By GotDesign
For some time now, I have been considering the potential need for the United States to withdraw from the United Nations. Today, Sen. Norm Coleman wrote an article in the WSJ Opinion Journal calling for Kofi Annan's resignation. While I agree that Annan's ouster would be a good first step, I don't think it would make a significant contribution to solving the problems of the U.N.'s corruption, misdirection and lack of efficacy. Something must be done. But what?

It is now completely apparent that the U.N. under Annan has become a very corrupt organization. The Oil for Food (OFF) Program is an entrenched bureaucracy that has such mass that, even if the U.N. wanted to, terminating the program would be extremely difficult on political grounds, as well as in administrative terms. While Claudia Rosette stops short of claiming that Annan himself is corrupted through his son's employment with a Geneva-based consulting firm, she does lay blame at Annan's feet for not managing the OFF closely enough to preclude the corruption that is now rampant. This lack of management (really a denial of responsibility) is also apparent as Annan has also recently come under fire for not taking action regarding allegations that Ruud Lubbers (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees) groped an American woman who worked for the UNHCR. The U.N.'s Internal Oversight Services office investigated and backed the woman's claims of sexual harassment. Despite the investigation's results, Annan cleared Lubbers and does not intend to further pursue the allegations. While I would welcome Anan's departure, willing or forced, he is only a symptom of the overall problems of the U.N.

The United Nations was formed to be a forum for nations on the verge of war to resolve their differences through diplomacy. The U.N. also was chartered to foster better relations between nations through increased communications. But the U.N. has become as effective at these functions as a nervous, inebriated freshman in a hotel room on Prom night. Where was the U.N. when Hutus started slaughtering Tutsis in Rwanda in the mid-90s? The U.N. was unable to keep Serbia from slaughtering non-Serbs in the former Yugoslavia without resorting to military force. And it is unlikely that the U.N. will keep Rwanda from invading the Democratic Republic of the Congo in pursuit of Hutu rebels. In fact, I cannot think of a situation where the U.N. has kept war from erupting in at least the past decade. And some could claim that the U.N. actually created the circumstances in which the United States found it necessary to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. Why should the United States continue to participate in the U.N.? Why should the U.S. allow itself to be bound by a feckless organization when it is more than likely that the U.S. will either have to act unilaterally or in concert with a contingent of allies?

It is my intention to continue to follow the ineptitude of the United Nations. While Kofi Annan has begun a course of "sweeping changes" at the U.N., I don't expect much actual change. I will be making the case, over time, for the withdrawal from the U.N. The United States is not incapable of mediating world conflict or fostering negotiations or, when necessary, intervening militarily in order to promote and/or enforce the peace. Why bind ourselves to an impotent, moribund bureaucracy?

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