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Saturday, November 27, 2004

A Timely Golden Oldie: The Problem with the UN

Long before the current UN discussions at the Diplomad and the Belmont Club, Truth Laid Bear was exposing the fundamental problem with the UN:
So what’s wrong with it? The layers of useless bureaucracy? The seeming inability to do anything constructive without U.S. assistance? The latent (and not-so-latent) anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism?

These are all symptoms, but they’re not the problem. No, the problem with the United Nations is that second word: nations.

Supporters of the U.N. worship the ideal of “international consensus” and “international law”, speaking of these concepts in hushed and reverent tones. The core belief is a simple one: the actions of any single nation are by definition less proper and less moral than actions that arise from a consensus among nations.

This seems reasonable on its face to most enlightened types who’ve come to think democracy is a good idea over the centuries. One man, one vote; one country, one vote, right? The ideals of democracy are the heart and soul of free societies the world over; by applying them to the international stage, we create a framework for ensuring that tyranny between nations does not occur, just as democracy defends against tyranny between men. Therefore: international consensus is by definition a good and moral thing, to be sought after wherever possible.



There’s a crucial piece missing in this formulation, and in the reality of the United Nations: that the nations in question must all be free, democratic societies. Otherwise, all moral bets are off.

U.N.-philes use the idea of international consensus as a synonym for morality; for justice. But in our present world, it just isn’t so. Ask any “peace” protester opposing our coming action against Saddam whether having a Security Council member state vote in favor of a course of action makes it a moral thing: betcha they say “yes”.

Well, what if the member state is Syria? What then? Do you truly sleep better at night knowing that particularly tyranny blesses your actions?

The U.N. is a grand shell game. It looks like democracy; it acts like democracy. It has all the trappings of democracy; votes and debate and all those wonderful, wonderful procedures. But at its very heart, the votes come from member governments, and many of those aren’t democracies at all. And there, the system breaks down.

Older thoughts, but still valid.

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