How to fix the UN

Planning is going forward for another UN conference on racism, to be held in 2009:

Despite its numerous calls for Israel’s destruction, and repeated denials of the Holocaust, Iran has been selected by the United Nations for a leading position in a committee that will plan the 2009 UN World Conference against Racism.

The planning committee, which will meet for the first time in Geneva on August 27, will be made up of an inner circle of 20 UN member-states, to be headed by Libya. — YNet [my emphasis]

The committee is made up of Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Croatia, Cuba, Estonia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Norway, Russia, Senegal, South Africa and Turkey.

Flyer from Durban NGO forumIt will be interesting to see if the committee will manage to exclude antisemitism from the definition of racism, or if they will just leave it up to the conference as a whole to assail Israel and Zionism, as happened at Durban in 2001. Certainly, if any questions of procedure that will relate to them come up in the planning process, at least eight (possibly more) of the above 20 are guaranteed to take the anti-Israel side, no matter what.

Given the nature of the Durban conference — a forum for antisemitism, anti-Zionism, and anti-Americanism, 3 days prior to 9/11 — and the makeup of the committee, it’s likely that this one will be even worse. Eye on the UN calls it ‘Durban II’.

I know that Israel and the US consider the UN the only game in town for international cooperation. But even the trivial aspects of it are repellent — the huge, expensive bureaucracy of arrogant functionaries supported mostly by US tax dollars, the conferences in luxurious settings around the world where nothing is accomplished, the scofflaw behavior of its diplomats and staff in New York City.

Now add to this the institutional bias in favor of the Palestinians and against Israel, the special committees and ‘divisions‘ which exist only to support the Arab project of eliminating Israel, the resolutions, the conferences like Durban, etc.

The UN has some accomplishments. Most of them are in the past, but some agencies continue to do worthwhile things. It’s easy to say ‘abolish it’, but really, there needs to be some mechanism for dealing with problems that individual nations and blocs can’t or won’t solve.

I have a modest proposal that would go a long way toward improving the UN:

Make a rule that only democracies can vote in any of the UN’s forums.

Non-democracies could be present as observers, but could not directly influence policy. We could use a relatively loose definition of ‘democracy’, that would include some of the borderline cases like Russia, but monarchies, dictatorships, etc. would be out.

It’s only fair — after all, in today’s UN there are single families (e.g., the house of Saud) that have as many votes in the General Assembly as the 303 million people of the US. And the Emir of Qatar can vote in the security council, although he doesn’t have a veto.

Many of the countries that would be excluded are allegedly concerned with human rights and self-determination (at least, they talk about them in connection with the Palestinians), and these principles are a priori denied by non-democracies. Since the UN is founded on these ideas (see Article 1, Section 1 of the UN Charter), it is entirely reasonable that only nations that actually have a chance of promoting them be allowed to vote.

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