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Good bye, Mr Bolton

The UN was 'a gleam' in two men’s eyes when, on board ship in the Atlantic in August, 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the principles that would guide Britain and America in the peace following World War II, and signed the Atlantic Charter . In an unprecedented break with history, where the victors always take the spoils, they promised that as victors they would take no territorial advantages. They would respect the freedom and self-determination of all people, and their rights to level economic playing fields.

The victorious allied powers (who called themselves the United Nations), established the UN to prevent and intervene in conflicts between nations and make future wars impossible or limited. Unfortunately, in an early sign of trouble, one of those allied powers was the Soviet Union which immediately seized and oppressed the independent countries it had earlier “freed” from Nazi oppression. It joined the United Kingdom, the United States, the People's Republic of China (which replaced the Republic of China), and France on the UN Security Council.

As you know, any permanent member on the Council can veto a UN resolution. This is a problem, since a glance at that roster suggests irreconcilable nations. This problem is aggravated by the fact that many UN nations are despotic dictatorships that do not represent their people and actively oppose freedom and human rights. These nations include almost every country in the Middle East and Africa. They contribute little to the UN budget, but their vote on the floor is equal to those countries whose populations and contributions are far greater, and whose people are free.

When you add a sclerotic UN bureaucracy to this raft of murderers and oppressors, you may see why the UN had an oil-for-food scandal that starved babies in Iraq, UN peacekeepers in the Congo demanding sex for food, monstrous human rights violators such as Sudan sitting on the UN Human Rights Council, and a grossly tardy and ineffective response to the devastation of the tsunami.

You may also see why it was the United States Navy and the Royal Australian Navy, with help from Japan, and massive contributions from the US and the UK, that saved desperate tsunami survivors in the first critical days. The UN, which physically arrived on the scene days later, spent considerable energies insisting that American and Aussie sailors wear UN helmets when delivering supplies. Since then reports indicate that the UN has wasted billions in funds, leaving devastated populations unhoused.

As US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton tried valiantly to reform the UN, and make it more transparent and accountable. But given its members, the UN is incapable of reform, and it may be better to acknowledge this fact, and move on. Instead of wasting time and money on the UN, free countries would do better to organize themselves to respond to threats to peace and major disasters.

So good bye, Mr Bolton, and good luck. You are well out of it.

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