July 26th, 2006

What hath the UN wrought?

I used to like the UN.

As a child growing up in New York City, I would visit there with my class and gaze at the snazzy modern architecture, and watch the General Assembly talk while listening to simultaneous translations on the seemingly-magical headsets.

My admiration wasn’t just for the esthetics, either. I knew about UNICEF, and the goal of eradicating smallpox–and of course, the UN was working towards peace. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that one of my very early childhood fantasies involved an image of myself as successful worldwide peacemaker, addressing the UN after some sort of diplomatic triumph I’d engineered that had averted a war.

That fantasy ended long ago. But my admiration for the UN lingered. Yet, over the decades, my disillusionment with the UN has grown. The Oil for Food scandal didn’t help; that was in the nature of a final straw in the breakdown of any admiration I ever had for the UN. And journalist Claudia Rosett was instrumental in covering that terrible instance of destructive UN corruption.

Now Rosett has written another article about the UN, this time about its role in fostering the conditions leading up to the current Lebanese crisis. I’ve linked to her article in an addendum to this previous post of mine, but I’ve decided it needed to be spotlighted even more.

The article describes how the UN has failed in its mission in Lebanon, allowing the conditions to develop that led directly to this war. Rosett makes the point that, for the six years since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, Hezbollah has been arming itself with weaponry that it is not supposed to possess, all under the auspices of the UN “peacekeepers”:

Over the past six years, Israel honored its commitment to peace. The U.N. — disproportionately — required in practice no such compliance on the Lebanese side of the border. The “peacekeepers” of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, called UNIFIL, sat passively looking on, costing about $100 million a year and doing nothing to stop Hezbollah from trucking in weapons, digging tunnels, and running the armed protection rackets with which it has kept a grip on swathes of Lebanon, including the southern border with Israel, parts of the Bekaa, and southern Beirut.

Rosett goes on to list the biases UN officials have expressed since this war began (the article seems to have been written prior to the death of the UN obervers and Anna’s remarks on that, since it makes no mention of them). It makes sobering reading.

The other day I got into an argument with a friend about the UN. He agreed that it was flawed, but said that it’s our only hope for peace in the world. My answer to him at the time was that the institution has shown such corruption and bias that it cannot act as a force for peace at all, and that it’s a pipedream to think otherwise at this point.

A pipedream, and a dangerous one at that. I have become convinced that the UN and its officials are not just powerless to solve the problem, but that they are contributing to it. How? By their rather large pockets of corruption, by holding themselves out to be equal to tasks they are utterly incompetent to deal with, by their biased prononuncements, and by giving false hope to those who want to believe that problems are being dealt with when they are not. And, while all this happens, the conditions that contribute to wars are allowed to grow and to fester, all under the auspices of the UN, supposed force for peace.

32 Responses to “What hath the UN wrought?”

  1. senescentwasp Says:

    I think the time has come for the United States to give serious consideration to its continued participation in the United Nations; an organization that is so dysfunctional and which seems incapable of reform.

    The billions of US dollars which go to the UN’s support, some of which is in arrears as part of an effort to achieve reform, could be better utilized elsewhere. The defense budget comes immediately to mind.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/2006/07/26/maybe-it-really-is-the-anti-christ/

    Bookworm has a post about the exact same thing, in about the same timeslot. And this time, Neo, you guys did not link to the same sources ; )

  3. armchair pessimist Says:

    Not so fast. What’s the gangster wisdom? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  4. gcotharn Says:

    senescent wasp:
    “The defense budget comes immediately to mind.”

    heh.

    armchair pessimist:
    That gangster logic is in full flower on our part. It is true that the U.S., b/c of our economic power and influence, dominate the UN’s myriad agendas – though we are often stymied in the Sec. Council. Still, we clearly judge the UN to be an overall plus for our nation. I wonder if we are reaching a point where the political negatives – as elucidated in neo’s post – might outweigh the advantages the UN provides us in the many unpublicized policy areas.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Yet, over the decades, my disillusionment with the UN has grown. The Oil for Food scandal didn’t help; that was in the nature of a final straw in the breakdown of any admiration I ever had for the UN.

