President Trump recently visited the United Nations in New
York City, and spoke to its general assembly of member states.
It was a candid and tough talk. One establishment U.S. media
venue headlined it as “No U.S. President Ever Talked To the
U.N. Like That.” The negative article that followed, of course,
got it all wrong, but the headline was correct. If anything, Mr.
Trump wasn’t tough enough.
The United Nations was conceived in the dark throes of World
War II as a post-war organization that would promote security,
international cooperation, and human rights. It was intended
to succeed where its predecessor, the League of Nations had
failed, that is, to promote peace, security and humanitarianism
among global sovereign nations.
Its stated goals were idealistic and well-meaning, just as were
those of a smaller group that emerged a short time later, the
Common Market that evolved into today’s European Union (EU).
In fact in its early years, the U.N. appeared to be fulfilling its
promise, including creating numerous laudable humanitarian
food, health and economic aid programs to war-torn regions and
undeveloped nations facing famine, disease, violence from within
and without their borders, and lack of capital. It even provided
mostly effective multinational military force in global trouble
The post-war world soon enough also faced a Cold War
competition and confrontation between the developed capitalist
nations of North America, Europe and Asia, and with the
totalitarian communist nations led by the Soviet Union. The
U.N. itself grew from a relatively few initial members to 193
member nations as more and more colonial territories became
independent countries. (Some these nations are smaller in size
than a U.S county and/or smaller in population than a small U.S.
From its genesis, the U.N. conducted its most important business,
especially on issues of international security through its Security
Council with five permanent members, each of which had veto
power over any U.N. action. At the same time in its New York City
headquarters, a growing elite bureaucracy came to dominate the
organization, even as the number of regional conflicts, natural
disasters, and human rights violations increased.
The U.N General Assembly, which includes all member nations,
is now predictably controlled by the large majority of smaller
and mostly undeveloped nations. One nation, one vote ---
regardless of population, area or economic size. Most of the
funding of the United Nations is provided by those democratic
nations whose interests and values are ignored or rejected by
the majority of UN members who control the organization. The
inherent structures of the General Assembly and the Security
Council have made the United Nations a feckless organization
unable to respond usefully to almost any major crisis. Its
bureaucrats, many of whom live in New York in sheltered luxury
at living standards far above what they might enjoy in their home
countries, share ideological world views most Americans would
find alien or cruel or arrogant. As UN workers, they are above
U.S. law, and too often abuse their privileges as our guests.
One of the most egregious failures of the UN today is in human
rights, a vital global cause. Instead of calling out and working
against obvious human rights abuses, it allows nations which
performs some of the worst abuses to sit on its human rights
commission and evade censure.
In fact, the dysfunction of the United Nations is so great that it
is difficult to think of ANY compelling reason to keep it going,
or for the United States to be part of it, pay for so much of it,
and host it in our largest city.
Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved