- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2001

Last week the U.N. Human Rights commission voted the U.S. out. The United States founded the commission in 1947. Eleanor Roosevelt must be turning in her grave as her great achievement is undone by China and Cuba, the most egregious violators of human rights.
Adding insult to injury, the U.N. also kicked the U.S. off its international drug monitoring agency on the same day.
The Human Rights commission voted in the oppressive kleptocracies of Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda. It also chose Pakistan, another violator of human rights, as a member. Most pernicious is the role of the European Union. The commission accepted Sweden, Austria and France, all of whom did not object to the ouster of the United States. The French will do their best to demonstrate their anti-Americanism everywhere and anywhere. They support Saddam Husseins efforts to bring an end to the sanctions to satisfy their greed for making special deals with Saddam on oil. They are responsible, among others, for conditions that resulted in the Central African massacres. They are the most vigorous opponents of President Bushs missile defense program, support an anti-American independent European military force and condemn U.S. rejection of the Kyoto Pact. In fact, today France is the only democracy that is anti-American. The French describe their position with the United States as a petite difference, while its actions prove the contrary.
The U.N., the house of kleptocracy, has come back to life again. It is composed of a majority of kleptocrats, totalitarians, anti-democrats, violators of human rights, and instigators of ethnic cleansing, many of which are anti-American. Without the United States, the United Nations is an impotent organization. The United States, the greatest world champion of human rights, domestic and foreign, has been ousted by a tactical U.N. act of two communist totalitarian states, China and Cuba. William Safire in the April 23 edition of the New York Times called it the "commission of Human Wrongs." The commissions decision to oust the United States is a loss for the oppressed of the world. It is not a loss for America. It only devalues the reputation, already pretty low, of the United Nations.
What supposedly triggered the ouster was a growing resentment of the Bush administrations attitude toward the Kyoto Pact, its rejection of the U.N. International Court of Justice and of the U.N. Law of the Sea. Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican and vice chairman of the House International Relations Committee, and a member of the Bush administration delegation to the Geneva meeting of the commission was quoted in the May 4 New York Times: "In Geneva, there was a great deal of animosity about the United Nations bringing the resolution on China. This seems to me to be retaliation in part for standing side by side with Israel and standing out on China. This to me is a payback for our principled positions."
The Human Rights commission decision will only aggravate U.N.-congressional relationships. Former UN Ambassador Richard H. Holbrooke persuaded Sen. Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to appear before the Security Council and then invite the Security Council to appear before his committee, in an unprecedented attempt to mend U.S.-U.N. relations. This effort on the part of the United States is now in jeopardy. Mr. Helms, who promised to settle U.S. financial obligations to the U.N., is reassessing that decision, according to my sources.
Protestation by the administration that the U.N. commissions action was a technical matter of miscommunication by some U.S. supporters is insufficient. The commission action, although not representative of all U.N. institutions and structures, nevertheless represents the re-emergence of an anti-American ideology. In the past anti-Americanism in the United Nations was led by the Soviet Union, its allies and sycophants. The so-called Bandung neutralist doctrine of nonalignment was promoted by three dictators Marshal Josip Broz Tito, Abdul Gamel Nasser, and Chou En-lai and the anti-American prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. The same commission members who once supported the Soviet Union now support China with the exception of India, which is now becoming a close American ally. The same argument was given then as now. American imperialism, hegemonialism, and expansionism. If you read the minutes of the endless speeches of kleptocrats and authoritarians at the U.N. then and now, you would not know if they were written in the 1960s or yesterday.
A structural revolution in the United Nations is of utmost necessity to bring an end to the equality of states that results in Togo and the United States each having one vote in the General Assembly. There should be other criteria involved that determine how many votes each U.N. member state has. The existing doctrine is anachronistic. It was established by President Roosevelt and his advisers with the idea that the Security Council, which Roosevelt called the Four Policemen of the World, would have veto power, thus overcoming the one-state, one-vote procedure of the General Assembly. The General Assembly should represent a greater role for democratic states than non-democratic states because democratic states are more peaceful and tolerant. Like the ABM Treaty, the U.N. Charter is antiquarian and should be replaced by a more pragmatic and realistic structure.
I know this will not take place in view of U.N. politics and the entrenchment of anti-democratic failed states and kleptocracies that continue to sustain the antiquarian U.N. procedural system. Nevertheless, some general intellectual effort must be made by this U.S. administration to articulate to the United Nations that the reason we refuse to pay our financial obligations is not arbitrary, but based upon the principle that the United States will not support totalitarian and anti-democratic states.
If we are in no position to change at least the political behavior of the United Nations, then we should relegate it to a secondary foreign-policy interest.

Amos Perlmutter is a professor of political science and sociology at American University and editor of the Journal of Strategic Studies.


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