Why do western democracies such as the United States remain in the United Nations? After all the politically charged decisions made by this disgraceful organization, it's often difficult to understand the reason.
Perhaps the West's laissez-faire attitude toward this growing cesspool of political activity is finally coming to an end. A highly controversial decision with respect to a volatile part of the world could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back.
Two weeks ago, the U.N. overwhelmingly granted statehood to Palestine. An astonishing 138 member states supported this motion, with 41 abstaining and five not present during the vote. Only nine member states rejected this motion: Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Panama, Palau and the United States.
Palestine is therefore recognized as a "nonmember observer state," one of only two in this particular categorization. (The other is the Holy See.) Even though this decision has been widely interpreted as a symbolic gesture, it is far more than that. For one thing, it allows Palestine to exert greater influence and move a step closer to member state status. While they can't participate in formal U.N. votes, the Palestinian territories will be allowed to seek membership in various U.N. agencies, bodies and committees.
This is a ridiculous decision on the part of the U.N. Palestine is not a country, and is not even close to becoming one. It has played a major role in contributing to the Middle East becoming a powder keg over the past few decades. The contentious Gaza Strip is run by the Palestinian organization Hamas, a vicious terrorist group that would like nothing more than to obliterate Israel, the United States and other western democracies. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority, has been an ineffective leader in terms of negotiating with the Israelis as well as dealing with the threat of Hamas.
Why did the U.N. back Palestine's bid for statehood? That's easy to understand. Most of its membership has little to no respect for liberty, freedom and especially democracy.
Don't believe it? Here's a short list of the U.N.'s long history of bad political decisions:
In June 2002 and August 2003, Syria chaired the U.N. Security Council.
In 2003, Iran and Iraq were scheduled to lead a U.N. nuclear disarmament conference. This was before the Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein was deposed.
In 2003, Libya helmed the U.N. Human Rights Commission. The nation was also a U.N. Security Council member during 2008-2009.
In 2011, North Korea -- one of the three members of President George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" -- helmed the U.N. Conference on Disarmament.
In 2012, Iran was elected as vice president of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Conference.
Moreover, we must not forget the U.N.'s nearly unbroken record of condemning the state of Israel's policies and military actions for more than 50 years. In large part, this helps explain why a territory with a terrorist history got such a significant vote of confidence.
It's a shame. At one time the U.N. was a respected organization. It played an important role in international negotiations, building diplomatic bridges and attempting to keep or broker peace during times of war and conflict.
That's not the case any longer. The U.N. has become a broken-down and dysfunctional organization, controlled by members who don't respect individual rights and freedoms, democratic elections, free markets, and the safety and security of all citizens. Western nations should consider leaving the U.N. and starting a League of Democracies. This organization would promote essential principles such as liberty, democracy, and individual rights and freedoms, while excluding countries that support terrorism.
Perhaps some countries are getting the hint. Canada, which led the charge opposing Palestinian statehood, temporarily recalled high-ranking diplomats located in Israel, the West Bank, and New York and Geneva's U.N. missions, in order to craft a proper response, and to show they're getting fed up with the U.N.
Will the United States follow suit? Although the White House was likely frustrated with this motion, Mr. Obama's international track record on these types of matters has been less than stellar. Yet, if there's ever going to be a real impact, a major power like the United States needs to walk out of the U.N. for good.
Show some real leadership for a change, Mr. President, and do it.
Michael Taube is a former speechwriter for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a columnist with The Washington Times.