April 11, 2006

The Third Annual Week of Loathing (Day the Second): The UN

Very recently, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” discovered that all is not going swimmingly at the august institution known as the United Nations. It appears as if the UN is having its fair share of difficulties. And it seems as if matters are only getting worse.

Frankly, dear reader, this greatly surprised us. Like many of our liberal pals, we previously had unshakeable faith in the UN. If you asked us, Kofi Annan is a one-man peacekeeping machine, heroically saving the world from doom and incidentally pocketing a fortune in the process.

We were, in fact, fully prepared to hand over the United States’ national sovereignty on matters of war and peace to this wonderful international institution, provided that the dedicated geniuses at the UN would handle everything. Utopia, we thought, isn’t Greek for “no place”; rather, it’s Turkish for “the UN saves the day again.” (Admittedly, however, we never excelled at Turkish in school.)

But maybe we were wrong. In the pages of the April number of Commentary, Claudia Rosett offers an interesting piece entitled “How Corrupt Is the United Nations?” Her answer? Perhaps you may be surprised to learn that she finds it very corrupt indeed.

In the course of her article, Ms. Rosett highlights a few of the better known difficulties to plague the good ole’ UN: “the disappearance of UN funds earmarked for tsunami relief in Indonesia”; “the exposure of a transnational network of pedophiliac rape by UN peacekeepers in Africa”; the failure “to run an honest or effective sanctions program in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq”; &c.

It sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Whilst UN bigwigs attempt to gather a sufficiently large sum of money with which to bribe Ms. Rosett into silence about their malefactions, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” figured we’d give some thought to fixing up the UN.

But we are not the only ones intent on making the UN a bit more effective. Apparently, the UN bigwigs, realizing that pedophiliac rape rings don’t play well in most of the world, have tried to demonstrate their concerns about problems at the UN.

In this regard, Ms. Rosett writes:

In the effort to address the UN’s manifold problems, there have been audits, investigations, committees, reports, congressional hearings, action plans, and even a handful of arrests by U.S. federal prosecutors. There have even been calls for Secretary-General Kofi Annan to step down before his second term expires at the end of this year. Solutions have been sought by way of better monitoring, whistleblower protection, the accretion of new oversight bodies, and another round of conditions attached to the payment of U.S. dues. On top of the broad reforms of the early 1990’s, the sweeping reforms of 1997, the further reforms of 2002, and the world summit for reform in 2005, still more plans for reforms are in the works. To its external auditors, internal auditors, joint inspections unit, eminent-persons panels, executive boards, and many special consultants, the UN has recently added an Office of Ethics—now expected to introduce in May what will presumably become an annual event: “UN Ethics Day.”

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: The United Nations sure sounds healthy. Personally, we can’t wait to get our hands on “UN Ethics Day” T-shirts. They’ll probably sell a bundle of those in Rwanda.

Posted at April 11, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack