My reaction to the report that former U.S. President Bill Clinton wants to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations was: "What a perfect match." Currently, the United Nations is little more than a forum for posturing gasbags to sermonize with feigned erudition. Style, as they say, is more important than substance, and authentic accomplishments are not necessary credentials. All that matters are high-flown bleeding-heart exhortations encouraging the distribution of wealth from the large producing nations to corrupt leaders of third-world countries.
The League of Nations and its progeny, the United Nations, were early experiments with what we call "multiculturalism." The League of Nations was created in 1920 by the ivory tower thinkers of the time. They believed that all countries, regardless of size, stage of development, internal stability and standard of living were equal. They ardently dismissed differences in cultural heritage, religious beliefs and language and maintained that all nations should have the same voice in world affairs. This utopian mindset carried over to the United Nations, that replaced the League in 1946. So, accordingly, a U.N. vote by Botswana carries the same weight as a vote by the United States or Great Britain.
The League was a reaction to World War One and was described as an "international alliance for the preservation of peace." Not long after its creation, the seeds for World War Two began to be sown in Europe. The outbreak of World War Two should have shown that a League of Nations could not stop those who want to wage war. But ivory tower thinkers are rarely deterred. They decided to try it all over again. So the United Nations was created as an "international organization of countries created to promote world peace and cooperation." Since the creation of the United Nations, we have had a phenomenal proliferation of wars and conflicts; a new one begins before an old one ends. Of course, many of these wars were described as "peace-keeping missions" but this designation has become a little tiresome.
Wisely, the United States did not ratify the League of Nations and the League’s failure should have indicated that the decision not to ratify was a prudent one. But, with ivory tower thinkers, fancy theories are more important than common sense. For them, there is no such thing as a failed theory, only a poorly implemented one. So, like a laboratory rat in a maze, they keep going down the same wrong tunnel; a tunnel without any cheese at the end.
Although many of the U.N. delegates represent poor, struggling countries, the delegates all live in luxury financed by exorbitant expense accounts. They also have diplomatic immunity so many of their peccadilloes are tolerated. And isn’t it ironic that delegates who continually criticize the United States often represent countries that receive enormous foreign aid from the United States?
One of the U.N.’s first acts was the establishment of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.) With headquarters in Paris, UNESCO seeks to "encourage collaboration among nations in the areas of education, science, culture, and communication" endeavors that include "regional and cultural history projects" — a goal that today we might call "celebrating diversity." UNESCO, with a huge central organization and 60 field offices, has been a costly organization and 30 percent of its budget was paid for by the United States and Great Britain.
However, these two nations became disillusioned with UNESCO because of the conduct of its general director, Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow of Senegal. Under M’Bow’s leadership, there were six administrative employees in Paris for every worker in the field. M’Bow also spent 80 % of the agency’s budget for "administrative expenses" in the Paris headquarters. There were reports of ongoing corruption in UNESCO’s administration as well as excessive spending on social functions, questionable consultants and questionable projects. And, the agency was colored by a florid anti-Western bias.
Because of waste and corruption along with the anti-Western bias, the United States and Great Britain withdrew from UNESCO in the mid 1980s. This was a serious blow to the agency’s funding. However, the election of Bill Clinton as President changed UNESCO’s fortunes. Mr. Clinton revived U.S. membership in UNESCO and reinstituted American funding of the Paris agency with U.S. taxpayer dollars.
One of UNESCO’s recent projects is called "Lifeline Expedition" which aims at "bringing people from Africa, the Americas and Europe to journey together in order to promote reconciliation in the context of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and its legacy, at bringing an apology for the slave trade, and raising funds for projects in Africa and the Caribbean and at encouraging fair trade, thus reversing the south to north flow which has exploited Africa." Educational material on slavery has been developed for schools and teacher training workshops are underway. Also, an International Youth Forum is proposed and schools will be assisted in launching campaigns against racism.
Currently, Lifeline Expedition is conducting "Slavery Walks," the first taking place in Annapolis on September 29th. In these "Walks" blacks are the slave masters and they escort white "slaves" wearing yokes and chains through the city. According to a Lifeline spokesman, these Walks will bring racial reconciliation and educate Americans about slavery.
But today, slavery exists only in Sudan, Mauritania and other parts of Africa. So wouldn’t it be more humanitarian for UNESCO to focus its financial resources on places where slavery is thriving rather than where it has been eliminated? But UNESCO and its parent, the United Nations, seem reluctant to be critical of non-western or emerging nations. Large Western nations remain the singular target of their criticisms. Being somewhat of a cynic, I suspect that the purpose of this technique is to generate increased wealth transfers from larger nations to smaller ones. If my supposition is true, William Jefferson Clinton is the perfect choice for the U.N. Secretary-General.
Gail Jarvis [send him mail], a CPA living in Beaufort, SC, is an advocate of the voluntary union of states established by the founders.