Jay Reding.com

End The UN

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, will step down from his post when his recess appointment ends. Bolton would probably not win a nomination fight with the Democratic-controlled Senate, and he’s been quite vocal about the problems he’s faced at Turtle Bay.

To replace him, President Bush should nominate no one.

The United States should formally begin a process from withdrawal from the United Nations. The UN no longer stands as a body that perpetuates peace, but as the most corrupt and reprehensible organization on the planet. The US should not fund nor should we participate an institution that engages in frequent human-rights abuses against the very people they’re trying to help. From child abuse to sex slavery to the largest financial scandal in human history, the UN has proven itself to be utterly unworthy of US funding or attention.

The UN is more concerned with attacking Israel than combating the abuses of its own peacekeepers. They’d rather criticize the United States than deal with the fact that their own troops are raping children, facilitating the slave trade, and engaging in bribery. Why should we involve ourselves with an agency that lacks the moral fortitude to call Darfur an act of genocide? The world knows it is, yet the UN has consistently refused to invoke the Articles in Contravention of Genocide and actually do something about the situation.

Bolton’s departure is a loss for the United States, and undoubtedly the Democrats would prefer to replace him with someone more amenable to the wretched status quo in Turtle Bay. Bush should do them no favors in that regard. The United Nations has had chance after chance to prove itself worthy — and each time they have failed.

The President should work with his colleagues in democratic states across the globe to form a new international community that is based strictly on democratic membership. States like India, the world’s most populous democracy, are given short shrift by the UN in favor of autocratic states like Russia or China. That produces an outcome that naturally favors autocracy and brutality while chest-thumping resolutions condemning responsible states for far less egregious acts become the norm. A true international force for justice would not allow for such waste. Instead, the United States and other democratic nations should form a Community of Democracies dedicated to preserving and expanding the protections of democratic values and human rights across the globe.

The UN has abrogated its mission, they have betrayed their values, and they have failed to do their duty. If they cannot change, and with Bolton’s departure the chances of reform seem slim, then it is time to create an institution that will.

UPDATE: Corrected Ambassador Bolton’s name.

21 responses to “End The UN”

  1. Seth says:

    There is literally no threat to American security we will face this century that does not require America working with and leading the world. Terrorism, diseases, climate change, nuclear proliferation–every one of these will require America being an active participant. Unilateralism, unless absolutely necessary, is not only foolish, it’s counter to America’s best national security interests.

    Given that, dropping out of the UN would place us in company where not even the most extreme fascists would dare go. We have the power to change the UN. We should. But dropping out would alienate the same people we will need for our security for the coming generations. Such a short-sighted policy will only hurt America in both the short-tern and long-term.

  2. Jay Reding says:

    There is literally no threat to American security we will face this century that does not require America working with and leading the world. Terrorism, diseases, climate change, nuclear proliferation–every one of these will require America being an active participant. Unilateralism, unless absolutely necessary, is not only foolish, it’s counter to America’s best national security interests.

    Which is why I suggest replacing the UN with a Council of Democracies.

    Given that, dropping out of the UN would place us in company where not even the most extreme fascists would dare go. We have the power to change the UN. We should. But dropping out would alienate the same people we will need for our security for the coming generations. Such a short-sighted policy will only hurt America in both the short-tern and long-term.

    The people we would alienate are precisely the right people. China and Russia’s interests are inimical to our security, and given that the UN Security Council gives them the ability to set the standards for everyone, there’s no reason of national interest for us staying involved in the UN.

  3. Will says:

    “The UN … stands as … the most corrupt and reprehensible organization on the planet.”

    You might want to think about toning down the hyperbole *just a tad*.

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  5. Jay Reding says:

    You might want to think about toning down the hyperbole *just a tad*.

    What other organization has pulled off a financial scandal as big as Oil for Food? What other organization has done so much to cover up the malfeasance of its own people? What other organization has allowed its personnel to so rapaciously prey upon the most vulnerable on the planet?

    Oil for Food, Sbrenica, inaction in Rwanda and Darfur, rape, prostitution, sexual slavery, etc., the UN has its hands in all of them.

    Sadly, in this case, I’m not at all convinced that statement is hyperbole…

  6. Mark says:

    “The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Jeb Bolton,”

    Jeb Bolton? I guess his leadership was pretty reminiscent of the Beverly Hillbillies now that you mention it.

  7. Jay Reding says:

    Jeb Bolton? I guess his leadership was pretty reminiscent of the Beverly Hillbillies now that you mention it.

    Never mind, I always seem to confuse the former Ambassador with a former colleague of mine. I blame law school

    And for the record, Ambassador Bolton was a very successful ambassador — while the media was asleep, he worked with the French to put pressure on Syria after the assassination of Rafik Hariri. It was a major diplomatic success, which both conservatives and liberals tended to completely ignore.

  8. Seth says:

    Russia has poorly guarded nuclear weapons, open gateways through many terrorist areas, and a growing Islamic terror threat within its own country in Chechnya. China will soon send as many greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere as we do and is the only player in the region that can talk sense to North Korea.

    And Jay says they have nothing to do with our security.

    Simply stunning. Do you really live in the same world the rest of humanity does?

    Democracies already work well together. They don’t need a council outside of things like the G8, NATO or the EU. The people you want to cut out are precisely the people we need to engage.

    To say nothing of the fact that determining who has a democracy is extremely political. Quasi-elections might work if the partner is extremely strategic (think Egypt), but does the same thing work in Venezuela? Or what about Russia, whom you apparently think we should kick out?

  9. Jay Reding says:

    Russia has poorly guarded nuclear weapons, open gateways through many terrorist areas, and a growing Islamic terror threat within its own country in Chechnya. China will soon send as many greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere as we do and is the only player in the region that can talk sense to North Korea.

    Yes, which is precisely why allowing them to have veto power on the Security Council doesn’t make sense. There are other avenues for engaging with Russia and China then going through the UN.

    The UN is not the only international institution out there, nor should it be.

    Democracies already work well together. They don’t need a council outside of things like the G8, NATO or the EU. The people you want to cut out are precisely the people we need to engage.

    We need to engage them, but in a different way than the UN allows. Russia and China have been halting action to engage Iran on the nuclear issue, they’ve halted efforts to intervene in Darfur, and their own interests are at odds with world peace. Pretending otherwise is simply naive.

    To say nothing of the fact that determining who has a democracy is extremely political. Quasi-elections might work if the partner is extremely strategic (think Egypt), but does the same thing work in Venezuela? Or what about Russia, whom you apparently think we should kick out?

    It is a difficult question, but not an impossible one. There are plenty of metrics one can use to determine what level of democracy is acceptable. Free and fair multiparty elections would be one prerequisite, but by no means would not be the only one.

  10. Seth says:

    1.) Using your definition of democracy (so far), Russia is in. So is Venezuela. The entire Middle East is out (I’m sure that will do wonders for our reputation). The bottom line is that any metric you right wingers would come up with would be arbitrary and politically motivated to keep friends in.

    Would it be beneficial in some ways to leave the UN? Sure it would. But would any of the meager benefits wrought from it outweight the absolutely disastrous signal it would send to the rest of the world? Not in this lifetime. Doing something like this would alienate not only the people we need to engage, but probably every ally we have left after 6 years of Bush.

  11. Jay Reding says:

    1.) Using your definition of democracy (so far), Russia is in. So is Venezuela. The entire Middle East is out (I’m sure that will do wonders for our reputation).

    Except free and fair elections are only one of the criteria. A good starting point would be the Warsaw Declaration.

    The bottom line is that any metric you right wingers would come up with would be arbitrary and politically motivated to keep friends in.

    Of course, it’s always about those evil right-wingers isn’t it?

    Would it be beneficial in some ways to leave the UN? Sure it would. But would any of the meager benefits wrought from it outweight the absolutely disastrous signal it would send to the rest of the world? Not in this lifetime. Doing something like this would alienate not only the people we need to engage, but probably every ally we have left after 6 years of Bush.

    So instead we gain nothing but sitting on a body that is not only ineffective but dangerous just out of fear of rocking the boat… sorry, but that line of logic doesn’t fly. The UN can’t do the job, and they’re doing far more harm than good. Until someone has the fortitude to tell the emperor he’s naked, the bloody status quo will only result in harm to millions more.

  12. Seth says:

    Except you’ll notice Venezuela on that. And I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t let Chavez in. And aside from Jordan, Qatar (who isn’t exactly anti-terrorist), Kuwait and Turkey, we’re going to have to go unilateral with the Middle East. Which is working out really well right now.

    No one is saying we sit on the UN. But we have the power to change it. And as long as we aren’t stupid enough to send someone there who wants to get rid of it–meaning we effectively have almost no power at all–we can change it for the better.

    Abandoning it means we go it alone in foreign policy for at least the next 20 years. Sweet.

  13. Jay Reding says:

    Except you’ll notice Venezuela on that. And I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t let Chavez in. And aside from Jordan, Qatar (who isn’t exactly anti-terrorist), Kuwait and Turkey, we’re going to have to go unilateral with the Middle East. Which is working out really well right now.

    Unless Chavez does something that breaks Venezuelan democracy, we’d probably have to. Democracies don’t have to agree – although I suspect that Chavez’s actions will ensure that Venezuelan democracy dies in the very near future.

    So we’d be acting unilaterally in the Middle East, except for Jordan, Qatar (who happens to have a very large US base in Doha), Kuwait, and Turkey — and Israel. Somehow I fail to see a definition of unilateral that encompasses 5 regional powers.

    No one is saying we sit on the UN. But we have the power to change it. And as long as we aren’t stupid enough to send someone there who wants to get rid of it–meaning we effectively have almost no power at all–we can change it for the better.

    Nobody who would seriously be willing to change the UN has a chance of getting through the Senate right now. Plus, it’s an open question whether the UN isn’t so hopelessly corrupt that changing it is impossible without taking the whole thing down.

    Abandoning it means we go it alone in foreign policy for at least the next 20 years. Sweet.

    No, it doesn’t. That’s what is called a “false dichotomy.” We can leave the UN and pursue a Council of Democracies. We can leave the UN and use a network of bilateral and multilateral relations like NATO, the G8, or the WTO to achieve our goals. There’s nothing about the UN that makes it the only avenue for international engagement, no matter what its defenders would argue.

  14. Seth says:

    I somehow think you’d find a way to keep Venezuela out because you don’t like its politics.

    Do you think Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey would choose us or Saudi Arabia and Egypt? The point being, after we pull out, we’re losing everyone that isn’t strategically tied to us. So we’d keep Israel. Not to mention the fact that the people we need on board right now–the Saudis, Egyptians, Palestinians, Lebanese, Afghanis, Pakistanis, etc–are all out. So we keep the five smallest and/or most diplomatically powerless 5 and thumb our nose at the people we need. What a wonderful foreign policy.

    People who can change the UN don’t have to be right-wing nutjobs. So someone could probably get through the Senate (actually get through this time) and do quite a bit of good.

    And that wasn’t actually a false dichotomy. Dichotomy, yes. Pulling out of the UN and starting our own exclusive UN would bring no one except Israel and maybe one or two others with us. It would alienate us to the point that we would not be able to broker any sort of international agreement for 20 years. We would lose allies. Countries on the fence would turn against us. Nothing makes the UN the only avenue, but pulling out would mean we lose every avenue.

  15. Jay Reding says:

    I somehow think you’d find a way to keep Venezuela out because you don’t like its politics.

    So you think Chavez is a democratic leader? Chavez is turning Venezuela into a police state – but I suppose so long as it’s the right kind of police state the left will still apologize for him.

    Do you think Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey would choose us or Saudi Arabia and Egypt? The point being, after we pull out, we’re losing everyone that isn’t strategically tied to us. So we’d keep Israel. Not to mention the fact that the people we need on board right now–the Saudis, Egyptians, Palestinians, Lebanese, Afghanis, Pakistanis, etc–are all out. So we keep the five smallest and/or most diplomatically powerless 5 and thumb our nose at the people we need. What a wonderful foreign policy.

    Again, there’s nothing that says we can’t engage with those nations outside of the UN. In fact, very little of our diplomatic activity goes through the UN. It never has. The UN is largely inconsequential to American foreign policy, and always has been. Walking away from it would not have the effects you say they would.

    People who can change the UN don’t have to be right-wing nutjobs. So someone could probably get through the Senate (actually get through this time) and do quite a bit of good.

    Name one.

    And that wasn’t actually a false dichotomy. Dichotomy, yes. Pulling out of the UN and starting our own exclusive UN would bring no one except Israel and maybe one or two others with us. It would alienate us to the point that we would not be able to broker any sort of international agreement for 20 years. We would lose allies. Countries on the fence would turn against us. Nothing makes the UN the only avenue, but pulling out would mean we lose every avenue.

