The United Nations has revealed itself to be worse than the League of Nations it replaced. The league, after all, was a dead letter after it failed to stop Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia in 1936. The UN is not just failing to stop an aggressor, but is actively thwarting the US insistence on doing so.

Every moment that the US continues to indulge the UN and grovel for the vote of such bastions of international legitimacy as Guinea and Cameroon serves only to further legitimize a corrupt system and give Saddam more time to plan ways to kill American troops….

Luckily, speaking of cards, the French seem to have overplayed their hand…. In the aftermath of this debacle, the US should simply rely upon “coalitions of the willing,” leaving the UN isolated and not the United States. [Jerusalem Post, 3/14/03]

Or here’s George Will:

The United Nations is not a good idea badly implemented, it is a bad idea….

[The] phrase … “the international community” … is oxymoronic because “community” denotes unity based on shared political interests and cultural values….

The United Nations is premodern because it is unaccountable and irresponsible: It claims power not legitimized by the recurring consent of periodically consulted constituencies of the governed. Inebriated by self-approval, the United Nations … a collection of regimes of less than uniform legitimacy, has anointed itself the sole arbiter of what are legitimate military actions. And it has claimed a duty to leash the only nation that has the power to enforce U.N. resolutions. How long will that nation’s public be willing to pay one-quarter of the United Nations’ bills? [Washington Post, 3/13/03]

If only Will recognized that it’s not fundamentally the consent of the governed, but the protection of individual rights, that confers legitimacy on a government.

Even Max Kampelman, chairman emeritus of Freedom House and former chairman of the American United Nations Association, is bashing the UN:

To mention Cambodia, Congo, Somalia, China, North Korea, Kosovo, and Chechnya is to list only a portion of the human tragedies in our midst. That list defines the inadequacies and failures of the United Nations.

In 1995, we persuaded the United Nations, after great effort, to concern itself with the Balkans. European stability was being challenged. What we remember from that effort is that the United Nations assured the Bosnian Muslims that they could assemble in Srebrenica, a so-called “safe area.” Eight thousand Bosnian Muslims were massacred there while U.N. forces ignored the tragedy a few miles away.

North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Il, has inflicted a holocause on his people. Defectors and observers have estimated that more than 1 million people have starved to death in brutal Gulag-type camps. This catastrophe has created a flood of refugees into China, where an estimated 360,000 refugees may now be hiding in an effort to escape the brutalities at home. A U.N. Refugee Commission exists which is fully aware of this human catastrophe. China, however, says that these tragic human beings are “economic migrants” and “not refugees.” China is clearly in violation of U.N. conventions and protocols. Where is the United Nations? It is certainly not challenging China, a major U.N. power…. [New York Sun, 3/14/03]

Kampelman’s criticisms are valid only insofar as they illustrate the U.N.’s fecklessness; implicit in them, however, is the concession that the U.N.’s mission is a noble one. Later, he writes, “A strong case may be made for the existence of an international body to which all of the world’s states, democratic and authoritarian, belong. Discussion and constructive exchange may flow from it.”

To the contrary: This is precisely the root of the U.N.s impracticality and of its moral bankruptcy. It is not possible to allow “all of the world’s states” to belong to an organization without conceding the legitimacy of those states. Such an organization thereby confers legitimacy on the very dictatorships it needs be pledged to exterminate, if it were to address the “human catastrophes” Kampelman mentions. Dictatorship is the root cause of these crises; evading the cause means perpetuating the effect.

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