"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Friday, October 14, 2011

Who needs the UN???


Remember John Bolton?  As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations he once said “There's no such thing as the United Nations. If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.”  This from a lawyer who once boasted that he never took any international law classes while in law school!  Some ambassador (not much of a lawyer either).

Well, the U.N. bashing continues, this time from (who else???) our very own Congress!

Just yesterday the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives voted 23-15 for the United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act (pretty much right down party lines).

The bill would require Washington to cut 50 percent of funding for the U.N. unless it converted to a voluntary contribution system permitting Washington to fund only those agencies and programmes "that advance U.S. interests and values" (hmmmm... wonder what those are???).

The bill would also require Washington to quit the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC); withhold contributions to any U.N. agency or programme that upgrades the current "observer" status of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO); and end U.S. contributions to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the U.N. body charged with aiding Palestinian refugees since 1949.  (Hey, we don't need no stinking human rights, and surely the Palestinians don't need any - RIGHT?!?!?!?!)

Wow!!!  This is something Bolton and all the rest of the neoconservatives (not to mention War Street) must be loving!  Let's face it - The U.S. is already doing whatever it wants to do around the world, and the U.N. just gets in the way.

Of course, if one looks at the U.S. track record of de facto weakening of the U.N. through various means, including withholding contributions for many years, it is obvious that the National Security State has trumped any desire to work in concert with other nations in the spirit of the intent of the U.N.

In 2008 President Obama attempted - and I suppose he's "attempted" many positive things in his tenure as President - to raise the status of the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. to a cabinet level position as it had been in the Clinton administration.  But alas, that got shot down.  The corporate media quoted Bolton (and no one else that I could find) in one story as saying it was unwise to elevate the position to the cabinet again. “One, it overstates the role and importance the U.N. should have in U.S. foreign policy.”  In another story he questioned whether the U.N. — whose culture he said is “impervious to change” — should be so central to U.S. foreign policy.

Well, it certainly can't be "central" to a U.S. foreign policy awash in targeted assasination, torture, illegal detention, illegal wars, conducting covert operations inside the borders of sovereign nations, and that's barely a partial list of transgressions. 

We really do live in what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as The World House, this huge dysfunctional family that has to learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools, and with the horrendous tools of death that we have created (e.g. nuclear weapons) he was not understating the case.  The statue at the U.N. that depicts the beating of swords to plowshares should be a reminder of why the United Nations was formed and of its mission. 

You can read the propaganda at the Committee on Foreign Affairs Website about what they call "landmark legislation."  Then click here to see if your member of Congress is on the committee, and let him/her know what you think we should do regarding the United Nations.

Working Together for Peace,


P.S. - By the way, a recent poll by the UN Foundation and Better World Campaign shows strong support across the political spectrum in the U.S. for the United Nations.  Click here to read more about it.

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