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Inside the Asylum Depicts the Harm the UN Does

This is the group Kerry wants to embrace even more tightly

Inside the Asylum by Jed Babbin [a book published this week by Regnery, a sister company of HUMAN EVENTS] is essential reading for anyone interested in why international relations between the United States and much of the rest of the world appear to be so troubled, and it puts the blame squarely where it belongs: not on the United States but on the UN and several European allies, along with the despots running almost all of the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Author Babbin presents convincing evidence that the UN acts as a hindrance to progressive change in the world and, although intended as an institution to promote world cooperation and peace, it actually has done the opposite. Babbin begins his proof of the bad effects of the UN by pointing out how John Bolton, under secretary of State for arms control and international security, criticized the International Atomic Energy agency for failing to see the difference between the possession of nuclear weapons by the U.S. and their possession by North Korea or Iran. Babbin effectively shows how the UN has shipped billions to Yasser Arafat even though it knows that much of it is used for terrorist activities. Babbin is a severe critic of Kofi Annan whom he considers part of the problem, not the solution. He argues quite persuasively that it was Kofi Annan’s private negotiations with Saddam Hussein that watered down the UN sanctions and the inspections rules and may have been more responsible for the eventual war–a war that might have been avoided had the UN been able to do the inspections that had been agreed to after the ’91 Gulf War. He mentions the UN Human Rights Commission as a terrible example of what the United Nations does, but even Babbin’s examples do not point out how terrible the commission actually is. As a delegate to the commission in Geneva this past April and May, I was a witness to the fact that the book underestimates the expense of the operation as well as the damage it does. It is not just that Libya was the chair of the commission last year (before it had admitted to having weapons of mass destruction but when the whole world knew that it did and that it was responsible for the Lockerbie crash), but that this year Sudan, despite all the evidence of mass murders going on there, was elected to the commission. China, which has been going backwards on what was already a terrible human rights record, could not be criticized in Geneva, although the U.S. tried to do so. Even the Europeans would not support any action and no strong motion criticizing Sudan was possible. It was only through the Herculean efforts of the senior members of the Bush Administration and Ambassadors Moley and Williamson in Geneva that a resolution pointing out Cuba’s human rights violations was possible, and that resolution only passed by one vote. If the commission cannot point out the abuses of Cuba, Sudan, and China without debate, it is hard to see why it should continue. Its record has not been any better over the past 60 years. Its main purpose seems to be to attack the United States and Israel. Israel is the only country that has a whole agenda item devoted to it, and even with that when the murderer sheik from Hamas was finally assassinated by the Israelis, the commission–with only two dissents (the U.S. and Australia)–voted to dedicate a whole session to even more criticism of Israel, even though the issue had nothing to do with human rights. (Votes where the U.S. is the only dissent are not unusual at the HRC.) In addition, the cost of the meetings is enormous, because all the speeches have to be translated to be understood in English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Russian and Arabic. There are no discussions at the meetings, just hundreds of prepared speeches of three to six minutes in length that no one listens to. The cost of the UN that Babbin details does not even include the cost of the seven-story U.S. mission in Geneva with three U.S. ambassadors and extensive staff, or the cost of dozens of security men or the cost of the hundreds of bureaucrats that come over every month from different parts of the U.S. government to take part in the activities of the UN in Geneva. After demonstrating the evils of the UN, Babbin deals with the problems of Europe, especially Western Europe. While correct in his observations he covers ground that is very familiar to any observer of Europe over the past 30 years. Europe has little military power of its own, but still wants to exert its authority. Also there is a certain jealousy of the U.S., since in the Socialist Europe there has been a net loss of private sector jobs since 1970. Babbin would like the United States to withdraw from the UN (not politically very realistic). Babbin concludes by noting why a Kerry presidency would be disastrous. Kerry has said that if he is President he would “personally go to the UN and literally formally rejoin the community of nations.” If the U.S. lets the UN make its foreign policy, Inside the Asylum clearly shows how very harmful this would be for America’s real interests.

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To purchase Inside the Asylum, click here.

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Mr. Leland served in the Nixon and Ford Administrations, was a U.S. delegate to the arms control negotiations in Vienna from 1975-78, and served as under secretary of the Treasury for international affaris in the Reagan Administration. He was also a delegate for President Bush to the UN Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva.

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