At the UN, It's Brown vs. Bolton

Deputy Secretary-General at the United Nations Mark Malloch Brown recently complained, in a speech before prominent Democratic foreign-policy experts, that most Americans don’t understand the United Nations because they get their information from the nation’s “loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.”

Brown, who as an “old friend” rents a home on George Soros’ estate at a greatly reduced rate, complained about America’s “unchecked UN bashing and stereotyping.” U.S Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton immediately demanded an apology from Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Ambassador Bolton said that such condescension and the assertion that Americans don’t get the complexities of the world is an “illegitimate” action on the part of an international civil servant.  Bolton explained that the criticism was “of the American people, not the American government” and, thus, was the “worst mistake by a senior UN official” that he had seen in a long time.  

Kofi Annan, who brought Mr. Brown to the UN to do public-relations damage control during the Oil-for-Food scandal, couldn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of the offense and inanely suggested that everyone “put it behind us and move on.”  Such a statement is reminiscent of Rodney King’s lament, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

Brown’s and Annan’s comments are just more examples that confirm what the majority of Americans already know: The UN does not represent nor even respect American values or views.  As Bolton pointed out about Brown’s remarks, this “international civil servant” did not just repudiate the American government; he insulted the American people.

Regrettably, Brown’s criticism of Americans is not an isolated incident.

In the past few years, the United States has endured a constant influx of unfounded criticism from the UN The complaints usually center on the U.S.’s involvement in Iraq. Not only are such comments unsubstantiated, they are beyond the jurisdiction of an international organization.  Other favorite issues include what Malloch Brown describes as “financial withholding” on the part of the United States.

After the Tsunami disaster in December of 2004, the U.S. put together an aid package of $15 million.  Colin Powell reassured the world community that America was in the reconstruction effort “for the long haul” and more funding would be on the way.  But this was not satisfactory for Jan Egeland, a Norwegian bureaucrat who heads up relief efforts for the United Nations.  Shortly afterwards, he called Americans “stingy” and accused us of being unwilling to pull our weight in the relief effort.  

We remind Mr. Egeland and other UN personnel that the U.S. has been the United Nations’ largest donor every year since 1945 and pays for more than one-fifth of the entire U.N. budget. Of course, our reminder won’t get broadcast around the world to refute Egeland’s remarks, much less staunch the overload of American criticism from the U.N. and the left.

No amount of U.S. support seems to pacify high-ranking UN officials who continue to demand more money.  Egeland and other UN officials––as well as the U.N. ambassadors from other participant nations––are certainly aware that the U.S. sends $34 billion of private aid around the world every year: that’s 10 times the United Nations’ total budget.

How long will it take for the UN to realize that it cannot continually bite the hand that feeds?

One would think that UN executives would keep a low profile considering the fact that they are under scrutiny for numerous allegations of corruption, most notably in the Oil-for-Food scandal.  In addition to Brown’s recent remarks about Americans, he made ill-advised comments during an earlier interview on an NPR radio show.  Brown asked why the United States has not been investigated in the Oil-for-Food scandal.  Further, he suggested that Americans who think the UN is trying to influence U.S. policy are subscribing to a radical “conspiracy theory.”  This is ironic terminology from an official who has been criticized by some of his UN colleagues for aligning the UN “too closely” with the Democrats in U.S. domestic policies.   

So, the UN has no interest in being involved with our foreign policy?  So, anyone who thinks that is true is part of a conspiracy theory?  What about this? Secretary-General Kofi Annan has made public statements questioning the credibility of our Presidential elections because of U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and also said that the war in Iraq is “illegal.”

This latest spat is just another example of the UN’s incredible audacity.  It is just another example of the long-running conflict between the UN and the U.S. over the role of the international body in issues related to national sovereignty.  It is just another fissure in the relationship between the U.S. and the UN.  Mr. Brown talked about that relationship as an “unhappy marriage.”  This is one instance where Concerned Women for America might sanction a “divorce.”