08/19/05 — The U.N.: World body has grown impotent and dangerous

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The U.N.: World body has grown impotent and dangerous

The fate of the world depends largely on the relationships between nations. It was for that reason that the United Nations was established shortly after World War II.

Such a world body, it was believed, could promote accord by settling differences between countries. If it succeeded, there would be no more secret alliances between sinister countries like those that were developed in the run-up to the war. These coalitions had emboldened Japan, Germany and Italy to commit the aggression that led to the deaths of millions of people and to unimaginable destruction and heartache.

The success of the U.N. depended upon openness, honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, these have been in doubt for some time, but never more than recently.

For years it has seemed that the United Nations has foresworn neutrality in favor of leftist or anti-American causes. Take, for example, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

The commission’s membership includes some of the most brutal, repressive governments in the world: China, Cuba, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

The commission managed last week to recognize tyrannical practices in North Korea, Cuba and Belarus, but not without split votes and plenty of anti-U.S. rhetoric from the dissenters.

And now to the United Nations’ legacy we can add plain, old-fashioned corruption to the mix — bribes and so forth.

The U.N. commission investigating the Oil for Food scandal has reported that two senior U.N. officials took money to favor certain individuals or companies.

These officials were running a program that was designed to allow Iraq to export a certain amount of oil in exchange for money and food to assist hungry Iraqis during a U.N. boycott in the 1990s.

Parenthetically, most of the money for the oil ended up in caches owned by dictator Saddam Hussein and his family. That is a separate but certainly related story.

The damage done by the malfeasance of the U.N. officials is incalculable. It undoubtedly influenced the world body and some of its members to adopt a lax attitude toward Saddam during his bloody regime and to allow him to defy U.N. resolutions calling for arms inspectors in his country. This ultimately led to the war of 2003 and to the killing that is going on now in Iraq.

There is an ominous link between the Oil for Food scandal and the secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

Annan’s son, Kojo, worked for Cotecna, the Swiss company that got a huge contract to inspect shipments of humanitarian goods that entered Iraq. The investigating commission once said it found no evidence that Kofi Annan improperly influenced the selection process in favor of his son’s employer. Later, Cotecna discovered an e-mail from Kojo’s friend at Cotecna that indicated that he and Kojo had “brief discussions” with the secretary general, and Kofi Annan is now under investigation.

Lacking integrity, the United Nations is impotent. Worse than that, it is dangerous. Catastrophe can result when deals between nations are not open and above suspicion.

We learned that in World War II, and it is a lesson we mustn’t forget.

Unless there is a turnaround the the U.N., the United States should stop paying its dues and get out.

Published in Editorials on August 19, 2005 11:16 AM