Roger L. Simon

The UN - its true friends and enemies on the brink of its "Ethics Day"

I have heard the journalist Claudia Rosett referred to us an enemy of the United Nations. I have also read the same of me (to, justifiably, a considerably more minor extent). Neither of us, however, is an enemy of the UN. Indeed, in a certain way people like us could be looked upon as the instution’s greatest hopes because at least we still care. We hold alive the dream of the United Nations at it was once was conceived, not the pitiful corruption center that now exists.

Now that “venerable” institution is headed for its first “UN Ethics Day” (!) in May. (I think they were setting up the comedy writers.) Claudia has written a superb thumbsucker for the occasion in Commentary. Here’s a bit:

Is any of this likely to help? Behind the specific scandals lies what one of the UN’s own internal auditors has termed a “culture of impunity.” A grand committee that reports to itself alone, the UN operates with great secrecy and is shielded by diplomatic immunity. One of its prime defenses, indeed, is the sheer impenetrability of its operations: after more than 60 years as a global collective, it has become a welter of so many overlapping programs, far-flung projects, quietly vested interests, nepotistic shenanigans, and interlocking directorates as to defy accurate or easy comprehension, let alone responsible supervision.