Other Nations Should Share U.N.'s Financial Burden

United Nations (9/23/08) – This morning, the copy of the New York Times that was left outside my hotel room door contained a full page ad from the UN Foundation addressed to both presidential tickets.  Its subject was “Renewing the U.S.-UN Relationship.” The ad contends that the U.S. “partnership with the United Nations…is more important than ever.” Once it takes office, the next administration will have the “opportunity” to “present a new face to the world, help strengthen the United Nations and enhance America’s reputation.”   

A few points. If America’s reputation in the world suffers, it does so in large measure because of organizations like the United Nations and the United Nations Foundation. The UN Foundation is run by former Colorado Sen. Tim Wirth, who like Bill Clinton, is an apologist for the United States on the world stage. With $1 billion of Ted Turner’s cash, Wirth helps to spread the fallacy that the problems of the world are caused by the U.S.

The ad pushes the old canard that the U.S. owes $1 billion to the United Nations. In fact, a check of the UN website that lists nations that are in arrears in their dues to the UN does not list the United States. In addition, it should be pointed out that the U.S. pays 22 percent of all UN dues and 25 percent of UN peacekeeping dues. Together, this amounts to billions of dollars each year. That does not include billions more which the U.S. taxpayers provide to UN agencies such as the World Food Organization, UNICEF, UNESCO, and many, many others.

At a time when the U.S. is building Afghanistan, rebuilding Iraq, defending Europe, hosting the UN on U.S. soil, and bailing out Wall Street for the global good, it is time for other nations to step up to the plate and show some responsibility for their own futures. In his address to the General Assembly this morning, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon touched on this point. He told the delegates they cannot continue to pass resolutions on peacekeeping without providing money, troops and resources to carry them out. 

The UN Foundation implores the U.S. to “work constructively to strengthen the UN’s management and budgetary practices.” For heaven’s sake. The United States has tried for years to get the UN to open up its books and have some transparency in the way it operates. The UN resisted at every turn. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton made this a top priority. But it was UN defenders in the NGO community — led by the UN Foundation — and liberal members of Congress who opposed Bolton’s efforts and warned him not to ruffle feathers in Turtle Bay. 

The UN Foundation wants the U.S. to support UN peacekeeping. But the UN Peacekeeping Department is still plagued with charges of abuse against women and children among its personnel. In addition, the UN has refused to grant immunity to U.S. military from prosecution from the International Criminal Court. The U.S. military is on the front lines all over the world, and it is too great a risk to Americans to ask them to defend the nations of the world without a immunity from politically-motivated prosecutions.

The United States was forced to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council because it had become such a sham. The Bush administration has repeatedly tried to engage the UN on issues such as terrorism and stability in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UN has not lived up to its responsibilities in these areas.

The American taxpayers are stretched too thin these days. The billions of dollars in fun money that we have provided to the UN can no longer be afforded. We should reduce our dues and let the UN exercise some personal responsibility. There is a true agenda of reform. 

United Nations — Representatives from more than twenty Jewish organizations took to the stage at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza yesterday to protest the appearance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations this week. Ahmadinejad will address the UN General Assembly today.

Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and threats against the state of Israel were the most widely cited complaints against Ahmadinejad at the National Rally to Stop Iran Now. “Such a man belongs in the docket of the accused, not the podium of the United Nations,” said Irwin Cotler, a member of the Canadian Parliament. Several speakers also denounced Iran’s record of human rights violations, particularly against Iranian youth.

More than a thousand protestors lined 47th Street between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue across from the United Nations to hear from speakers such as Natan Sharansky of the Adelson Institute, Dalia Itzik, the Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, and former U.S. Congressman, the Reverend Floyd Flake, who warned that nuclear weapons “represent a threat to all of us.”

Protestors held signs that read, “United Against the Iranian Threat,” and “Stop Iran From Going Nuclear,” among others. Organizers of the rally explained that “Ahmadinejad will be in New York and he should see that the American people will not tolerate his threats to destroy America and Israel and to develop the nuclear weapons to do so.”

D’Escoto to Dine With the Dictator

Newly elected General Assembly President — Nicaragua’s Miguel D’Escoto — has accepted an invitation to honor Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a dinner to promote religious tolerance and peace. It will take place Thursday evening at the Grand Hyatt in New York. The dinner is sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee, the Quaker United Nations Office, World Council of Churches, and Religions for Peace.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) has protested d’Escoto’s appearance with Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. An AJC letter to Ban pointed out that General Assembly Resolution 60/7 “rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or in part,” and General Assembly Resolution 61/255 calls on states “unreservedly to reject any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event.” Mr. D’Escoto made a point in his acceptance speech last week that resolutions of the General Assembly should be binding. His actions honoring Ahmadinejad violate those resolutions as the Iranian leader has repeatedly denied the Holocaust.

Gordon Gekko to Visit the UN

Actor Michael Douglas, who personified Wall Street greed as Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s 1980 movie Wall Street, will visit the United Nations on Thursday to promote the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). He will be joined by Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry.

United Nations (9/21/08) — Preparations have been made for the parade of Presidents, Prime Ministers, and even a few dictators who will visit the United Nations headquarters this week here in New York City. Streets are blocked off, hotels have jacked up their already high prices, and the motorcades of foreign leaders are dashing about the city, escorted by NYPD and Secret Service.

The Week Ahead

Although UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon used Sunday for the annual ritual of photo ops with world leaders, the sparks will begin on Monday. Then, a National Rally to Stop Iran Now will take place in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across the street from the UN building to protest the presence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Organizers of the protest said they want to bring attention and opposition to “Iran’s nuclear program and support of global terrorism.” Ahmadinejad will address the General Assembly the following day to the delight of America bashers.

France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon will have a private lunch at Ban’s residence on Monday. On Tuesday, President George W. Bush will make his last appearance before a UN body — that is, unless the globalists someday get their wish and have him hauled off to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

General Assembly’s New President

If the statement of the General Assembly’s new President Miguel d’Escoto is any indication, this session will be as vitriolic against the United States as any previously. D’Escoto hails from Nicaragua, is prominent in the Sandinista party and has been instrumental in Daniel Ortega’s rise to power. The theme of this General Assembly is to “democratize the United Nations.” This means d’Escoto and his allies are trying to move power from the Security Council — where the United States and the other large powers hold a veto — to the General Assembly where the interests of the U.S. are routinely deplored and defeated.

As d’Escoto explained, in the coming weeks, the General Assembly will hold a “High-level Dialogue” on the “revitalization and empowerment of the [General] Assembly” and transfer power that has “wrongly accumulated in the Security Council.” The United Nations has long considered expanding the Security Council to add countries like Japan or India, among others, but d’Escoto advocates stripping the Security Council of power.

In his speech, d’Escoto accused the United States of “serious breaches of the peace and threats to international peace and security,” and claimed that “some members of the Security Council” have “an addiction to war.” He also wants to make the resolutions of the General Assembly binding on UN member states. He pointed to the Assembly’s annual condemnation of America’s trade embargo of Cuba as an example of a resolution the U.S. should be forced to obey.

He concluded his speech by urging the delegates: “Let us conduct ourselves as the people we are: all sisters and brothers, reconciled with one another and committed to living in non-violence and solidarity.” Rodney King, call your office.