By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
What should be realistic expectations from the UN against the backdrop of the recent visit, to Israel, by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterrez?
On December 22, 2011, the UN General Assembly held a “moment of silence” in honor of the deceased North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il, a leading violator of human rights, promoter of narcoterrorism, manufacturer of weapons of mass destruction – including chemical - who threatened the globe with a nuclear option.
This episode highlighted the accurate meaning of “UN” as defined in dictionaries: a negative prefix, expressing “absence,” “lack,” “deficiency” and “adverse.”
UNdemocratic. According to the 2017 Freedom House report, “of the 195 UN member-states assessed, 87 (45%) were rated Free…. The Middle East and North Africa region had the worst ratings in the world, followed closely by Eurasia….”
UNscrupulous and UNspeakable. According to UN Watch, the 2017 membership of the UN Human Rights Council – elected with a mandate “to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights” - includes systematic, grave violators of human rights such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Cuba, Burundi, Eritrea, Bangladesh and China.
UNsavory, UNtenable and UNwilling to defy rogue regimes. On May 19, 2017, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, criticized the Geneva-based UN agency, WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), for facilitating an international patent application, requested by North Korea, for the production of chemical sodium cyanide, used in making nerve gas: “The thought of placing cyanide in the hands of the North Koreans, considering their record on human rights, political prisoners and assassinations is not only dangerous but defies common sense.”
UNfit. According to Singapore-based The Straits Times, “The UN has imposed six sets of sanctions against North Korea since its first nuclear test in 2006, but these have failed to stop the isolated state from pursuing its missile weapons program…. The North has cultivated its own research and development program that is often underestimated…. China accounts for, at least, 90% of North Korean trade…. Pyongyang has adopted fake business aliases, disguising ships with foreign flags…. Cash cows include the illicit drug trade in Southeast Asia and arms trade with sub-Saharan Africa….”
UNsuitable and UNable. The UN has failed in the battle against Islamic terrorism due to structural, ideological and performance deficiencies. Dr. Brett Shaeffer of the Heritage Foundation opined: “The UN has never agreed on a definition of terrorism, [which] inhibits its efforts…. UN peacekeepers have proven to be poor war fighters. Compliance with Security Council resolutions can be haphazard among nations…. Few countries outside the US are willing or capable of taking military action to deter ISIS…. A great deal of the blame for failure is due to divergent interests among the member states….”
UNrelevant and UNtrustworthy. The UN has failed in its attempts to neutralize the growing conventional and non-conventional threats of Iran’s Ayatollahs. On November 14, 2016, the UN paid lip service – but no significant action - to a letter signed by 11 Arab countries, such as Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, documenting the Ayatollahs’ exportation of state-sponsored terrorism and subversion throughout the Middle East.
UNreliable, UNproductive , UNethical and Unacceptable. The UN demonstrated its mode of operation – which further destabilized an UNstable globe - upon launching the scandalously corrupt 1996 oil-for-food program, and shamefully failed peacekeeping missions (which involved massive massacres and rapes) in the Congo (1960), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1993), Rwanda (1995), Sierra Leon (1999), Burundi (2004), Sudan (2005) and South Sudan (2011).
UNgrateful. In a most detailed account of UN failures, Dr. Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation, documented that “all too often the UN is used as a multilateral vehicle with which to rein in the American superpower… [although] the US has been the UN’s biggest contributor since it was founded in 1945, contributing over $5BN annually to the world body… 22% of the UN’s annual budget and more than the combined contributions of France, Germany, China, Canada and Russia…. The US contributes 48% of the World Food Program budget, 31% of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 17% of the UNICEF budget, 27% of the UN peacekeeping budget….”
UNwarranted. Should the UN sustain its UNaccomplished performance, which has added fuel to spreading global fires, it will follow in the footsteps of the UNreliable League of Nations, fading into irrelevance.