Helms warns U.N. Security Council

By Henry Lamb
web posted January 24, 2000

Senator Jesse Helms told the U.N. Security Council exactly what it needed to hear: (1) the United States "will not countenance" the U.N.'s "global governance" aspirations; (2) "the U.N. serves nation-states, not the other way around;" (3) "no treaty or law can ever supercede the Constitution of the United States of America;" and (4) Americans reject and resent the suggestion that we are a "deadbeat" nation when we provided $10.179 billion dollars to the U.N. in 1999.

He told them a lot more.

The Ambassadors on the Security Council listened intently, as did the audience of Ambassadors from more than 100 other nations.

With all the diplomacy of a southern gentleman, Helms apologized for not being conversant with the "elegant and rarefied language of the diplomatic trade," and expressed his hope that the translators could speak "Southern" in order to translate words like "y'all" and "I do declare."

He asked forgiveness in advance, "if I come across as a bit more blunt" than the Ambassadors were accustomed to hearing. "I am an elected official with something of a reputation for saying what I mean and meaning what I say," he explained.

Blunt he was. Don't believe the polls commissioned by U.N. supporters, he admonished, which claim that the U.N. enjoys the support of the American public. "I have never won a poll," he said, "or lost an election." He told the Ambassadors he had received "literally thousands of letters" expressing deep frustration with the U.N.

Helms explained that he had been instrumental in working out the arrangement to pay $926 million in U.N. dues in exchange for agreements to certain reforms in the institution. He said he recognized that some members do not like having reforms dictated by the United States, but "I ask you to consider the alternative" which he said "would have been a breach in U.S. - U.N. relations that would have served the interests of no one."

Helms praised the U.N. for the occasions when it met its "core tasks" well. He listed those "core tasks" as: (1) help sovereign states coordinate collective action by coalitions of the willing; (2) provide a forum where diplomats can meet and keep open channels of communication in times of crisis; and (3) provide to the peoples of the world important services such as peacekeeping, weapons inspections and humanitarian relief.

"But if the U.N. seeks to move beyond these core tasks, if it seeks to impose the U.N.'s power and authority over nation-states, I guarantee that the United Nations will meet stiff resistance from the American people," said Helms.

"Americans sense that the U.N. has greater ambitions" than simply meeting its core tasks. "They see the U.N. aspiring to establish itself as the central authority of a new international order of global laws and global governance. This is an international order the American people will not countenance. I guarantee you!"

With all the skill of a southern politician, Helms took Kofi Annan's recent declaration that the peoples of the world have "rights beyond borders" and "we in America call [them] inalienable rights, endowed not by kings or despots, but by our Creator." He explained that nations derive their sovereignty from the consent of the governed, and quickly pointed out that nations that rule without the consent of the governed lose both their legitimacy and their right to claim national sovereignty.

He cited Slobodan Milosevic, Fidel Castro, and Saddam Hussein as examples of dictators who rule without the consent of the governed, and therefore cannot legitimately hide behind "phony claims of sovereignty."

He warned: "the American people will never accept the claims of the United Nations to be the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force in the world." He said it is a "fanciful notion," and pointed out that "the United Nations has no power to grant or decline legitimacy" to the foreign policy decisions of the United States. He said that the U.S. ratification of the U.N. Charter in 1945 "did not cede one syllable of American sovereignty to the United Nations."

As if twisting the blade plunged into wounded prey, Helms referred to "international law" as a "make-believe justification for hindering the march of freedom." He cited the U.N. General Assembly's condemnation as a violation of "international law," the U.S. "liberation of Grenada from the hands of a communist dictatorship."

Helms said the United States would never accept the International Criminal Court, which he described as "a system in which independent prosecutors and judges, answerable to no state or institution, have unfettered power to sit in judgement of the foreign policy decisions of Western democracies."

"No U.N. institution...is competent to judge the foreign policy and national security decisions of the United States," he said emphatically.

Helms paused, took a drink of water, and concluded his remarks:

"If the United Nations respects the sovereign rights of the American people, and serves them as an effective tool of diplomacy, it will earn and deserve their respect and support. But a United Nations that seeks to impose its presumed authority on the American people without their consent begs for confrontation and, I want to be candid, eventual U.S. withdrawal."

Ambassadors raced to sign-up to speak. The Ambassador from Cuba was furious. His requests were rejected because he is not on the Security Council. He found a television camera and railed against the Senator's "slanderous remarks" about Cuba.

The Ambassadors who did speak revealed the wide chasm between what Helms said and what they heard. With much more diplomatic skill than Helms used, the Ambassadors protested the failure of the United States to pay its full assessment without conditions. None acknowledged that the United States had paid much more than its assessment through its peacekeeping support.

Helms was told that his withholding of U.N. payments was a detriment to reform, and the wrong way to go about strengthening U.S. - U.N. relations. Canada's Ambassador, Robert Fowler said "we need a U.N. for 2000, not 1945," suggesting that Helms' assessment of the U.N. purpose is obsolete.

Agam Hasmy, Ambassador from Malaysia went even further, saying that the Security Council had to be expanded, and that the veto question had to be dealt with. The Commission on Global Governance recommended in 1995, that the veto be eliminated and the Council be expanded to 23 members. This "reform" would essentially take the Security Council out from under the control of the five permanent members and give the institution free reign to operate independently. The only remaining control from member nations would be the purse strings.

The same Commission on Global Governance, as well as the U.N.Association and virtually all of the U.N. supporting non-government organizations, are pushing for U.N. taxing authority which would give the U.N. complete independence and create the circumstance in which the member states would serve the U.N., rather than the other way around.

Helms' vision of what the U.N. is supposed to be is held by a diminishing minority in government, and in the country. Even Hillary Clinton has endorsed the concept of world government under the authority of the United Nations, when she introduced Walter Cronkite at the meeting of the World Federalist Association.

In a mini-history lesson, Helms told the Security Council that the reason the U.S. Senate did not ratify Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations was Wilson's refusal to allow 14 conditions that would guarantee the continuation of America's absolute sovereignty. He said that little has changed since then. America expects the U.N. to serve the United States, and its other member nations; not the other way around.

The United Nations has scheduled a chain of events in the year 2000 leading to a Millennium Summit at which documents, which are already prepared, will be considered to give the United Nations global sovereignty, forcing member nations to serve its will, a situation Helms says America will not accept. We'll see.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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