The “United Nations Reform Act of 2005” masquerades as a bill that will cut US dues to the United Nations by 50% if that organization does not complete a list of 39 reforms. On the surface any measure that threatens to cut funding to the United Nations seems very attractive, but do not be fooled: in this case reform “success” will be worse than failure. The problem is in the supposed reforms themselves-- specifically in the policy changes this bill mandates.
The proposed legislation opens the door for the United Nations to routinely become involved in matters that have never been part of its charter. Specifically, the legislation redefines terrorism very broadly for the UN’s official purposes-- and charges it to take action on behalf of both governments and international organizations.
What does this mean? The official adoption of this definition by the United Nations would have the effect of making resistance to any government or any international organization an international crime. It would make any attempt to overthrow a government an international causus belli for UN military action. Until this point a sovereign government retained the legal right to defend against or defeat any rebellion within its own territory. Now any such activity would constitute justification for United Nations action inside that country. This could be whenever any splinter group decides to resist any regime-- regardless of the nature of that regime.
What if this were in place when the Contras were fighting against the Marxist regime in Nicaragua? Or when the Afghan mujahadeen was fighting against the Soviet-installed government in the 1980s? Or during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising? The new message is clear: resistance-- even resistance to the UN itself-- is futile. Why does every incumbent government, no matter how bad, deserve UN military assistance to quell domestic unrest?
This new policy is given teeth by creating a “Peacebuilding Commission,” which will serve as the implementing force for the internationalization of what were formerly internal affairs of sovereign nations. This Commission will bring together UN Security Council members, major donors, major troop contributing countries, appropriate United Nations organizations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund among others. This new commission will create the beginning of a global UN army. It will claim the right to intervene in any conflict anywhere on the globe, bringing the World Bank and the IMF formally into the picture as well. It is a complete new world order, but undertaken with the enthusiastic support of many of those who consider themselves among the most strident UN critics.
Conservatives who have been critical of the UN in the past have enthusiastically embraced this bill and the concept of UN reform. But what is the desired end of “UN reform”? The UN is an organization that was designed to undermine sovereignty and representative government. It is unelected and unaccountable to citizens by its very design. Will UN reform change anything about the fact that its core mission is objectionable? Do honest UN critics really want an expanded UN that functions more “efficiently”?
The real question is whether we should redouble our efforts to save a failed system, or admit its failures-- as this legislation does-- and recognize that the only reasonable option is to cease participation without further costs to the United States in blood, money, and sovereignty. Do not be fooled: it is impossible to be against the United Nations and to support “reform” of the United Nations. The only true reform of the United Nations is for the US to withdraw immediately.