Friday, April 21, 2006

U.N.'s Sad Circus

Thomas P. Kilgannon, New York Post:
The Midtown Circus, other wise known as the United Nations, opened a new at traction last week: The U.N. Commission on Disarmament elevated Iran to a leadership post - despite the terrorist regime's dogged pursuit of nuclear capabilities and defiance of its international obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran on the Disarmament Commission; it's rather like naming a member of the Ku Klux Klan to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. And even as the Disarmament Commission was rewarding the Islamic Republic's behavior, the Security Council was delaying action on the International Atomic Energy Agency's referral of Iran for its nuclear violations.

Created in 1952 and re-established by the General Assembly in 1978, the U.N. Disarmament Commission opened its 2006 session on April 10. Delegates immediately pledged to "effectively deal with new emerging threats and challenges" - and then proceeded to promote Iran to a vice-chairmanship.

Speaking from its new perch of authority, Iran demanded that Israel sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and open all of its nuclear sites to international inspection. Such demands are considered statesmanship by a nation whose leader has vowed to "wipe Israel off the map." READ MORE

For those who would rather watch train wrecks than tightrope artists, the United Nations may just be the greatest show on earth. It is a collection of corruption and contradictions that undercuts U.S. foreign policy goals, yet still manages to win the support of Congress and the administration. U.S. taxpayers send upward of $4 billion a year to the world body.

Iran's rise on the Disarmament Commission prompted Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) to call for the suspension of funds as long as Iran is a member. "The election of Iran as a vice-chair of the U.N. Disarmament Commission at the same time as Iran clandestinely pursues its own nuclear ambitions," he said, "provides yet another example of the United Nations' inability to establish credible institutions to deal with global issues."

Coleman, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee who spearheaded the Senate's probe of the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food corruption, called on the Bush administration to withhold U.S. contributions "to send an unmistakable signal that there will be serious consequences to the U.N. failure to implement real reform."

Yet there's little reason to think most member states want U.N. reform. The U.N. Human Rights Commission booted the United States out in 2001, and the next year chose Libya to represent the hopes of oppressed people the world over. Just this month, Jean Ziegler, the infamous founder of the "Moammar Khadafy Human Rights Prize," was nominated as an expert adviser to the new U.N. Human Rights Council.

Last year, after Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe orchestrated a man-made famine in his country, the United Nations invited him to address its annual conference on hunger. (He accepted.)

Simply put, too many (quite possibly most) U.N. members put a much higher priority on America-bashing and anti-Semism than on such U.N. ideals as disarmament, fighting hunger or advancing human rights.

As one of its first acts, the new Human Rights Council is expected to condemn the U.S. terrorist-detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - even as it continues to turn a blind eye to the hideous abuses of rights by Cuba's government (and, indeed, by those of countless other U.N. members.) Of course, there's an excellent chance that the council's members will include terror-sponsoring states such as Iran or Syria.

The United Nations is of no use in advancing U.S. foreign-policy goals or in promoting the lofty ideals with which many still associate it. It has discredited itself again and again. The time has come to cage the animals, ship them back home, and bring down the tent on the U.N. circus.

Thomas P. Kilgannon is the president of Freedom Alliance and the author of "Diplomatic Divorce: Why America Should End Its Love Affair With the United Nations."