    The U.N. is Us: Exposing Saddam Hussein’s silent partner

  6. nyomythus Says:

    The UN’s problem is that it needs some healthy disinfecting light in the form of competition … a Federation of Free Societies, open to free market societies and political democracies. France might even become inspired to accept labor reforms and rise from the ashes from WW2, alas, and her de Gaull ‘workers paradise’ indoctrinations that continue to cripple the ‘potential greatness’ of that nation. Enabling the UN with our membership can only spell despair for the future of humanity.

  7. EvilDave Says:

    1) The US can NOT withdrawal from the UN. We must stay in there for no other reason then to veto every resolution they try to pass.
    Also refuse to pay any dues.

    2) A better plan is not to withdrawal from the UN, but instead setup an alternate UN. A Society of Democracies if you will.
    People will not abandon the UN unless they have something else to go to.
    Get the Anglo-Sphere, Japan, and Eastern Europe together, leave out the thug nations, and their Western European enablers. Show the world what a multi-national force based on Western values can do.
    The problem with the UN is that it has been taken over by the third world thugs. It is like mixing ice cream with sh*t. No matter how much ice cream you mix in (reform the UN), you still have ice cream and sh*t.

  8. nyomythus Says:

    “UN Security Council member states, including the US, were in charge of the program’s oversight, not the U.N.” — Professor Joy Gordon of Fairfield University

    Yes the Security Council does include the US … and your point is? Look’s like Associate Professor Gordon is bucking for a full professorship – its helps to publish a bit. I only wish there was some measure of perspective in what university employees pump out of university presses.

    >>>>>> UN Oil for Food ‘Scandal’ — Dr. Joy Gordon

    Okay now let’s get down to some nitty-gritty facts:

    >>>>>> The Final Volcker Oil for Food Report: An Assessment — The Heritage Foundation

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    Excerpts: The Final Volcker Oil for Food Report: An Assessment

    Oil-for-Food became a shameless political charade through which Saddam Hussein attempted to manipulate decision-making at the U.N. Security Council by buying the support of influential figures in Russia and France.

    And

    Prosecutors in Paris have already charged several French officials with corruption and bribery relating to the scandal. In the United States, several indictments have been issued in the past few months by the Department of Justice and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

    Yes some American companies were involved but… not elected U.S. officials – not when the Iraqi regime was shooting at our airmen on an almost daily basis for 12 years – let’s be real.

    A “Command Council” was established by the Iraqi regime “to determine the distribution of oil contracts to companies and individuals of interest.” It was headed by Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, and included Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and Minister of Finance Hikmat Al-Azzawi.

    Several Russian political parties and politicians received allocations of Iraqi oil, including:

    >> The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (125.1 million barrels)

    >> Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (73 million barrels)
    Party of Peace and Unity (55.5 million barrels)

    >> Alexander Voloshin, Chief of Staff to Russian President Vladimir Putin (4.3 million barrels)

    The Iraqi government, in addition to giving preference to French-based companies, “granted oil allocations to individuals based in France who espoused pro-Iraq views.” These included:

    >> Jean-Bernard Merimee, Special Adviser to the United Nations, with the rank of Under-Secretary General (6 million barrels)

    >> Charles Pasqua, former Minister of the Interior (11 million barrels)

    >> Claude Kaspereit, businessman and son of French MP Gabriel Kaspereit (over 9.5 million barrels)

    >> Serge Boidevaix, former Director of the Department for North Africa and the Middle East, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (over 32 million barrels)

    >> Gi

  9. nyomythus Says:

    Crap — must be a character limit — which is probably a good thing. Anyway the rest of the information is at the Heritage link. I just wanted to conclude my post with:

    …America, for all of our good work, damned if we do — and damned if we don’t. Take what comes out of Academia [Humanities] with a major bucket of salt. Academics not only feed from the trough that they loath, they don’t mind yanking out chunks of fat to stuff their pouches either. Academia is another institution that needs serious disinfecting — can you say “privatization” — privatization at least to some measure.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    It may turn out that particular individuals in the U.N. did receive payoffs from Iraq in the form of oil vouchers. But fraudulent acts by individuals — in direct violation of their employer’s policies — are not the same thing as institutional failure.

    — Joy Gordon, The U.N. is Us: Exposing Saddam Hussein’s silent partner

  11. Thoams Says:

    ” and by giving false hope to those who want to believe that problems are being dealt with when they are not.”

    Never held out much hope for me. It seemed inherently flawed structurally… the basic moral equivalence between liberal democracies and non-liberal states never made it very appealing.

