Not Optimistic

Long time readers of this blog know that Iím not very happy with the United Nations. I think that itís a corrupt, money hungry organization that routinely fails to live up to itís promises or hype. Nothing would make me happier to live long enough to witness itís end.

Supporters claim that it provides a great service to the majority of the worldís population and governments. The voices and concerns of smaller nations would remain unaired and unheard without the forum that the UN provides. If this is the case then I think the world can do it cheaper and more efficiently. Tear down the UN and replace it with something thatís not impotent with a bloated bureaucracy, doesnít pander to despots and murderous dictators, and isnít reflexively anti-American.

Considering all that, it should be a surprise that I wasnít very enthused when I read this news item. (Hat tip to Sondra K.) It seems that the US House of Representatives has passed a bill that will require the UN to reform in order to avoid a serious reduction in contributions from the United States. The purpose is to force reform and reduce corruption.

The reason why I donít support this move is because it allows the UN to hedge itís bets. They can lurch along for decades on a reduced cash flow from the US, while cutting them off completely might just cause a total collapse. Token attempts at reform will allow supporters to claim that the United Nations has become a new organization, and that the US should start paying 100% again. (Any similarity between this fanciful scenario and how Saddamís supporters actually tried to get sanctions against Iraq lifted is completely intended.)

Bottom line is that I think the US should sit back and allow the UN enough rope to hang itself. Link continued payments to reforms and unelected bureaucrats will be motivated to keep their hands out of the cookie jar. Let them operate as usual and eventually they wonít be able to cover up the corruption and incompetence.

11 thoughts on “Not Optimistic”

  1. James,
    Sometimes it does seem the giving them enough rope has seemed to work lately in a lot of ways. Tolerance or cynicism? Perhaps they are always blended – kind of Mr. Bennett’s sitting back and enjoying Mrs. Bennet’s folly?

  2. James,

    I posted on the UN in part below…

    Basically, we’re in agreement. But I think we’re not clearly defining the debate. To write of reforming the “UN” is over vague. The UN is actually a consortium of organizations that huddle under the principle “diplomatic” banner of the UN. As long as Americans fail to distinguish between the “diplomatic” aspect of the UN (and its funding), and the NON-core organizations like UNICEF, the WHO, the ILO, & etc. no reform is likely.

    If it were made clear that the MAJORITY of the sub-organizations of the UN WERE NOT defined by either Treaty or necessitated under the Charter, attempts at reform might be productive. This is because the majority of funds paid to the UN by the US go to secondary affiliated UN bodies, and fall under the category of ‘voluntary’ payments. Congress doesn’t grasp that the portions of the UN System that are funded by “voluntary” US payments are MANAGED by and indistinguishable from the UN as a whole. Instead of withholding the $2-3 billion of funding that goes to core UN operations, like Peace Keeping, which is unpopular and makes the US look hypocritical, Congress could and should demand reform elsewhere within the UN system first. The effect would be the same, and we wouldn’t be forced to defend obvious and reasonable requests for accountablity.

  3. …I think we’re not clearly defining the debate. To write of reforming the “UN” is over vague.

    Actually, I’m trying to clearly write of dismantling the whole sorry mess. My position is that, at the end of the day when everything is added up, the UN is actually harmful. Example: consider how some UN peacekeepers set up sexual slavery rings with children as the slaves while on the job!

    If you think that’s an isolated incidence, then please remember the inability to define terrorism for decades, or the way that the organization failed to label the killing in Darfur “genocide”.

    Any way you slice it, this is a huge steaming pile of failure. The UN drops the ball and people lose their lives.

    So I think that the rot, corruption and bureacratic incompetence is now woven so tightly through the fabric of the organization that it’s a waste of time to attempt reforms, and that any effort to do so might actually cover up further tragedies that the UN is responsible for.


  4. Japan announced last year(?) they were also cutting their dues in the near future.

    We have to remember when that org was set up, very few countries were wealthy.

    Now they are and it’s time for them to pony up their fair share.

    What I would like to see is NYC remove WWII rent controls so their diplomats can also pay their fair share in housing or downsize.

  5. It’s an easy out. In a perfect world (or at least my perfect world) they should not have tied it to reform, they should have just cut it completely. All the U.N. would have to do is conform to the letter of reforms demanded, without conforming to the spirit of reforms. Knock down the building and auction off the land, Trump can across the street. That and this cancellation of $40 billion in African debt has me cheesed. Party time again for African despots. Bring back the stretch limos and call girls, and thank the American taxpayers.

  6. James,

    I’m unable and unwilling to dispute your position, as I think that there’s a very good chance that you’re correct. My point is not that the UN is good, but rather than it is better than European controlled mercantilist empires or the League of Nations.

    The analogy I use in a post below is that of a poorly trained dog (the UN). Your position is basically that the US doesn’t really need the dog, and as it isn’t worth the effort to train we should put it down. That is, I think, an option that might turn out to be necessary. But sadly there are others with a say in the mangy mongrels fate. And they actually like it. They like that it annoys us, and they encourage it to do so. They like to see it steal food off the table, as long as it is our plate that suffers.

    But a dog is just a dog, nothing more or less. The problem isn’t really the UN, the problem is those Countries that won’t let the US train the darn thing on one hand, and our own unwillingness to accept that we have allies that want the UN to steal from our plates and pee on our carpet.

  7. Approve John Bolton as UN ambassador, and do whatever he recommends as far as funding. You really can’t go wrong there.

  8. Bill,

    When Whitehall bureaucrats try in their own hamfisted way to undermine a US nominee to the UN, which they’re trying with Bolton, you know the guy is right for the job. What higher recommendation is there than open fear in London at the prospect of his appointment?

  9. I believe that the original commentator, James r. Rummel, should return to the fundamental reasons why the UN was established! It was built from the collective memory of world-wide carnage caused by the struggle to resist the Fascist powers, and an honest attempt to bring and build a common (as in village common) where nations could attempt to iron out their differences. The basic built-in flaw was to allow the Veto to overrule a majority on the Security council, and that Organisation has suffered for that decision ever since.The problem of bloc voting, which emerged in the General Assembly, whose later votes enraged a conservative America did not help either!
    The tendency of bureaucracies to enlarge themselves has been well-know for many years, and as the UN itself does not seem capable of reform, I believe that the only way for the true democracies of the world to proceed is not to resign their membersahips, but to place them in abeyance, except on the Security Council, where a presence should retain a watching brief to forestall rogue declarations against Israel, or the U.S. itself; and commence the formation of a new U.N., only one which has a bit of muscle, and does not use the term !peace-keeping”, but instead uses a better term, such as “Police Operations”, remebering that in the United States, all policemen come complete with rather large guns!

  10. A bit off track I know, but isn’t the UN the ringmaster in the whole global warming circus? The certainty of the anti american, anti globalisation “cures” to the uncertain science is certainly right out of their playbook. Cutting funding there might be fun. Wonder how many people would be so certain on GW if it wasn’t tied to future funding?

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