdine University and
is a member of the Center for Individual Freedom's Board of Directors.
April 15, 2004]
to Current Events Index