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The UN in the throes of crisis

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted June 20, 2005

“Take the US out of the UN, and the UN out of the US!” Certainly, I like the sound of it. It’s the type of rhetoric that enmeshed with a strong feel-good element, particularly for political conservatives. However, is it likely that the US is going to withdraw from the UN? And, is any administration, whether Republican or Democrat, going to expel the UN from the US anytime soon? Let’s be honest. The answers are no and no. And I say this with all due sadness.

The UN is clearly a den of both iniquity and inequity. But what of justice? If we could magically rely upon “instant karma” for justice to prevail, then UN personnel would be banished from New York City forthwith, and sent packing to their partners-in-crime over in France, Germany, Russia or China. It would be a joy to see the UN set up their headquarters in one of those nations that had high ranking officials conniving with UN personnel and Saddam Hussein for the purpose of bilking of the UN Oil-for-Food program.

Sure they all made filthy lucre from the nefarious wheeling and dealing (bribes, kickbacks, etc.), while the starving people of Iraq – who were originally designated to benefit from the Oil-for-Food program – got short-shrift. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is currently being probed for any “conflict of interest” stemming from a major UN Oil-for-Food contract that had been awarded to the company, Cotecna, which employed his son Kojo. In my opinion, he should also be investigated for facilitating ill-gotten gains that were powerful incentives for other nations to back-stab the US at the UN during the lead-up to the Iraq War. However, all this Oil-for-Food corruption (that’s been accurately dubbed a "Sopranos' Scheme") is only the tip of the iceberg for the UN.

The UN has evolved into a thoroughly decadent institution, rife with malfeasance and incompetence, which: 1) has failed to prevent genocides in Rwanda and Sudan during this past decade; 2) does nothing to rein-in corrupt UN peacekeepers that have involved themselves in human trafficking (victims reportedly from Bosnia, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and other former Soviet states) and sexual assaults in the Congo and elsewhere in Africa; 3) permits tyrannical regimes to utilize the UN as a forum to spout anti-American and anti-Semitic claptrap; 4) makes a mockery of human rights by assigning despotic and abusive regimes as members of the UN Human Rights Commission (i.e. Libya, Sudan, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Togo, Syria, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam); 5) does virtually nothing to promote democracy; 6) does virtually nothing to combat the awful problem of worldwide terrorism; 7) refuses to enforce its own resolutions, as seen most notably in the case of Saddam’s Iraq; 8) exhibits little respect for national sovereignty; and, 9) seeks the authority to engage in global taxation (i.e. tax on emails, Internet use, international airline travel, fossil fuels such as gasoline, coal, oil, etc.) to fill its empty coffers. And these are only the most glaring of the UN’s reprehensible actions.

And how can I possibly leave out the infamous “looting the eateries’ episode by UN staff to fully round out the institution’s well-earned reputation of being a pit of slimeballs devoid of basic manners and integrity. On 5/2/03, UN cafeteria and restaurant workers walked off their jobs in a “wildcat strike”, which set the stage for UN lunacy. UN employees, including diplomats, then participated in an extensive looting spree, stealing all available food and even stripping the UN’s five eateries of all their silverware. The cupboards were literally left bare. Nice bunch over at the UN! And these unsavory characters want to rule the world? But I digress.

In the short run, the most we can hope for are some reforms over at the UN. John Bolton, if installed as US ambassador to the UN, would certainly aid the cause. Mind you, I’m not expecting an enormous amount of improvement, even though we’re now threatening to cut the UN off from a significant amount of US funding. But some movement in the right direction is absolutely essential at this juncture, given the UN’s strong propensity to engage in illegal and unethical actions, and irresponsible spending. In other words, the UN is imploding. Republican Congressman Henry Hyde has authored vital legislation known as the Henry J. Hyde U.N. Reform Act of 2005, which passed 221-184 and requires the United Nations to mend its ways or lose fifty percent of US dues (the US contributes 22 percent of the UN’s overall financial support). When all is said and done, my hunch is that the UN will continue in its downward trajectory of irrelevancy, although the process will be somewhat slowed by US intervention. The one intriguing possibility is that former president Bill Clinton takes over as Secretary-General of the UN, as he has voiced interest in that position. What will then play out is anybody’s guess.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.


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