…understatement of the week in the title of this article…”could be”
On Sept. 8, 2001, three days before the Sept. 11 attack, the U.N. held a “World Conference against Racism” in Durban, South Africa. This disgraceful conference had been taken over by Muslims and their European and American leftist colleagues who professed that only Israel was racist. Nobody mentioned Zimbabwe’s persecution of white farmers, nor Saudi Arabia’s blatant bigotry. Some, who mistakenly expected a real exploration of racism, misogyny and religious bigotry, could only choose to leave. Colin Powell, then our secretary of state, walked out.
Because of the 9/11 attack, the press coverage of this nasty conference melted away. But not to be deterred, the U.N. is putting on a second conference — this time in Geneva, because Durban was too embarrassed to permit a sequel. Columnist Joel Brinkley San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 10, foresees this conference as a major embarrassment to the U.N. and that it will widen the rift between the West and the Muslim world.
As Brinkley notes, the U.N. Planning Committee chairman is Libya; the rapporteur is Cuba; and the new vice chair is Iran — all of these poster children for abuse of human rights. The European Union wanted to discuss freedom of expression, but this subject was found “not acceptable” by Egypt. There is no freedom of expression in Muslim countries for any but official spokesmen, and their populations know this.
The U.N.’s Human Rights Council is organizing this conference, which is monstrous and offensive. The conference will go on, but it is evident that nobody from the West will be there, except for the same radical leftists who think that the only villains in the world are American or Israeli.
This sort of thing will convince conservatives, who already detest the United Nations, that the U.S. should withdraw from it and kick them out of New York. I think it is important for us to know what the U.N. is, what it can do, and what it cannot do. This will prevent us from expecting what is unrealistic — and from throwing out the baby with the bath water.
• Peacekeeping and Peacemaking. The U.N. can only send peacekeepers when two sides of a conflict agree. They are totally incapable of peacemaking, which often means shooting to kill when necessary. This capacity would be needed, for example, to stop the genocide in Darfur.
• The General Assembly. This institution gives all member nations a forum for discussing any global issues. The Assembly operates by giving an equal democratic vote to all member states, regardless of size. The problem is that few of these countries are democracies at all. The Assembly is a cave of winds, making lots of noise and signifying nothing. But it permits venting.
• The Security Council. This council is comprised of five permanent members, the winners of World War II, and 10 rotating two-year members chosen by lot, except for Israel, which has never been chosen. The five permanent members each have a veto over any action taken by the Security Council. If military action is ever called for, it must be led by one of the five — usually the U.S., as in the Korean War. The Soviet veto never happened because they were huffily out of town when that vote was taken.
• Important U.N. agencies. The World Health Organization, UNICEF, UNIFEM, Food and Agriculture, Monetary Fund, and other agencies are enormously helpful to the world. The United States plays a major role in all of these, and the world would be much less secure without them.
• World Court. The court can resolve issues between states — but only when both agree to the jurisdiction. It has recently played a major role in trying human rights violators albeit slowly and picking and choosing. But this is better than nothing, and has in its history the Nuremberg Trials, charting a new course in global human rights.
It would be too bad if we unwisely removed ourselves from the U.N., depriving ourselves of its more useful features and having no clout to affect it.
Agree or disagree with the authors view on staying in the U.N., but she is spot on regarding the travesty of the “conference” and the tyrannical hijacked U.N. Human Rights Council. Here’s an idea – cut U.N. spending in half in 2009, by 3/4 in 2010, and require oil-rich Muslim nations who are taking control of the U.N. to pony up petrol-dollars. When they balk it might indicate leaving the U.N. ain’t such a bad idea.