For years, pundits, politicians and columnists - including me - have fiercely criticized the United Nations. This institution has become a political cesspool controlled by totalitarian states and rogue nations that despise democracy, liberty and freedom. It’s only getting worse with time.
Look what’s happened during the past two weeks:
Syria is likely to get a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council. U.N. Watch reported Iran will get a “top post” on the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty conference, which it described as being “like choosing Bernie Madoff to police fraud in the stock market.” Meanwhile, U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan claimed to have had a “very candid and constructive” meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
These are all ridiculous stories, but honestly, should we be surprised? I’m not. The U.N. has a long, sordid history of electing tyrannies and dictatorships to its various agencies, boards and councils. For an organization that vigorously claims to support world peace, it also vigorously - and controversially - supports countries that don’t have the slightest grasp of this concept.
For example, Libya chaired the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 2003 - and was a U.N. Security Council member in 2008 and 2009. Syria has twice headed the U.N. Security Council, in June 2002 and August 2003. Iran and Iraq were scheduled to co-chair a U.N. nuclear disarmament conference before Saddam Hussein was toppled from power in 2003. Additionally, North Korea - a major nuclear threat - headed the U.N. Conference on Disarmament just last year.
Not to be overlooked is the U.N.’s repeated condemnation of Israel’s policies for more than five decades while ignoring the terrible slaughter of Rwandans and Bosnian Muslims in two bloody civil wars, publicly supporting an antiterrorism conference held in Tehran, and refusing to expel members that openly support and finance terrorist groups. The list goes on and on.
The U.N. can use any excuse it wants to absolve itself from blame - choosing countries alphabetically or accepting the verdict of voting blocks - while it turns a blind eye to undemocratic countries. It won’t work because the insanity of these choices is crystal clear. Countries that don’t support human rights shouldn’t be allowed to sit on U.N. human rights commissions. Countries that funnel money and arms to terrorist organizations shouldn’t be allowed to chair U.N. Security Council meetings. And countries that can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons shouldn’t be allowed to lead conferences on nuclear disarmament.
Moreover, the argument that Iran, Syria and North Korea need to participate in diplomacy to become part of the democratic process is nonsense. Eating fine food, drinking expensive champagne and making idle chitchat in comfortable diplomatic circles is one thing, but they also must have a willingness to accept democracy and freedom on their own soil. Without these basic measures on the domestic front, a country’s role on the international scene amounts to little more than keeping up appearances. That’s what is happening at the U.N.
Let’s face facts. The U.N. is a broken-down and dysfunctional organization that has been in a state of collapse for decades. In a 2004 guest column for the Economist, then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan incredulously wrote that his organization “was born in a very different time and designed for a very different world,” and it “clearly needs far-reaching reform if it is to prevent and respond to all the threats that we face today.” What nonsense. The U.N. hasn’t figured out how to adapt to a changing world for more than 60 years - and it doesn’t deserve another 60 years to figure out where it went wrong.
All democratic countries should immediately get out of the U.N. and start a new organization, a League of Democracies. This group would promote important principles such as liberty, democracy and individual rights and freedoms. Global security and public safety would be emphasized strongly. The need for free markets and trade liberalization would be endorsed. Most important, the League of Democracies would refuse or revoke membership for countries that support terrorism.
Who would lead this charge? It must be a major country for it to mean something, and the United States would be an obvious choice. Unfortunately, President Obama’s naive (and idiotic) policy to negotiate with totalitarian states and rogue nations means he will continue to defend the U.N. for the time being.
However, if Mitt Romney wins in November, he surely would be more willing to criticize the organization. In the past, he has been heavily critical of the U.N.’s position toward the United States, the West, Judeo-Christian values and Israel. Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Romney will take that important first step to unite Western democracies and get out of the U.N. for good. Let’s hope so.
Michael Taube is a columnist and former speechwriter for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
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