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Tuesday, January 11

Roasting a sacred cow

The Diplomad's recent posts contain anecdotal criticism of some UN umbrella organizations. I find the criticism notable coming as it does from authoritative sources inside the US Foreign Service. One of the arguments for the US staying with the UN is that some of the UN umbrella organizations (e.g., UNICEF) do valuable work. Diplomad makes a good start at roasting that sacred cow.

During the past year I've abandoned my position that it's impractical for the US to leave the UN no matter how badly the organization functions. I now think it's impractical to stay with the UN, simply because there is so much wrong with the UN that starting anew is much better than throwing good resources after bad.

The time and resources of Americans are best spent creating agencies that do the same "valuable work" as the UN umbrella organizations--but do the work efficiently and without massive corruption, and specifically to serve the cause for democracy.

Speaking of the UN, I am troubled by Matt Drudge's mention last night on his radio show that there is a growing friendship between President Bush and President Clinton. I suspect this odd coupling has more do with Bush giving Clinton a look-over for the job of UN Secretary General than it does with budding friendship. Clinton has been angling for the job.

If by chance Bush thinks Clinton could be made useful to US foreign policy he would be practicing selective amnesia or making a dangerously cynical reach across the political aisle.

President Clinton's defense policy left this country wide open for a catastrophic military attack, put US foreign policy under the control of the group that runs the European Union, and turned the State Department into a lackey for the EU.

Mr. Clinton is not fit to oversee a chicken coop, much less a world body. That many Democrats still don't realize this speaks only to the vile quality of news reporting in this county during the Clinton era and since.

"Anyone but Kofi" is not the way to deal with what's wrong with the United Nations. If the American people want an organization where humane governments can discuss and resolve on world problems, the UN is not that place.

The place might be a new international organization that sets and maintains stiff criteria for admission--and get the criteria right this time. No more treating despots as if they are democratically elected. Granted, this approach leaves US foreign policy little wiggle room. The alternative is to keep flushing billions of aid and development bank dollars down the toilet.

And launch serious public discussion on whether a permanent "world body" should exist at all. Perhaps ad hoc agencies and meetings would be a better way for this era.
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