In their 1974 book A Dangerous Place: The United Nations as a Weapon in World Politics, Abraham Yeselson and Anthony Gaglione warned that the United Nations was a cesspool of special interests, political subversion, and dictatorial regimes intent on pursuing their anti-democratic policies. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Yeselson said: “It will be extraordinarily difficult now to rationalize continued involvement in an organization [the UN] which sponsors wars, passes one-sided or unenforceable resolutions, provides forums for international insult instead of diplomacy, and is guilty of the most outrageous examples of selective justice.” Similarly, in his 1975 book of that title, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Daniel Patrick Moynihan also described the world organization as a “dangerous place.” He meant, of course, a dangerous place for the United States and the free world — or, at least, that part of the free world that wished to remain free. Subsequent developments at the UN have only served to confirm his dire admonitions.
Historian Richard Landes has coined the term “demopaths” to describe such institutions. Demopaths “use democratic language and invoke human rights only when it serves their interests. Demopaths demand stringent levels of human ‘rights’ but do not apply these basic standards … to their own behavior.”
The UN is the demopathic organization par excellence and its spokesmen persist in plying their trade. Its elections for the post of secretary-general have generally drawn from a pool of dubious mediocrities with little sympathy for or knowledge of the history of Western humanism, such as Kurt Waldheim, Kofi Annan, and Ban Ki-moon. The Russian and Chinese stranglehold on the Security Council has always meant that decisions favoring the West would inevitably succumb to their veto power. The Organization of the Islamic Conference effectively dominates the General Assembly, which is in any case often headed by anti-Western, socialist-inspired figures like Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann or representatives of tyrannical regimes like its current president Ali Abdussalam Treki, who hails from, of all places, Libya.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has dedicated its attention almost exclusively to the denunciation of Israel, the only genuine democracy in the Middle East. The Council features two agendas at its annual session: one allotted to Israel, the other to the rest of the world. Anyone speaking out in defense of Israel is liable to be removed from the premises, as happened recently to UN-accredited Anne Bayevsky, a professor of political science at York University and director of the Touro Law Center’s Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. To add injury to injury, the UNHRC has gone soft on Sharia, announcing on June 16, 2008, that criticism of Sharia law would now be contraindicated.
The result of so bigoted and sectarian an agenda is a foregone conclusion, as witness the infamous Goldstone Report reprehending Israel for war crimes in Operation Cast Lead — by all unbiased accounts a defensive campaign doing its utmost to avoid civilian casualties — while essentially acquitting Hamas, among the world’s most flagrant terrorist organizations, for the crimes it did commit. The dossier has now been forwarded to the Security Council with a view to referring it to the International Criminal Court. As has been pointed out by many commentators, it is not only Israel that may find itself in the prisoner’s dock, but any nation which has the audacity to defend itself against terrorist attacks, including the United States.
President Obama’s incomprehensible decision to bring the United States into the UNHRC’s fold will ineluctably come back to haunt it. (Perhaps this lamentable move is one of the reasons that Obama was fulsomely praised by Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi, who called him “our son” and “our Obama,” wishing him president for life.) The U.S. has announced its good intentions, but it should be evident to any rational observer that so corrupt an institution as the UNHRC cannot be reformed or deterred — only abolished.
The United Nations has, in point of fact, become a safe haven for international terrorists and abuser nations. It has yet to define the notion and practice of “terrorism” and has chosen to ignore its own Convention on Genocide, under Articles 3 and 8 of which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to take a most conspicuous example, should be indicted for incitement to genocide. As of this date, no action has been taken to subpoena the Iranian president for threatening to “wipe Israel off the map” — quite the opposite. When Ahmadinejad received his third annual invitation to address the UN plenum and delivered what amounted to a virulent anti-Semitic speech, he was warmly embraced by Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann to the cheering and clapping of a plenum of delegates. Let us remember, too, that it was from the UN building in Vienna that nuclear expert Timothy Hampton, a member of the Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, mysteriously fell to his death on October 20, 2009, one day before the resumption of nuclear disarmament talks with Iran. The UN has refused to investigate the incident.
