The Neo-Cons vs the United Nations

Email Print

Memo To:
Pat Buchanan
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Choosing sides

not sure you ever had anything good to say about the United Nations,
but I know you at least have never condemned it in the way our
new U.N. Ambassador has – John Bolton at one point arguing
that it really doesn’t exist. Over the years, I’ve had
problems with the U.N., especially at the height of the Cold War.
Yet I have always looked upon the tall pile of bricks at Turtle
Bay in Manhattan as a necessary international institution. I never
thought it could really do much harm as long as the United States
had veto power over Security Council resolutions that might run
counter to our national interests. The General Assembly could
pass resolutions we didn’t like from dawn 'til the cows came
home, but as long as they could not enforce those resolutions,
they seemed only a nuisance.

It could
be that I was aware of its coming into existence after WWII, when
I was nine years old. It was about the only issue that my conservative
father and my left-wing maternal grandfather could agree was a
good thing. Why? Because it would provide a place where nations
could discuss their differences and try to resolve them through
diplomatic means. Diplomacy is always cheaper than war. Yes there
was the Korean War and the Vietnam War, more “battles”
within the larger Cold War than actual “wars.” But the
U.N. did not interfere with Washington’s decisions to engage
in those long battles. The Korean War was actually a “police
action” endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, with the Soviet
Union not showing up to veto the resolution. (Perhaps because
it believed it would be in Moscow’s best interest to have
the U.S. tied down in an Asian war, which of course turned out

You may not
appreciate my perspective, Pat, but I would say the proof is in
the pudding, i.e., our United States “won the Cold War”
without a nuclear exchange. Can you say that would have happened
if the pile of bricks on Turtle Bay never existed? Conservatives
have long dismissed the U.N. as an expensive “debating society,”
but how expensive could it have been if in the end it played a
constructive role in preventing the nuclear exchange we all worried
about when we learned the Soviets had nukes? I never covered the
U.N. full time, but the old National Observer would send me there
on special assignment in the late 1960s, so I did get to experience
first hand the discussions and debates that went on, not only
in the halls, but also in the dining rooms, the elevators and
even the men’s rooms. I wrote several thousand words on the
India/Pakistan war that was a hot topic at the U.N., and I wound
up appreciating the salubriousness of intellectual engagement
in that pile of bricks when the war ended with little loss of

The reason
I am writing to you, Pat, is to try in a small way to let you
see that for all our complaints about the United Nations during
the Cold War, there is a new paradigm. In the Cold War, the chess
game between the Capitalist West and the Communist East meant
that Washington and Moscow (and Beijing, from time to time), would
try to win over “Global Public Opinion” by sucking up
to the “lesser nations” with money bribes and military
or economic assistance. The nature of the bilateral contest for
global dominance meant that the countries of the world lined up
on one side or the other, with Washington or Moscow, and expressed
that support at the General Assembly and the Security Council.
None of that goes on anymore. Why?

Because we
are in a unipolar world. The United States is at the top of the
global power pyramid. To me, this means the shifting alliances
that you and I watched on a daily basis during the Cold War are
no longer relevant. The United Nations remains a great debating
society, but all its debates now are aimed at keeping the world
at peace within a capitalist framework, more or less. (Look at
Russia, India, and China if you want to see unbridled capitalism
at work.)

If we now
look back two years, to the days before the U.S. went to war against
Iraq, I think you should acknowledge that the international political
body proved far superior to our political national body in debating
war and peace. The U.N., both General Assembly and Security Council,
could clearly see that in March of 2003 there was no threat of
weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein. He had been rendered
toothless by the previous decade on U.N. inspections and U.S./British
bombings. You and I could both see that the war was unnecessary,
but don’t you agree you might not have felt that way unless
you had seen how Saddam had buckled in every way to UNSC #1441?
If we hadn’t watched the proceedings at the U.N. over that
period, we might have gone along with Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz,
Rumsfeld and signed up for war.

What I mean
to say is that conservatives who once decried the United Nations
as a nuisance should now look upon it as a positive force! Republicans
who were snookered by the neo-cons into supporting the Iraq war
are now confused about this new set-up. How could the U.N. have
been right and they wrong? As a “nationalist” and America
First advocate, you can of course continue to view the meanderings
of the U.N. membership with some skepticism, but I’d suggest
that you think of it the way my dad and granddad did back in October
1945. You and I have spent our lives as communicators, and what
the Forces of Darkness in the U.S. wish to do is shut down the
U.N. because they do not want to hear from the rest of the world
what they think of their Plan for American Empire.

This is what
the so-called “Oil-for-Food Scandal” is all about. The
Perle Cabal has been furious with Kofi Annan and the rest of the
U.N. crowd for the past four years, because it has gotten in the
way of their Imperial designs. Here is how I put it in a commentary
I posted here last December 10:

Once it
became clear some months ago that Saddam Hussein had been telling
the truth about not having weapons of mass destruction or connections
to al-Qaeda, it should have been an embarrassment to the neo-conservatives
who talked President George Bush into war with Iraq.

They were
not in the least embarrassed, though, because they had known
well before the invasion that Saddam had done everything he
could possibly do to assure the world that he was no threat
to the region, the US and the world. Their intent all along
was no secret: They wanted "regime change" to fit
their plans for an American empire, with a permanent outpost
in Baghdad.

To do this,
they had to clear out all the obstacles in their path – which
meant open assaults on the international institutions that had
been developed to prevent war, through diplomacy backed by the
threat of sanctions. This meant demeaning the United Nations,
the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)
inspectors of chemical and biological weapons under Hans Blix,
and the International Atomic Energy Agency under Muhammad al-Baradai.

Germany, Russia and China had become obstacles to regime change
in Baghdad, either at the UN Security Council or at NATO, or both.
To neutralize them with American public opinion, the neo-cons
used their contacts in the news media to broadcast the argument
that these countries were pursuing selfish interests related to
Iraq’s oil. Out of this soup came the "oil-for-food scandal"
which now threatens to bring down UN General-Secretary Kofi Annan
and besmirch the UN and its affiliated institutions.

That was
December 10. You can now see more clearly that the only real force
determined to denigrate Kofi Annan, and with him the entire infrastructure
at Turtle Bay, is that of the neo-cons and their allies in Congress
and in the conservative news media. They all went berserk this
last week when Paul Volcker issued his latest report on the “Oil-for-Food
Scandal” and cleared Secretary General Annan of all the slimy
assertions that have emanated from the Wall Street Journal editorial
page and Republican Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Can you
believe Coleman decided that Volcker’s virtual exoneration
of Kofi meant that Kofi should resign or be fired as Secretary

Bottom line,
Patrick, is that we cannot fiddle around and watch these dark
forces of American imperialism continue to have their way, spinning
the news to demonize Kofi Annan and the U.N. agencies that stand
the best chance of seeing the planet through another half century
or more without a nuclear exchange. In the last analysis, you
are either a supporter of the U.N. or another foot soldier in
the Cheney/Perle/Wolfowitz American legion. There is no middle
way, unless you want to play Mugwump. Remember the Mugwumps? Mug
on one side of the fence, wump on the other?

2, 2005

Wanniski [send him mail]
runs the financial/political advisory service

Wanniski Archives

Email Print