    The reason why the US is in the position that it is in has nothing to do with the UN and everything to do with the fact that we’re the largest economy on the planet, have the largest military, and the largest cultural influence. The idea that everyone would turn away from us is ridiculous. What are they going to do, cut off exports to the world’s largest market? Refuse to take American imports and anger their people? Snub us diplomatically?

    The reality is that the world needs us a hell of a lot more than we need the UN. Even if we so much as make a credible threat of pulling out, it’s assured that the UN would be forced to take things much more seriously then they do now.

  16. Seth says:

    1.) No one is apologizing for Chavez. I’m just noting that he is elected in open democratic elections that are regularly scheduled and Venezuela is part of the Warsaw Pact. It’s supposed to highlight the fact that by ‘democratic nations’ you mean ‘countries that agree with us on just about everything.’ Presumably, the countries that agree with us on everything don’t need to have an exclusive world body.

    2.) Regardless of whether we do a lot within the UN, pulling out would have disastrous effects on the opinions of people in key parts of the world. As you are fond of saying, actions have consequences.

    3.) I’m not privvy to knowledge of ambassadors. I can’t really name one, but at least I know the guy who’s been there isn’t named Jeb. I would say a diplomat in the style of McGovern could get a lot done. Someone in the style of Jimmy Carter could be another. Of course, then we’d need someone who isn’t a right-wing ideologue, and when this Administration chooses between ideology and American interests, the latter doesn’t have a very good track record.

    4.) Regardless of who needs whom more, as I’ve said: Every single threat to America in this century will reguire a fully global solution. Pulling out would dangerously diminish our ability to bargain in key parts of the world and would hurt our ability to lead among our allies. Many of which have been diplomatically snubbing us since Bolton was nominated, so diplomatic tensions aren’t exactly out of the realm of possibility. Basically, they’d start bargaining without us on things like climate change, disease, nuclear proliferation and possibly terrorism (or at least be less willing to work with us), robbing the U.S. of an ability to lead the world on those issues. And it would clearly damage our diplomatic position in the Middle East–the area where we need to come from the strongest point right now. How do you think Saudi Arabia and Egypt would take this? And perhaps more importantly, what do you think this would do in Syria and Iran?

    I think you’ve lost all ability to lecture me on actions having consequences in the future.

  17. Seth says:

    Sorry, Warsaw Declaration.

  18. Erica says:

    What other organization has pulled off a financial scandal as big as Oil for Food? What other organization has done so much to cover up the malfeasance of its own people? What other organization has allowed its personnel to so rapaciously prey upon the most vulnerable on the planet?

    The Bush White House? Just a thought. As a delightful excercize for the reader, compare the amount of money embezzled as part of Oil for Food with the amount of money that has vanished, unaccountably, from the Iraqi reconstruction budget. See also the White House defense of Claude Allen, David Safarian, Dusty Foggo, etc. As for the last, i.e. “preying on the most vulnerable”, see essentially every White House policy ever.

    In other words it’s fairly hypocritical for Jay to criticize the UN when his Golden Boy in the White House is ten times as guilty of those things.

  19. Seth says:

    I could get on board with Jim Leach for the spot. Your boys over at the National Review are calling for Rick Santorum, which would be almost as good as Bolton.

  20. Justin Paul says:

    What do you want the UN to do about Darfur? It didn’t help that last my the Darfur Liberartion Army (that’s not the exact name, forgive me) rejected a peace settlement. Who remembers that 15 years ago those being attacked in Darfur were the attackers? Just like the Western press swallowed the lie of Good Albanian/Bad Serb in Kosovo, they have swallowed the lie that this is about race. This is about land. All the parties involved are Africans, indigenous Black Africans. They happen to speak different dialects of Arabic, but there are no Arabs in involved in this conflict. The Darfur conflict is a civil war. Just because there are substantially more casualties on one side does not mean it is not at its core a civil conflict. It is a fight between Farmers and Nomads, and the Farmers militias are doing some terrible things, admittedly with government support. But if we go into Sudan (being the UN), then what? We know the Darfuri rebels are destabilizing the government of Chad. We would likely end up creating two new states out of this. I don’t see the US rushing to take the lead in this either, and for good reason. The lesson from the Balkans was that one-sided military interventions will lead to more polarization. The UN cannot be condemned for not being suckered into a one sided interpretatin of Darfur.

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