The UN: Too Much of a Joke to be Funny
By Alan Nathan
September 4, 2006
At what point does an institution’s incompetence become so expansively documented and self-evident that even the most academically impoverished finally accept its life-threatening uselessness? A quick look back reveals much about America’s embarrassing tolerance of the United Nations’ betrayal, greed, and advocacy of oppression. More important, however, is whether or not that reflection better arms us for today’s most unrivaled and taunting international threat: Iran going nuclear. But first to some glaring reminders of why the UN cannot help in the war against fanatical jihadists of which Iran is a part. First, they never encourage the risking of lives to save lives; second, they steal from those whom they are assigned to help.
When fall-out from the UN’s “Oil-for-Food” scandal reached its peak in April 2004, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan hired former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volker to head the Independent Inquiry Committee’s investigation into the corrupted program. At the time, so many of us thought that the world body’s long denied accountability finally would be realized and consequently trigger its desperately needed reforms. We must have been drunk.
To help Iraqi’s, the program was originally structured as a counterweight to UN sanctions imposed upon that country because of Saddam’s non-compliance with both the terms of surrender in March 1991 and the multiple UN Resolutions that followed.
However, it soon degenerated into a bonanza of graft for Saddam entailing more than $20 billion in “kickbacks” from those whom he bought and sold. He’d sell oil at below market value and then purchase food and medicine at inflated prices. Thanks to UN officials and member-state diplomats, the Iraqi economy got the worst of both ends – selling cheap and buying high, Saddam took pay-offs from those who had much to gain by making it worth his while.
Unfortunately, thanks to global media bias and its ever-declining pursuit of journalistic excellence, the majority of the planet remains impervious to the Volker Report’s most damning conclusions against Kofi Annan. While Annan was not found to have been “on the take,” he was exposed as directly responsible for the cover-up.
The report said that during the last three years of the program, each and every one of the 10,000 Oil-for-Food contracts had corruption written in them. It also found that Kofi Annan was aware of these criminalized contracts and actively shielded them from the UN Security Council – effectively revealing Annan as an accessory after the fact.
Inexcusably, the media’s effort to obscure this reality has been amazingly successful. So few people know about it, there’s consequently no pressure on news outlets to be more challenging with him as he undertakes assignments potentially vulnerable to his diminished integrity.
Annan’s “Teflon” triumph required only the ignorance of the world’s citizenry and apparently the supply was bountiful enough so as to guarantee a virtually unimpeded escape from scorn. In other words, most folks have proven gullible to a manipulating press quite skilled in the arts of omission.
Now testing the UN’s marshmallow resolve, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, allegedly unhygienic but affirmatively unbalanced, is flouting the UN Security Counsel’s demand that his country suspend its uranium enrichment program. Who could blame him? He knows that the UN is predisposed to thinking that enforcement of resolutions is too easily labeled as provocative and counter-productive to peace by Russia and China. What’s so laughable is that history consistently illustrates that it’s the non-enforcement of a resolution that generates these crises.
Should we really continue allowing the UN such a pivotal role in how we combat oppressive regimes given its almost knee-jerk aversion to penalties for violations? Haven’t they often enough demonstrated the kind timidity that ceaselessly undermines the very goals they purport to champion?
The strength of any well-built plan rests upon its foundation. How can we gamble the future of hundreds of millions of people on a strategy that sits atop a platform never built? Even when the UN has a decent idea that somehow careens itself into a respectable resolution, there’s rarely included a binding methodology for its implementation.
The UN Security Council’s Resolution 1559 of 2003 called for Syria to leave Lebanon and ordered the disarming of Iran’s proxy army, Hezbollah. Recently, this terrorist wing of the Lebanese government was permitted to initiate war with Israel because Resolution 1559 was not executed and carried no consequences for non-compliance - largely thanks to what afflicts most resolutions, the absence of Chapter 7 requirements.
These would be mandates obligating all member nation-states to acknowledge and adhere to Security Council sanctions imposed against a universally agreed upon lawless country and its proxies. Once the offenses become extreme enough for Chapter 7 inclusion, military options invariably come into strategic play and the resolution is taken much more seriously. But today, few seem able to admit to the extremes of our time.
Let us be those few. To create a bomb, uranium enrichment needs a cascade of about 2,000 centrifuges (rotating cylinders that separate the different heavy, middle and light-weight atom densities of natural uranium through a spinning centrifugal force). Iran has 1,200 in place but we’re unaware of how many are actually working as well as how many more they could quickly assemble.
When a terrorist-sponsoring state has this much confirmed by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, an organization normally as anxious to appease as its parent, it’s clearly time to consider breaking away from the international body. We must stop cowering under the politically correct fear of being called “unilateralists.”
The United States can no longer subordinate our nation’s interests to the will of other countries in exchange for their approval. That price of acceptance is too high, and we should refuse to pay it.