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Is Bush putting the skids to the UN?

By Alan Caruba
web posted March 31, 2003

Here's a suggestion. Let's take the millions in dues we pay to the United Nations and reallocate it to help pay the cost of our war to liberate the Iraqis? We pay more than a quarter of the operating budget for that Epicenter of Bloviation.

I don't think we're getting our money's worth. For example, in September 2002 Congress voted to fund the operations of the US Department of State to the tune of $8.6 billion. Included was $244 million for so-called back dues for the United Nations, plus $78 million in current dues. Of the overall amount the State Department will disburse, $891 million is for assessed expenses to international organizations; UNESCO is one of those agencies. Also included was $726 million for international "peacekeeping" activities which we largely underwrite, but for which the UN gets all the credit.

Bush speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in front of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York on September 12, 2002
Bush speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in front of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York on September 12, 2002

I admit it is an odd thought, but I keep wondering if George W. Bush hasn't deliberately put the skids to the United Nations? That speech he gave in September 2002, warning the General Assembly that it was on the brink of "irrelevancy" really got my attention. I don't recall any president ever saying anything like that. Ever.

Other Presidents have expressed their frustration. Other Presidents have withheld the dues. But only George went to the podium of the General Assembly---where the vote of the United States is exactly equal to the vote of Tuvalu, Liechtenstein, and Barbados---and told them that they were on the brink of irrelevancy.

Then there was the drawn-out dance for the UN Security Council in which the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, clearly demonstrated that Iraq was, after twelve years and seventeen resolutions, still defying it. The Security Council has shown little ability to thwart wars and other conflicts from its inception. It did nothing in 1994 to stop the Rwandan Hutu's from slaughtering 800,000 people in that nation. It remained incapable of stopping Serbia's "ethnic cleansing." A dozen years of on-again, off-again inspections in Iraq accomplished nothing. The US still has troops in South Korea after the 1950's "UN Police Action."

The propaganda surrounding the UN is such that most people are still blithely unaware that the United Nations wants to impose its own tax on all financial transactions, exercise total power over land use throughout the world, require everyone to carry a national or international identity card, require population control, and has even instituted its own court to prosecute anyone for whatever it deems to be crimes against humanity. In addition, the UN wants its own independent military forces.

If this sounds like a totalitarian nightmare, you're right. And I didn't even mention its so-called environmental program that has banned some of the most effective pesticides needed to protect people against the many diseases spread by insects. Thanks to the UN, malaria has made a triumphant return, killing millions every year because of its ban on DDT. Then, of course, there was the UN ban on Freon, one of the most beneficial chemicals ever created. It no longer can be used in any air conditioner or refrigerator, nor as an effective fire-extinguishing agent. And it was cheap!

In sum, the United Nations has hardly been a benefactor to mankind. Why does the United States or any other nation bow to its baseless authority? What useful purpose does it serve that cannot be replicated by other international groups?

For example, the Bush administration has endorsed a "humanitarian role" in Iraq for the Security Council. It balked, however, at the thought of granting it a political role in the reconstruction of Iraq when the war ends. Instead, the UN administered "oil-for-food" program is to be kept in place to provide for the funding of humanitarian needs. May I ask the obvious question? Why can't a comparable program be administered independently of the UN? Answer: it can.

Which brings me full circle back to wondering if the Bush administration isn't actively putting in motion those actions and events that will render the United Nations unnecessary in a few years. I even dare to wonder if, given any further excuse, Congress may decide it is time to withdraw entirely?

One thing is clear, however. Conservative columnists like George Will and Linda Chavez are now actually saying out loud what others have only hinted at. It is time for the US to get out of the United Nations. This objective used to be ascribed solely to "John Birch Society members" and "right wing nuts." This is making a lot of conservatives positively giddy.

Time has allowed the true goals of the UN to be revealed. Time has demonstrated the inability of the UN to fulfill its original purpose. Time will ultimately put an end to the United Nations.

Alan Caruba is the author of "Warning Signs", a collection of his weekly columns, published by Merril Press. A pocket guide by Caruba, "The United Nations Versus the United States", is available from www.anxietycenter.com. © Alan Caruba, 2003

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