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Upheaval at the U.N.

By Henry Lamb
web posted September 12, 2005

While the world is focused on the Katrina tragedy, historic events at the U.N. are going unnoticed. Next week, delegates from around the world will be asked to adopt the final draft of reform measures designed to strengthen an institution that should be dismantled.

How ironic is it, that within days after the internal oil-for-food investigation revealed that the corruption reached to the highest levels, that the same officials are demanding more power, under the banner of "reform."

The real irony is that had the U.S. not invaded Iraq, the world would never have known that Kofi Annan's son, Kojo, was employed by Cotecna, the Swiss firm awarded the contract to inspect the oil-for-food transactions. Although Cotecna documents reveal a meeting between Kofi Annan and company officials days before the contract was awarded, the U.N. report concludes only that the program allowed ''illicit, unethical, and corrupt behavior."

Benon Sevan would have still be overseeing the program that allowed Vladimir Kuznetsov, a Russian citizen and a former chairman of the United Nations budget advisory committee, to continue stashing oil-for-food bribes in his secret Antigua bank account. Another Russian U.N. diplomat, Alexander Yakovlev, would still be distributing the millions he got from the program.

Both are now under arrest.

The same corruption contaminated French and German diplomats as well. It is now clear why Russia, France and Germany tried so desperately to prevent the U.S. invasion of Iraq. These are the same people who now want to strengthen the U.N. with a series of recommendations that are to be adopted next week.

Ambassador John Bolton has arrived on the scene, and thrown a monkey-wrench into the proceedings. He has been severely criticized by the media, by the international U.N. pushers, and by Congressional Democrats.

Congress, and the American people, should realize that the U.N.'s vision of global governance is a certain formula for even more corruption and inevitable oppression. The global bureaucracy was insulated from discovery, as long as it controlled the actions of its member nations. Saddam Hussein paid big bucks to Russia, France and Germany to keep the U.S. out of Baghdad. Had he succeeded, Saddam would still be paying families of suicide bombers and using his billions for all sorts of other mischief.

Fortunately, the U.S. had a President who chose not to go-along-to-get-along with the international crowd. Unfortunately, the President apparently does not yet realize that the U.N. is beyond hope. Even though he has instructed John Bolton to try to prevent some of the reform foolishness now proposed, he has not yet called for the dismantling of the institution.

The summit scheduled for September 14-16 is a make-or-break situation for the U.N. Proponents claim that failure to adopt the reforms will be disastrous for the institution. In reality, adoption of the reforms will be disastrous for the U.S., and ultimately, for the world.

The reforms seek to expand the U.N. Security council, which, in effect, weakens the Security Council, and strengthens the U.N. Secretariat. The reforms call for the creation of a "Peacekeeping Commission," which is the foundation of a U.N. standing army. In addition to these "reforms," U.N. proponents want to define terrorism to exclude Palestinian suicide bombers; they want authority to ignore national sovereignty and send in U.N. troops in certain circumstances; they want to control development under certain circumstances.

U.N. failures in the past, especially in peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance projects, argue for the need for more effectiveness. But more power for the U.N. does not translate into more effectiveness.

The U.N. had the power to implement the oil for food program; they corrupted it. The U.N. had the power for its peacekeeping forces in Africa; they used it to rape and pillage. More power given to this unaccountable institution will, inevitably, result in even more corruption and abuse. Such is the nature of unaccountable bureaucratic power.

The United States should begin a systematic withdrawal from U.N. institutions. Most of the U.N. organizations and agencies provide no benefits to the U.S., but are benefitted by U.S. participation. UNESCO, for example, provides zero benefits to the people in the U.S. But it requires that the U.S. support the UNESCO budget, and comply with its policies.

Congress, and the American people will necessarily be preoccupied with the aftermath of Katrina and the incredible mess in New Orleans. But the events at the U.N., over the next weeks and months, may have even more important impact on the U.S. in the long term.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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