- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 9, 2003

Traditional conservative opponents of the United Nations say the United States needs to withdraw from blanket participation in the world body, as the Security Council prepares to vote on whether to authorize an attack on Iraq.
"I think the United Nations is dangerous to our republic and therefore we ought not to participate," said Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican.
As the Bush administration decides this week to put a new resolution to a vote at the U.N. Security Council sanctioning a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, some conservatives say that issues of national security fall under the jurisdiction of Congress not the United Nations.
"Regardless of where you stand on Iraq, the mere suggestion we need to have the good graces of nations not concerned with our well-being or security … is bogus," said Peyton Knight, legislative director for the American Policy Center, a Washington non-profit group that advocates limited government and free-market economics.
Some conservatives say America's continued involvement in the United Nations threatens to undermine the U.S. Constitution and national sovereignty.
"My own view is it's very, very tricky" to support the Constitution while sustaining ties with the United Nations, said former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Texas Republican. "If you're a strict constructionistfl it becomes very difficult to reconcile [participation in the United Nations] with our Constitution."
Mr. Armey said that complaints by U.N. officials that the United States is behind on its dues overlooks that American taxpayers fund nearly a quarter of the organization's budget.
"I see the United Nations as having very little value to us for our interests," Mr. Armey said. "Their constant carping about being in arrears, in light of the fact we contribute 25 percent [of the U.N. budget] since its inception is a source of irritation."
But supporters of the United Nations say that its approval for U.S. policy in Iraq is vital to establishing peace and stability in the country following the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
"It's absolutely imperative to engage the United Nations. What are we going to do after the conflict, for example? The first thing the United States will do is turn around and ask the United Nations for help," said Timothy Wirth, a former U.S. senator from Colorado and president of the United Nations Foundation, an organization that supports the world body.
Mr. Wirth also said that American participation in the United Nations does not violate the Constitution.
"The United States has cooperated with other countries around the world for most of its history," he said. "Working with the United Nations is part of that."
Mr. Wirth disputed the claims of some conservatives who say that the United Nations infringes upon U.S. sovereignty.
"I don't see why [people argue that]. It's an unbelievably shortsighted and narrow view of how the world works. For 200 years, it's [proven] better to work with other people than try to be the world's policemen by ourselves," he said.
Some conservatives point out that American taxpayers are helping to fund an organization that is comprised of numerous authoritarian regimes.
"I think they do have a lot of dictatorships in [the United Nations]. They're very anti-free enterprise and it shows in the way they vote," said Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican.
Mr. Kingston criticized the United Nations for being excessively bureaucratic and wasteful of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
"I think most people who have a sense of the world order realize the United Nations has become a bunch of bureaucrats more concerned about the next state dinner than preserving world peace," he said.
"What I don't like about the United Nations is that while the average taxpayer is out there working hardfl the U.N. people are out there enjoying American tax dollars and just nibbling away at American freedom."

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