The United Nations is Rapidly Making Itself Irrelevant

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The United Nations is in the process of making itself irrelevant. It has spent the last 12 years drawing lines in the sand and telling Iraq’s Saddam Hussein that he had better not cross them. Each time, Saddam crossed the newly drawn line and laughed at the UN. And each time, the UN drew a new line, but did nothing about the previous violations.

The fact that the UN’s credibility is now on life support does not mean the UN has never accomplished anything or that it cannot achieve something of value in the future. Reform is always possible. The UN may be able to aid refugees or help fight disease in the third world. However, it is not clear that other organizations with similar funding couldn’t do better.


But, when it comes to the war on terrorism, the UN is diminishing itself. If the UN continues on its current path, it will write its own obituary. The League of Nations suffered a similar fate some 60 years ago — dying of self-inflicted wounds to its credibility.

The reasons for UN’s lack of credibility are numerous, but three of the most significant factor include: (i) the UN operates on a false premise, (ii) the UN is profoundly confused and rudderless, and (iii) the UN has become a forum for second-rate nations to bash America.

First, the UN operates on the false premise that all nations are equal. However, some nations are outlaws and rogues. Some are upstanding international citizens. And many fall somewhere in between. Yet, the UN pretends that all nations are equal.

For example, the US recently lost its seat on the UN Human Rights Commission. This UN commission is now chaired by Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya — a terrorist nation with a shocking human rights record. This is like asking a Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard to chair the Equal Opportunity Commission. But to the UN, it is progress.

Second, the UN has become so perplexed by the “complexities” of the war against terrorism that it cannot figure out who to support. The UN says it wants Saddam to disarm. Yet, the UN is unwilling to do anything to further its stated goal.

The UN argues that the inspectors need more time — while ignoring the fact that Saddam only agreed to the inspector’s return because he did not want the U.S. Armed Forces to return. Saddam is playing the UN for fools as he plays cat and mouse games with inspectors and hopes that the same UN luminaries who thought Libya should head the Human Rights Commission will protect him from accountability and call for more delays.

Third, the UN has become a platform for wannabe nations to denounce the US and blame the world’s problems on America. Worse yet, this anti-American forum is disproportionately paid for by US taxpayers. Almost one-fourth of the UN’s general revenues come from the US. The U.S.’s share of peace keeping expenses is even higher. The remaining 190 member nations of the UN split the remaining costs.

For this hefty investment, we are treated to the spectacle of Libya, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, and others moralizing about America’s shortcomings. Yet, the US is the one stabilizing force for democracy and long-term peace in the world today.

If the UN doesn’t fully reform its operations and bolster its credibility, it will suffer a quick death of irrelevancy just as the League of Nations did. Wouldn’t it be a strange twist of fate if Saddam’s last victory were the demise of the UN?

”’George C. Landrith is the president of Frontiers of Freedom Institute.”’