A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Citizen Sandor, Part II

Part I here.

Last time I raised some practical objections to promoting the UN as an effective model for world government. They included its inherently undemocratic nature and its failure to fulfill its primary objective, the safeguarding of human rights. This part is supposed to cover my ideological differences with the UN, but in writing it I found that what I really have is one major disagreement. There are a host of smaller ones, but those are better covered by referring you to John Fonte’s The Ideological War Within the West; anything I had to say would only be a repetition of what Fonte has already stated far more eloquently than I could.

My big ideological problem with the UN is that it is, quite simply, a victimhood cult. By this I mean that the UN, as a body, views certain groups as victims – most notably the "Palestinians" – and then bestows upon them a favored status in negotiations and is willing to excuse in them the most intolerable of behaviors. In almost every general assembly vote that condemns Israel or The United States there are well over 100 "yea"s and barely a dozen (if that many) "nay"s. Yet the US provides tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid to countries across the world and has stuck its neck out for them hundreds of times in dozens of different ways. The Israelis suffer more terrorist attacks than any other nation on Earth. What gives? Why are we the bad guys?

Simple. We’re not in the UN’s select group of victims.

The United States has never sought victimhood status – though when we became victims on September 11th, 2001 everyone sure loved us for a couple weeks – and the Israelis have long since given up on expecting fair treatment from the UN. Both nations fight their own battles and are willing to exercise unilateral authority in their own best interests. And along with a few others like the UK, Australia, and Japan, both Israel and the US are big on personal and national responsibility. When there is a blackout in Washington or Tel Aviv or Tokyo no one starts pointing fingers at Mexico City or Berlin or Beijing; instead we send repair crews to find the problem and just fix it. Not so in most of the rest of the world. Got a famine in North Korea? Blame the US. A power failure in Riyadh? Must be the Jews. Parisian kids speaking less French? Obviously the fault of the British. The basic upshot of all this is that nations that stand up for themselves and take responsibility for their own problems get no respect in the UN; conversely, those that consistently blame the Evil Empire and International Whatchamacallit Conspiracy become classified as victims and are virtually guaranteed UN sympathies.

And the sickest part is that acquiring victimhood status has little to do with actually being a victim – if it did, Israel would be the UN’s favorite son – but mostly with who plays victim the best.

Don’t believe me? Try this one on for size: Since 1945 the UN has passed over 700 resolutions, 450 of which condemn Israel in some way. And not one – not one! – condemning an Arab country or a terrorist organization. Israel, that tiny little scrap of land on the dry southeastern edge of the Mediterranean, lone Democracy of the Middle East and the region’s most productive nation (per capita), has drawn over half of all UN ire. But Al Queada, Saddam’s Iraq, The Sudan, and the Taliban? None at all.

Now here someone is almost certainly thinking Well, might that be because the US and Israel are actually evil? If they condemn you so much, you must be doing something to piss them off.

The answer is "Yes and No".

Yes we’re doing something to piss them off, but No it isn’t evil. The Israelis piss off the UN (and the 20 Muslim nations they "victimize") by steadfastly looking out for themselves, taking a hard-line stance against their enemies, and – worst of all – winning the wars that result when those enemies attack them. The US pisses off the UN for the same reasons often enough, but also because we refuse to join the victimhood cult; the US has vetoed almost every Security Council resolution that condemns Israel. Not because we don’t wish to condemn Israel for certain things – like any other people the Israelis are not without fault – but because the resolutions presented inevitably condemn only Israel and not Hamas or Islamic Jihad or any of the other parties involved. The US insists on being even-handed when passing a resolution, but the UN rejects even-handedness because that would regard all parties in the dispute equally. As far as the UN is concerned you can’t treat the parties equally – one must be the victim.

So we end up with the absurd circumstances we have today: 20 Arab and Muslim nations of almost a billion people successfully claiming to be victims of tiny Israel; those nations using their victimhood status to pass resolution after resolution condemning Israel but not Israel’s attackers; the US vetoing the resolutions because of their blatant unfairness; and finally the UN and the "victimized" nations calling us evil or rogue or empire (or sometimes all three) because we refuse to bow to the will of the victimhood cult.

Infuriating. I will not allow such an organization any power over me whatsoever. Period.

My other ideological differences with the UN are less important and have mostly to do with its Transnational Progressivist leanings. I’m not ready to accuse the UN of consciously pushing a Transie agenda just yet, but I don’t believe we’re more than a decade away from them trying exactly that (or something even worse). I encourage you to read Fonte’s article; pay particular attention to his arguments about the promotion of collectivism and the redefinition of democracy. You can see evidence of both in recent decisions and actions by the UN and the EU.

I’ve gone on too long again – sorry – so I’ll save the last part of this rant for later this week or early in the next. It’ll be about the idea of the world-state itself. Is such a thing possible? Or desirable? And if so, what might one look like?