by Robert W. Lee

A Few Tired Bromides

For half a century, proponents of the United Nations have parroted misleading clichés intended to short-circuit rational evaluation of the world body's inherent flaws and actual record. Following are some of the more well-worn bromides that have been used to justify, the existence of the UN -- and the reasons they make no sense.

The UN is mankind's last best hope for peace. For five decades the UN has sponsored wars, passed one-sided or unenforceable resolutions, served as a forum for nations to publicly berate each other, and imposed selective justice that typically persecutes anti-Marxist countries while bolstering regimes run by terrorists, communists, and other collectivists.

The UN is a war-making, not a "peacekeeping," organization. To label the UN's war-making proficiency as "peacekeeping" is equivalent to claiming that poisonous toadstools are nourishing mushrooms. After the UN Charter was ratified by the Senate in 1945, but before it went into effect, former Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to Mexico J. Reuben Clark Jr., one of the most astute international lawyers our nation has produced, drafted a cursory analysis of the document in which he asserted, "The Charter is built to prepare for war, not to promote peace .... The Charter is a war document not a peace document...."

Clark concluded: "Not only does the Charter Organization not prevent future wars, but it makes it practically certain that we shall have future wars, and as to such wars it takes from us the power to declare them, to choose the side on which we shall fight, to determine what forces and military equipment we shall use in the war, and to control and command our sons who do the fighting." The subsequent UN record, from Korea and Vietnam to the Persian Gulf and Somalia, confirm the prophetic truth of Clark's analysis.

A federation of nations under the UN Charter is comparable to the federation of American states under the U.S. Constitution. The implication that federalism precludes wars was disproven by our own War Between the States, one of the bloodiest conflicts in history. It was fought despite the many factors the original 13 colonies had in their favor (a common language; similar manners, customs, and religious values; attachments to the same principles of government; etc.), none of which are found in the United Nations.

But more important than the lack of common bonds among the members of the UN is the fact that the UN system is irreconcilable with the U.S. system. The U.S. system is based on the concept that rights come from God and that the purpose of government is to protect God-given rights. The UN does not recognize the supremacy of God and views itself as the source of "rights."

Nowhere does power tend to become so concentrated, all-pervasive, and absolute as in government. And the bigger the government, the more the corruption. Needless to say, the biggest (and most corrupt) of all governments would be an economically collectivist world government with sufficient military power to enforce its decrees planet-wide.

World government is necessary to solve global problems, since national governments have been unable to do so. It is hardly a surprise that national governments have failed to solve global problems, since they have also failed to solve their own domestic problems. Here in the United States, our federal government has created and/or sustained most domestic problems by increasing its power and resources under the guise of "solving" them. Governments don't solve problems; they create them. People, on the other hand, can solve problems if government keeps out of their way. There is simply no reason to believe that huge government entities at the international level can "solve" global problems any better than big national governments have "solved" such domestic problems as inflation, debt, crime, welfare, poverty, drug trafficking, health care, etc.

If the nations of the world know more about each other, they will be less likely to go to war against each other. True enough, if what we learn is that a potential adversary is far stronger than we are. But the implication that increased knowledge decreases friction between parties depends on the circumstances. Few nations on earth understood each other better than did England and Germany, yet they fought bitterly in both world wars.

The UN provides a useful forum for airing grievances, and when nations are talking, they are not warring with each other. Such reasoning is predicated on the faulty assumption that the only alternatives are talking or shooting. But as G. Edward Griffin has pointed out in his book The Fearful Master: A Second Look at the United Nations, the "best way to get yourself into a barroom brawl with a bunch of thugs is to go into the bar and start talking with them. The smart thing to do is to stay out and mind your own business!"

Griffin explains, with a useful analogy, why traditional diplomacy is preferable to the UN "public forum" approach: "Consider what would happen if every time a small spat arose between a husband and wife they called the entire neighborhood together and took turns airing their complaints in front of the whole group. Gone would be any chance of reconciliation. Instead of working out their problems, the ugly necessity of saving face, proving points, and winning popular sympathy would likely drive them further apart. Likewise, public debates in the UN intensify international tensions. By shouting their grievances at each other, countries allow their differences to assume a magnitude they would otherwise never have reached. Quiet diplomacy is always more conducive to progress than diplomacy on the stage."

Nationalism fosters jealousy, suspicion, and hatred of other countries, which in turn raises the threat of war. This claim is based on the false premise that loving one's own country means hating all others. It makes as little sense as it would to maintain that a man who loves his own wife best hates all other women. As Teddy Roosevelt once wrote, "Patriotism stands in national matters as love of family does in private life. Nationalism corresponds to the love a man bears for his wife and children."

UN efforts help to eliminate such roots of war as hunger, poverty, ignorance, and disease. Hunger, poverty, ignorance, and disease are indeed serious problems which merit concern and solution, but they are not the roots of war. Expensive armaments and large armies are required to fight a big war. Nations hovering on the brink of poverty and disease are too sick and hungry to produce sufficient armaments and effectively field armies, and too poor to keep a war going (unless their military preparations are assisted from outside by the affluent nations or the UN).

In contrast, Germany's economic and social status ranked among the highest in the world prior to World War I, and there was little economic distress or unemployment in Germany at the start of World War II. History shows that it has been advanced nations, rather than backward countries, that have most disturbed world peace.