    To those who do not hold opinions in favor of ‘liberal exceptionalism ‘, the UN is right down their alley. No amount of evidence will change that.

  12. snowonpine Says:

    Lets see what we have. UN “Peacekeepers” raping, enslaving or killing young children in Africa, UNFIL looks the other way while Hezbullah arms and fortifies Southern Lebanon, the worst human rights violators running the UN’s human rights organization, the Oil for Food scandal– arguably the biggest scam in dollar amount in history– Kofi Annan’s son gets kickbacks as part of the deal but Kofi says he knows nothing about it, UNFIL complicit in the first Hezbullah kidnapping of Israeli soldiers several years ago, anti-Israel rhetoric and official UN documents, proposals and reports, the US contributes the majority of money for Palestinian refugee camp operations but finds a few years ago that the UN hired “teachers” at the camps are Muslim terrorists and militants, several someones at the UN sell off its unique and irreplaceable mulit-million stamp collection through an auction house and nobody who should know or have authority over the priceless collection knows anything about this, more and more attempts to gain control of and regulate an ever-increasing proportion of the world, grandiose plans for hundreds of millions in upgrades for the UN building, etc, etc. This is the Turtle Bay crime family indeed. Does this sound like an organization the US should want anything to do with?,

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Un’s just balancing the corrupt US government, snow. The UN is a necessary evil, that’s what they think. THey are evil, no necessary about it.

  14. goesh Says:

    Incompetent, corrupt, biased, cowardly, terrorist-enabling,child-molesting, women-raping 3rd world hustlers out for easy Western and Arab money, that’s the UN. Kofi the Klown and his little fiefdom have repeatedly been shown to be all of the above. As such, I regard them as an enemy of the US and Israel and say it is a darn shame more of the worthless, corrupt, cowardly, inept, child-molesting, womwn-raping, terrorist-enabling dirty bastards weren’t killed. The UN is like Liberal, group masturbation – never being able to have the real thing but intently focused on the fantasy of unattainable possibilities.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    The pressures of overpopulation require a co-ordinated, international response: water tables, epidemics, energy, global warming, peacekeeping, etc. etc.

  16. milgram Says:

    Ayn Rand’s words linger in my ears:

    “…a crime-fighting committee whose board of directors include[s] the leading gangsters of the community”

    How can anyone expect an organization even partially composed of the worst regimes in the world to sue for peace? It’s the old idea that if there is a compromise between good and evil, it is always evil which benefits.

  17. nyomythus Says:

    The pressures of overpopulation require a co-ordinated, international response: water tables, epidemics, energy, global warming, peacekeeping, etc. etc. Or societies that refuse to evolve with the rest of humanity need to just die-off, it’s what happens in nature — wouldn’t this be the ‘real’ Green approach? I mean it’s a hard line but “Feed me, clothe me, keep me from harm and oh yeah … f**k you too” just can not be enabled forever. Cry baby societies need to grow up and smell the coffee.

  18. johnny c Says:

    “it is a darn shame more of the worthless, corrupt, cowardly, inept, child-molesting, womwn-raping, terrorist-enabling dirty bastards weren’t killed.” goesh (the very brave)

    you are an unpleasant cowardly bunch of ignorant low life nobodies and neo is your proud wannabe murderous leader.

    thank god so few in america believe all this neo con bullshit

  19. nyomythus Says:

    Hi “johnny c” err neo-conned, trying to pretend to be someone other than yourself still… hmm

  20. ken Says:

    johnny, if you want things changed, you might try winning an election. And don’t confuse a commentor with the host.

    The UN favors the status quo wherever it goes, which empowers the dictators and tyrants. As much as I think Bolton was the perfect choice, any reform will be cosmetic and not get to the heart of the matter. It will interesting to see who is SG after Kofi and if they are as inept and corrupt as he is.

  21. Steve Rosenbach Says:

    When I worked as a power plant engineer years ago, there was a concept called “retire in place.”

    For example, you have a 40-year-old huge pump, and you redesign the whole system and can replace it with a much smaller, more efficient piece of equipment. But instead of removing the old pump, you just leave it in place, ignore it while it does nothing.

    That’s what we should do with the UN – Retire In Place. Let them go on debating and passing resolutions while we form, with Japan, India, Anglosphere, Eastern European, etc allies a truly effective organization to do what the UN *should* have been doing all these years.

