- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Shouldn’t President Bush be asking if it isn’t time to dump the United Nations and to start anew? What kind of an organization is the United Nations whose General Assembly, with its automatic anti-Israel majority, devotes its time and finances (the United States pays almost a quarter of the U.N. budget) to badgering Israel, the only genuine democracy in the Middle East? What kind of organization is the U.N. Security Council in which a has-been like France is a permanent member but Germany, India and Japan are not? Does it make any sense to give French President Jacques Chirac, America-hater No. 1 and the best friend Saddam Hussein ever had, a veto over U.S. foreign policy to which fortunately we pay no attention? I wonder if Mr. Chirac plans to appear as a character witness at Saddam’s upcoming trial. He should.

When Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice comes up for confirmation next month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ought to examine her closely on her outlook for future relations with the scandal-tainted United Nations. I am referring to the oil-for-food outrage, a crime by any standard, but the United Nations is immune from chastisement. In fact, the perpetrators of this crime will undoubtedly retire with full pensions plus the usual golden handshake, paid for by the U.S. taxpayer. But there are other U.N. crimes.

The U.N. Commission on Human Rights is a tragic joke. Members of the commission include China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Sudan — Sudan, for heaven’s sake — and Zimbabwe. Sudan is probably guilty of genocide against Christians and non-Arab Muslims. Every one of these commission members is openly violating human rights night and day. Has the United Nations no shame? Of course not. But they have indignation, lots of it, at the existence of democratic Israel. In fact, it might be said that at present the sole reason for the existence of the General Assembly majority is to destroy Israel, to rob this democracy of its legitimacy, its right of self-defense, its very right to exist.

Our continued membership in the United Nations gives it a moral status it does not deserve. Nothing would be more usefully symbolic than an empty U.S. chair at the Security Council. Nothing could be more usefully symbolic than empty U.S. chairs in the hall of the General Assembly.

It was a great day when President Reagan appointed Jeane Kirkpatrick as our U.N. ambassador in 1981. She established a policy of replying to every attack against our country in the General Assembly. I think President Bush ought to re-establish that policy of instant reply — and above all not to allow U.N. committees to violate their rules and mandates. For example:

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which U.S. taxpayers help finance, is one of the worst anti-Israel offenders. Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States. So guess what? Right. Hamas members are on the UNRWA payroll.

Sen. Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republican, chairman of the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations, which has been probing the oil-for-food program for seven months, has called for the resignation of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. If he does resign, his successor will be no improvement. The problem will still remain: our membership in the United Nations.

The Rice confirmation hearings ought to be an occasion for a broad, searching examination of U.S. membership or nonmembership, U.S. participation or nonparticipation in the United Nations. The United States is assessed 25 percent of the U.N. general budget, double the assessment of Japan, the next closest underwriter. Is it worth the money? If you ask me, no.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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