“We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal…”
So says the poster of the Declaration of Independence that hangs above my desk. It’s a little cliché, I know, for a Political Science major to have copies of the nation’s founding documents close at hand. Then again, most people could do with a few more looks at the Declaration and the Constitution, especially the people that run our government. Take, for example, the idea following the famous declaration of rights to life, liberty and happiness: “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
It’s a basic, yet very fundamental premise; the only rightful governments are the ones that derive their powers from their citizens. It’s one of the foundational ideas that led directly to the formation of the Union.
Still, even though it lies at the cornerstone of all that is American, we recklessly ignore that principle and its implications in many ways — none more egregious than our continued membership in an international body with which we hold nothing in common. That’s right, I’m talking about the United Nations.
And I believe that the United States should immediately rescind its membership from that body of false governance.
I don’t think that anyone is reasonably going to contest the fact that the U.N. is an organization with some serious problems. I mean, how effective can it be when the Security Security Council needs America, England, France, China and Russia to agree in order to get anything “done?”
The whole structure of the organization is the result of the same sort of compromise that divided Germany and intensified the Cold War. The five aforementioned permanent Council members have no qualifications for their role other than opposing the Axis Powers in World War II, and they started fighting among themselves as soon as Germany and Japan were out of the way.
But, even putting aside the faults of the Security Council, I have to take issue with the even more relaxed standard of membership for the General Assembly. Since when does China draw its powers from the consent of the people it claims dominion over, for example? I mean, it’s an autocratic nation that also claims to rule over two historically independent countries as territories.
And what are the rights being protected by the cruel dictatorship of North Korea? It’s not the rights of the people, I’ll tell you that much — but more on the People’s Republic in a future article.
How about the crazies that we let in the U.N., like Iran, with its official “Israel has no right to exist” policy, courtesy of President Ahmadinejad? How can a body have any sort of cohesion when one member, and some of that government’s shadier friends, calls for the annihilation of another prominent member?
Amid all of the various dictatorships in the U.N., not to mention the member nations that are sponsoring genocide as you read this article, it seems laughable to take issue with Palestine’s bid for membership just because half of their “government” is run by a terrorist organization and they don’t really have a cohesive state with national boundaries.
This is the company that the United States is keeping by maintaining its membership in the U.N. The United Nations doesn’t care about the legitimacy of the governments of its member nations. It only requires that someone, anyone, is in charge. This is a policy that cannot mesh with the central doctrines of America.
If we remain in the U.N., which maintains that policy, we are condoning and approving it by our inaction and indifference. So, as far as our options go, we can either renounce the ideas upon which our country was founded, we can expel several members of the U.N. and require that it changes its “don’t ask, don’t tell” toward the state of a government, or we can withdraw our membership from that body.
Some will argue, of course, that we have a vested interest in being a member of the U.N. In response, I suppose I would have to simply ask: why? We have allies and alliances that are entirely outside of the United Nations’ realm of control. NATO need not depend on the fickle decrees of the General Assembly. Nor does conceding to China in the Security Council strengthen our relationship with Taiwan.
Similarly, it goes without saying that the U.N. has no strength to protect Israel from the polarizing effects of its own policies, and that the United States will continue to oppose the Arab world in that area of foreign policy for the foreseeable future.
I would also question the purpose of the U.N. Is it supposed to provide a world government? If it did, it would infringe upon our national sovereignty; granted, this can’t be its purpose, because if it was the U.N. might actually have the power to, well, do something. Is it supposed to promote republican forms of government in the world? Obviously not; many of its member nations scarcely bother with even an imitation of democracy.
Is it supposed to support humanitarianism? That can’t be it, either; it doesn’t stop genocide, even when committed by a member, and tolerates the shenanigans of states like North Korea. Perhaps the U.N. acts as a deterrent to nuclear war? Yes, maybe that’s it — I’m sure Iran is shaking in its boots from those scary sanctions, and Kim Jong-il definitely doesn’t want to shoot missiles at anyone.
I won’t be surprised if someone responds to this article with a detailed explanation of the utility of the U.N. and the various ways in which it advances the greater good. I’d welcome such an article, because honestly, I’m dying to find out myself.
Even so, I can hardly imagine that the organization serves such a great purpose that our nation should set aside its ideals in order to remain a member. If our government is to rest on any principles other than the whims of the majority (or outspoken minority), then we need to understand the implications of those principles and follow them, even when it flies in the face of the manner in which we’ve conducted our affairs for the last half-century. Granted, it’s now commonplace to resist the idea of the government as a principled moral entity, but that’s a contention that I’ll treat in a different article.
For now, suffice it to say that the majority of Americans decreed that the majority rules in a just government, and our continued membership in the U.N. disregards both majority and principle, letting us sit idly in the midst of innumerable contraventions of our most cherished values.