    Meanwhile, we should gradually cut our funding the the Retired-in-Place UN, and insist that whatever we do contribute go to useful but benign organizations like WHO, Int’l Postal Union, etc.

    Programs that we must completely defund right away include United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), UN “Human Rights” Commission, etc.

  22. grackle Says:

     
    I don’t think the US would be wise to abandon the UN entirely. However corrupt, the UN is a gathering of nations and it would behoove the US to be in the mix as a counterbalance as votes are cast and propaganda formulated. To consider the UN irrelevant might be dangerous. Incompetent(perhaps on purpose?) and weak it may be but if the US leaves it could become strong while the US wasn’t looking. I really like earlier suggestions of forming an exclusively anti-terrorist mainly Western version of the UN on the side while keeping our membership in the UN. Perhaps the beginnings of such an organization might already be the much-expanded NATO that exists today.
     

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Or societies that refuse to evolve with the rest of humanity need to just die-off, it’s what happens in nature — wouldn’t this be the ‘real’ Green approach? I mean it’s a hard line but “Feed me, clothe me, keep me from harm and oh yeah … f**k you too” just can not be enabled forever. Cry baby societies need to grow up and smell the coffee.

    It’s not like a house with doors you can close, but one room and we’re all in it together. The leper in the corner is eventually going to infect everybody unless you treat him.

  24. nyomythus Says:

    Or bury him — as ‘he’ analogously by your suggestion is ‘the terrorist’ — bury him.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    weak it may be but if the US leaves it could become strong while the US wasn’t looking.

    People who listen to their fears and make policy based upon that, ultimately fail spectacularly.

    The reasoning that you’re afraid it might get stronger if you look away is about as persuasive as the reasoning that my laptop will disappear if I don’t keep it in the center of my vision.

    Going tunnel visioned on one object, because you are afraid of it, just means someone will get behind you and put you in an arterial block hold.

    The one thing that is always not wise, is to listen to your fears. The UN is already strong. Whenever some African rape victim thinks about the UN, they know exactly where it is located and which military protects the UN from harm. It’s called the United States. Victims of the UN can do little about the UN because they do not have te power to touch America, or even to talk to us.

    The very fact that the UN sits on AMerican soil and is in New York, is a power source and a moral justification that the UN uses to justify its existence. Arab dictators have justified their existence and their anti-Americanism for decades based upon one lone reason. America supports dictators, so therefore you should kill America. America supports the UN, therefore America is not for freedom.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    The problem with treating lepers in the same room, is that disease once treated, rarely comes back. With mental parasitism, it is not the same. The more you treat it, the more people you have to treat. Eventually you will be unable to bury the bodies because you won’t have enough people to use the shovels.

  27. grackle Says:

     
    No, not at all. “Wasn’t looking” was just a metaphor but the commentor gets all pseudo-intellectual/pseudo psychological with the term. However, the response gives me further excuse to expound on my viewpoint. The way I see it: The US presence at the UN is a positive check on the UN. I shudder to think of what kind of mischief many of the Jihad-supporting UN members might dream up if the US were not present to cast an opposing vote. Thus, the US needs to keep its membership but start an anti-Jihad version of the UN on the side because those nations concerned with security from the Jihad need to form their own organization, free of the corruption of the UN as it’s presently constituted.
     

  28. Anonymous Says:

    so, nyomythus, ymarsakar, rather than risk dependence on social assistance you’d advocate killing the poor and the sick?

  29. Ymarsakar Says:

    I advocate immunity and prevention. That way you don’t have to deal with treating anyone, because nobody would be infected and sick with parasites.

  30. Ymarsakar Says:

    Grackle still doesn’t comprehend that nobody would obey the UN Resolutions if the US pulled its coalition forces out of the UN. It’s really the anti-pope and pope dichotomy. So long as the US sets up an acceptable alternative that allows Japan and India to be respected, the UN is useless. All the Resolutions are designed to affect the morale of Israel and America, nobody else.

  31. Don Says:

    To consider the UN irrelevant might be dangerous. Incompetent(perhaps on purpose?) and weak it may be but if the US leaves it could become strong while the US wasn’t looking.

    Without the US, I predict it would take off just like the League of Nations.

  32. Neo Says:

    Trick or Treat for UNICEF

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>








Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge