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Living with dangerous UN illusions

By Alan Caruba
web posted October 21, 2002

People get into trouble when they embrace dangerous illusions. We're all familiar with the alcoholic who is convinced he's in control of his life.

The belief that the United Nations ever could or ever will save the world from "the scourge of war" is one of those illusions that needs to be tossed into the ashcan of history. Mona Charon, a syndicated columnist, has written, "The United Nations is one of those institutions, like the Women's National Basketball Association, that sails above its failures because it just seems to so many people like a good idea."

The UN was proceeded by the League of Nations, created after World War I when it was thought that some kind of international organization was needed to avoid war. I contend that it is the nature of men and nations to go to war every so often because there is, quite simply, evil in the world and it requires serious opposition because it tends to metastasize like a cancer if allowed to continue.

Failing to put an end to Hitler's and Tojo's dreams of conquest in WWII, the US suffered 1,079,162 casualties. Around the world, WWII killed an estimated 50 million people because of (1) appeasement and (2) the failure to take preemptive action.

By contrast, Desert Storm constituted the loss of 766 total US casualties and last year's the action in Afghanistan less than 50. The critics of our intention to thwart Saddam's mad dreams ignore the fact that we are going to be fighting a very different kind of war from those that have claimed so many brave Americans in the past and that our military is entirely composed of people who have volunteered to go in harm's way to protect and preserve liberty.

Why has the UN been such a failure since it came into being in 1947? The answer is that it is a massively political entity based on a utopian idea that was never true. Good men may yearn for peace, but they are vastly outnumbered by bad men.

The heart of the UN is its Security Council and it reflects a world that existed after 1945, not the one in which we live more than a half century later. In addition to the United States, United Kingdom, China, and France, all permanent members, others include the Syrian Arab Republic, part of the problem in the Middle East; Norway, a nation whose Nobel Committee just awarded the Peace Prize to Jimmy Carter, an opponent of taking action against Saddam Hussein; and Columbia, a nation in the grip of a huge narcotics cartel. With the exception of the US, the other permanent members all have Socialist/Communist governments

As George Will, a syndicated columnist, pointed out in September, there is no good reason why France holds a permanent seat on the Security Council when "India's population is 17 times more than France and three times that of all 15 members of the European Union."

Those who keep shouting about the need to defer to the United Nations when a rogue nation like Iraq threatens its neighbors and poses a threat to the United States ignore the fact that it is not the UN that is the highest law of our land. Americans are ruled by the Constitution. When Congress approved the 1945 UN Participation Act, they understood that the use of US armed forces to enforce the UN charter "would not be an act of war, but would be international action for the preservation of the peace" and thus, "the provisions of the charter do not affect the exclusive power of the Congress to declare war."

We can thank Sen. Arthur Vandenberg who help negotiate the UN charter to insure that the right to individual and collective self-defense was expressly preserved in Article 51. The US would have never signed on to the creation of the UN otherwise. Vanderberg understood that, if the Security Council proved unable to face the test of a threat to peace, it would be the US that would be required to save the UN "from final impotence."

Consider that it was the United Nations that pulled its "peace keeping forces" from the Sinai in 1967 when then Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nassar told them to get out of the way. The UN stood on the sidelines when the Red Chinese invaded Tibet to occupy it, when tribes in Rwanda slaughtered one another, when Indonesia occupied East Timor, and it fell to NATO to bring an end to the slaughters in Serbia. If maintaining peace is a primary UN function, then it surely has a long, dismal record of failure.

All of which brings us to its role in Iraq where Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, has aided and abetted Saddam Hussein recover from Desert Storm, withdrawing UN weapons inspectors without a whimper and now insists, like a Saddam sock-puppet, that new weapons inspectors hold the key to peace. Moreover, the US is told that it must have a UN Security Council resolution before it can take independent action to end the threat of this classic psychopathic dictator.

Whether President Bush gets UN "permission" to do what needs doing, he has dramatically revealed the rotten core of the UN's inability and unwillingness to confront the real threats to world peace. As Mona Charon says, "Peace is maintained today, as it always was, by armed force and balance of power."

Those who stand in the well of the Senate and denounce the use of armed force to protect and insure real peace, along with those who take to the streets to demonstrate against it, continue to live with dangerous illusions that history has never supported.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the website of The National Anxiety Center. He is the author of "The United Nations vs. the United States." (c) Alan Caruba, 2002

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