Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton received a sustained standing ovation Thursday night, as he told a national conference of conservatives that “reform” of the United Nations had failed and that the U.S. has to assume a radically different approach to funding the world organization. He called for an end to “assessed contributions” to the U.N. and urged a completely voluntary system of paying for the activities of the world body. Bolton’s proposal leaves open the distinct possibility that an objective assessment would determine that it does not deserve one red cent in “voluntary” support from American taxpayers.
The out-of-control nature of the world organization is reflected in the fact that the U.N. pension fund has grown to a staggering $37 billion, and that John Kerry’s equally liberal sister Peggy still runs non-governmental organization (NGO) affairs at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. Technically, Bolton, when he was U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., was her boss. But he couldn’t fire her because she is part of the permanent bureaucracy. Peggy Kerry has held the position of NGO liaison at the U.S. mission during the entire Bush Administration but took time off during the 2004 presidential campaign to solicit votes for her brother.
The situation is dire. Unknown to most Americans, because the major media treat the U.N. as a sacred cow deserving more money, an international tax on airline travel is being collected, under the guidance of Ira Magaziner of the Clinton Foundation, and a global carbon tax amounting to 35 cents a gallon of gas is coming. Senator James Inhofe has led efforts to withdraw U.S. funding to the world body if it continues advocating global tax schemes on the American people, but Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wants to provide even more money for U.N. peacekeeping operations.
As Bolton pointed out in his remarks Thursday night to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the U.N.’s system of “assessed contributions” on member states already amounts to a tax on the America people. He pointed out that, under this system, a majority of U.N. members, who collectively pay just 0.3 percent of the U.N.’s budget, can order the U.S. to pay 22 percent or more. On top of that, the U.N. is receiving billions from rich liberals such as Ted Turner.
Most people think the U.S. “contribution” to the U.N. amounts to a couple billion dollars a year. But Senator Tom Coburn has documented that the U.S. funded portion of an annual U.N. budget of $15-$20 billion amounts to between 25 and 30 percent. Under Bush, funding for the U.N. system has grown from $3.1 billion in 2001 to $5.3 billion in 2005.
Free to speak out, since his resignation in the face of the refusal of a hostile Senate to confirm him, Bolton told CPAC that former U.N. chief Kofi Annan was incompetent and should have been fired. Annan was allowed to retire when his second term as U.N. Secretary-General expired. He was replaced by South Korean Ban Ki-moon, a big backer of the international airline tax and other such schemes, usually dubbed “solidarity contributions” for global purposes.
Referring to increasing reliance by the Bush Administration on the U.N. to solve the problems in North Korea and Iran, Bolton reminded the audience of President Bush’s comments on stopping rogue states from developing nuclear weapons. Strongly defending the decision to remove Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Bolton suggested that Bush was running the risk of not being taken seriously in foreign affairs by appearing to back away from tough action, including possibly a military response, in regard to the other two members of the Axis of Evil. He said the word of the President was at stake, leaving no doubt as to what he thought the President had to do. Bolton offered no apologies for a strong U.S. foreign policy that targets emerging threats and strikes our enemies before they attack us.
The enthusiastic reception for Bolton demonstrated how the issue of American sovereignty-and U.S. involvement in the U.N.-has emerged as a critical issue for conservatives. On Saturday, I will participate in a CPAC panel with the title of “UN:-Is it Worth Fixing?”
The answer is no, considering how it continues to serve as a forum for America-bashing. In one of the most recent examples, it was reported that Mexico is drafting a resolution for the United Nations Human Rights Council criticizing the U.S. plan to build a border fence. Before that, Mexico took the United States to the U.N.’s International Court of Justice, complaining about the treatment of Mexican criminals, including convicted killers, by U.S. authorities. The U.N. court ruled against America. Just recently, Mexico’s Congress condemned the United States because workers building a section of fence between the two countries went 10 yards into Mexico.
At the same time, the United Nations is funding former Clinton advisor and Carter official Robert Pastor’s plan to build a “North American Community,” which strikes some observers as a virtual merger of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
The absurdity of Pastor’s plan, which is being implemented by the Bush Administration without the approval or even input of Congress, was demonstrated at his own recent conference on development of a North American legal system. Alberto Sz?kely, a career Ambassador with the Mexican Foreign Service, described Mexico as “a country where the contravention of the law is the daily rule rather than the exception.” He said the Mexican legal system is characterized by official corruption, including widespread influence peddling, graft, racketeering, bribery, payoffs and kickbacks. He said Mexico is also characterized by systematic police brutality, extrajudicial executions, deplorable incarceration conditions, widespread torture and violation of fundamental human rights.
When a Mexican in the audience rose during the question-and-answer period to insist that Mexico had signed various human-rights treaties, Sz?kely smiled and politely pointed out that the rights supposedly guaranteed by those documents did not actually exist within the country.
With that comment, he succeeded in drawing attention to how the U.N. serves as a fig leaf behind which corrupt governments posture as human-rights defenders. And that is another reason why the U.N. can only be “fixed” when it is dead and gone.