Then we have the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which has still to explain the admission of its former commissioner, Peter Hansen, in a CBC TV interview on October 3, 2004, that “I am sure there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll.” On employing members of an avowed terrorist group proscribed in many Western countries, Hansen commented: “I don’t see this as a crime.” UNRWA’s unspoken purpose is to keep the Middle East aflame, perpetuating a crisis from which it derives its warrant for existence. In the process, it has become nothing less than a terrorist consortium by another name.
All this is not to mention the United Nations’ voracity for scandal. To name a well-known few: the Congo sex scandal; the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal; the $5.2 billion UNDP (United Nations Development Program) scandal involving hiring irregularities and violation of financial controls and competitive bidding rules; its allowing the North Korean regime to use its bank account to transfer funds and, according to the Heritage Foundation, “to facilitate payments to a company that has ties to an entity involved in arms dealings”; and the nepotistic Ban’s recent appointing of his own son-in-law Siddarth Chatterjee to the position of regional director for Europe and the Middle East at the UN Office for Project Services. That the secretary-general also sent a letter of congratulation to Iranian tyrant Ahmadinejad on his recent — stolen — election should not surprise us. The UN’s effort and Ban’s pet project to effect a massive subsidy scheme benefiting “the world’s worst-governed states” via the climate change scam, at the cost of the Western taxpayer, is only the latest in an unending series of rebarbative interventions.
There is no question that the UN has become the servant of the world’s most illiberal regimes — Russia, China, Latin American autocracies, and, of course, the Arab bloc. The General Assembly’s passage on December 18, 2008, of a resolution condemning “defamation of religion” is nothing short of a concerted attempt to suppress free speech that is deemed offensive to special interest groups; under such a “gag rule,” the Danish cartoons would never have been printed and criticism of Islam would become indictable. “The efforts to ban criticism of Islam through human rights law at the UN,” argues Jacob Mchangama of the University of Copenhagen, “turns human rights on their head … rather than protecting individuals from oppressive dogmas.” Amen.
The tendency among Western electorates to regard the UN with dewy-eyed respect, believing that it incarnates the dream of world peace and social justice, is a salient instance of the retrograde thinking and lack of realism that has increasingly placed the free world at the mercy of its enemies. For the UN is nothing like the hallucination of its Western advocates, the sweet-minded, the uninformed, the sanctimonious, and the steadfastly ignorant. It is, rather, public enemy number one. It is the command center of a maniple of nations, many of them outright despotisms and one-party kleptocracies, others third-world resenters determined to strip the developed nations of their prerogatives and to ensure the transfer of wealth to their own coffers, and others still, languid appeasers and collaborators — Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, Scandinavia — gradually surrendering their title to credible sovereignty. We continue to support the UN at our peril, unwilling to confront the corruption which vitiates the mandate of this supposedly august body and denying in the face of all the evidence its advancing anti-Western and anti-democratic enterprise.
It is now literally impossible for even the most unconscionable accounting to do justice, so to speak, to the United Nations’ shameful chronicle of injustice. It is equally impossible, unless one is devoted to maintaining a profoundly egregious fiction, to see it as anything but an implacable adversary of a way of life we have long taken for granted. Its largest financial sponsor is the United States, which goes on playing by a set of rules that are rigged against its interests. Yet no American president thus far has had the courage to cut loose from this venal and debased organization whose principal raison d’être, apart from its misprision of Israel, is to embarrass, stymie, and undermine America’s foreign and domestic policies. George W. Bush permitting himself to be insulted at a UN podium by a treacherous clown like Hugo Chavez stands as an emblem of the true relation between the two entities. Were the United States to act with dignity and foresight, it would withdraw the funding on which the UN floats and let it sink into desuetude, where it belongs.
The UN is a snare and a delusion. One wonders how much longer this farce will persist. The UN reminds me of Woody Allen’s definition of eternity: it’s very long, especially toward the end. If Western leaders cannot muster the fortitude to challenge their own beguiled electorates and buck public opinion, or if they decline to confront their own hypocrisy in sustaining this lupine outfit, then the future of the West will grow ever more problematic. The time has come for the UN to go. Indeed, the time came for it to go thirty-five years ago when it was already obvious that the United Nations was “a dangerous place.”