Hopes were high for the U.N. after the Cold War ended. People said what had hamstrung the organization was the U.S.-USSR deadlock in the Security Council, and, more broadly, the division of the world into opposed blocs. With the passing of that situation, the U.N. would regain its true role as a settler of conflicts and dispenser of justice.
Indeed, when in 1990 the Security Council authorized force against Iraq after its unprovoked invasion of Kuwait, those hopes seemed — for a moment — to have been vindicated. Yet the U.N. quickly returned to its mode of moral equivalence and worse. After the war, it did nothing to stop Saddam Hussein’s genocidal aggression against the Iraqi Kurds and Shiites; the United States and Britain eventually went outside the U.N. framework altogether to help those groups.
A few years later in Rwanda, the U.N.’s behavior was even more egregious. When Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian commander of a U.N. peacekeeping force that was stationed in Rwanda, delivered a clear warning of imminent genocide, the U.N. reacted by opposing a rescue operation and withdrawing forces — and continued mouthing moral inanities about a “peace process” and “violence on all sides” while the Hutus massacred 800,000 Tutsis in the space of a hundred days. And just a year later in Bosnia, the ghastly script repeated itself when U.N. forces entrusted with protecting Muslim refugees in Srebrenica simply abandoned them to Serb attackers, who slaughtered 7,000 Muslims while deporting 40,000 more of them to other parts of Bosnia.
In this illuminating book, Dore Gold, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. and now head of a Jerusalem think tank, traces the U.N.’s pathology to its very beginnings: a fundamentally flawed organization that has spread chaos rather than order and “just doesn’t work” when it comes to resolving international disputes.
When the U.N. was created in 1945 in the wake of World War II, the original criterion for membership was having fought at least one Axis power. This already opened the door to countries like Stalin’s Soviet Union and Wahhabi Saudi Arabia. But as more and more countries were admitted, the U.N. soon became a Babel of democracies and dictatorships with clashing aims and norms.
The U.N.’s weaknesses were already evident at the time of the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. Although the U.N. Partition Plan had declared Jerusalem an international city, the U.N. reacted to the Arab attack on Jerusalem by proposing, in a “peace plan,” to place it under complete Arab sovereignty. The U.N. did no better when Pakistani forces invaded Kashmir and, also in 1948, India turned to the Security Council for help: the U.N. ignored the Pakistani aggression, treated the two sides as morally equivalent, and eventually rewarded Pakistan by recognizing its status in Kashmir and calling for a reduction of Indian forces there.
In both these cases, however, the U.N. did more than treat aggressors and defenders as equals, while, indeed, showing a tilt toward the former; it spread chaos by taking measures that would help perpetuate both conflicts. In the Israeli case, the U.N. innovated totally unique definitions of “refugee” that ensured the continuation of the “Palestinian refugee problem,” and also the conflict, to the present day. In the Indian case, by signaling to Pakistan that aggression pays, the U.N. helped set the stage for further India-Pakistan wars and ongoing strife.
As Dore Gold skillfully demonstrates, this pattern recurred over the years and, if anything, worsened. By the 1960s, the Soviet Union had recognized the U.N. as a useful tool and was busily forging an anti-Western bloc there. The U.N. proved “evenhanded” and totally useless in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis; the U.S. was finally able to end the standoff only by ignoring the U.N. and issuing a tough ultimatum to the Soviets. By 1970, the General Assembly placed itself squarely on the side of terrorism with Resolution 2649, which affirmed “the legitimacy of the struggle of the colonial peoples and peoples under alien domination to exercise their right to self-determination and independence by all the necessary means at their disposal.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online