The economic system best equipped to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, etc., is free enterprise. It emphasizes the production of new wealth and the right of individuals to own and control private property, thereby enhancing their incentive to produce. The UN, however, champions collectivist economic policies which emphasize the redistribution of existing wealth.

If the UN and its specialized agencies were empowered to take everything Americans have and redistribute it to the world's poor, overall misery in the world would scarcely be affected. There are simply too many of them, and too few of us. But if we could assist the backward nations in throwing off the shackles of socialism that are keeping them backward, and adopting instead the basic economic techniques that have been largely responsible for our own unprecedented abundance, we would be making an unparalleled contribution to world stability and well-being. The UN stands as a huge roadblock to such sorely-needed change.

The UN concept of human rights is similar to that of our own Bill of Rights. There are essentially two basic concepts of the origin of rights. One holds that they derive from government, which means that government can modify or abolish them at whim. The other asserts that rights come from a source outside of government, and government's job is to protect (not infringe or abolish) them. As we have already indicated, the U.S. system is based on the latter view and the UN system on the former.

This fundamental difference is perhaps best illustrated by comparing the First Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights with Article 29, paragraph 3 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The First Amendment clearly states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." In stark contrast, Article 29, paragraph 3 of the Universal Declaration asserts (referring to the supposed rights and freedoms specified elsewhere in the document): "These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."

Soviet spokesman Andrei Vishinsky was expressing the Universal Declaration's view of rights when he stated during the debate on its adoption: "The rights of human beings cannot be considered outside the prerogatives of governments, and the very understanding of human rights is a government concept."

We must not turn back the clock to a period of isolationism. Withdrawal from the UN would not mean a retreat into so-called "isolation" anymore than absence of the UN prior to 1945 meant that the United States was "isolated." As William F. Jasper noted in his book Global Tyranny ... Step by Step, "Isolationism is a bogeyman internationalists trot out every time the American people begin to rebel against globalist, interventionist plotting. The truth is that America has never been 'isolationist'."

Indeed not. Writing in the March 27, 1965 issue of the newsletter Correction, Please! And a Review of the News, noted scholar Dr. Francis X. Gannon reminded his readers, "During our history as a confederation and Republic prior to 1945, we had established diplomatic relations with more than seventy-five powers, representative of every continent. Treaties, arrangements, and conventions between the United States and other powers embraced every conceivable relationship in international affairs: trade and commerce, arbitration, postal agreements, copyright arrangements, narcotics traffic, smuggling, exchange of official publications, naturalization agreements, visas, tenure and disposition of real and personal property, and communications."

After listing specific examples of U.S. involvement throughout the world, from Latin America (Monroe Doctrine and Panama Canal) to the Pacific and Far East (Open Door Policy and Stimson Doctrine), and running back to the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, Dr. Gannon concluded by noting, "We engaged heavily in the import-export trade; American whaling vessels were familiar sights to foreigners; America's China trade became the foundation of many a familial financial empire; American scholars studied at European universities while scholars from all over the world came to the United States; American tourists and businessmen and technicians and missionaries travelled to all continents; and, the United States added to its population with immigrants from every country in the world."

If you don't like the UN, with what would you replace it? The question is equivalent to a patient, upon being told by his doctor that he has a cancer that must be removed, asking, "But doctor, what will you replace it with?" When something is evil and dangerous, it is neither necessary nor wise spending time searching for a substitute.

Nevertheless, there is an answer, and an obvious one: Why not try freedom? G. Edward Griffin explains that it would mean "freedom for all people, everywhere, to live as they please with no super-government directing them; freedom to succeed or to fail and to try again; freedom to make mistakes and even to be foolish in the eyes of others." Indeed, "until all nations follow the concept of limited government, it is unlikely that universal peace will ever be attained."

An honestly intended federation of nations, united for the legitimate purpose of increasing the freedom of individuals, goods, and cultures to cross national boundaries, and to decrease governmental restrictions on individuals, is something most Americans could support wholeheartedly, since it would be in line with Richard Cobden's observation that "Peace will come to this earth when her peoples have as much as possible to do with each other; their governments the least possible."

The UN is today, as it has been since its founding, a force pushing in the opposite direction.

The pressure of world opinion that the UN brings can be a significant deterrent to conflict. The "world opinion" argument has been, from the start, a misleading hoax that has hamstrung the U.S. and the free world in many ways. It has, for instance, encouraged anti-American regimes around the world to fearlessly stick out their tongues at us, and vote against us in the UN, because they know we will not retaliate in any meaningful way that might offend "world opinion."

The supposed moral pressure of world opinion elicits response only from those who are morally sensitive. The communists, for instance, are not morally sensitive, and throughout the Cold War they dismissed world opinion entirely unless it coincided with their goals. While the United States meekly revamped its foreign policy to meet the demands of an alleged UN world opinion, the communists simply continued grabbing and oppressing one country after another, shrugging off world opinion all along the way.

Some advocates of the UN have asserted that the "force of world public opinion" is the UN's greatest strength. But it is a strength which has, in practice, been mostly exerted against the free world.

THE NEW AMERICAN - Copyright 1996, American Opinion Publishing, Incorporated

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