The United Nations was a bust from the beginning.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry explained that American abstention from a vote to condemn Israel was “about preserving the two-state solution.” On the other hand, as Carol Morello of the Washington Post noted, “the United Nations has a history of considering resolutions critical of Israel, even more than have been applied to rogue states like North Korea.” Indeed, any international body concerned with democracy and human rights would be all over North Korea around the clock.
As Washington Post writer Blaine Harden explained in Escape from Camp 14, North Korea’s forced labor camps “have now existed twice as long as the Soviet Gulag and about twelve times longer than the Nazi concentration camps.” In the view of Kim Il Sung, who with Stalin’s blessing invaded South Korea in 1950, those designated class enemies must be eliminated through three generations. The policy continued under Kim Jong Il, who deployed the camps to eliminate the evil seed.
Little if anything has changed under Kim Jong-un, whose regime deploys nuclear weapons and has recently threatened to turn South Korea, a key U.S. ally, into “ashes.” The regime also aids terrorist groups and kidnaps foreign nationals. Even so, the UN appears unable to distinguish between free but imperfect democracies and a Communist regime of fathomless depravity. On that score, North Korea is hardly alone.
One of the first orders of business for China’s Communist regime was the invasion of Tibet in 1949. Chinese totalitarian rule led to an uprising in 1959 and the Dalai Lama fled to India. By 1965, the UN General Assembly had passed three resolutions condemning Communist China for human rights violations and calling for China to recognize Tibet’s right to self-determination. The Chinese Communists ignored the UN and their occupation of Tibet has outlasted the dictatorship of Fidel Castro, another UN favorite. The liberation of Tibet has not been a priority for the President of the United States or for the UN, which also goes easy on Russia.
Communist Russia contributed nothing to the war in the Pacific but after Japan surrendered in 1945 Stalin invaded and occupied the Kuril Islands, including Shikotan, the most southerly island in the chain. The invading Soviets seized all the land and property of the Japanese residents and in 1947 evicted all Japanese from Shikotan. Since 1992, the Japanese may visit the islands without a visa, but Russia still rules the roost. Japan is a US ally but Russian occupation of the Kuriles has not been a priority of the President of the United States or the UN. That body was also slow in its response to genocide.
As John Barron and Anthony Paul documented in Murder of a Gentle Land: The Untold Story of Communist Genocide in Cambodia, from 1975-1979 the Khmer Rouge murdered nearly two million people, approximately one-fourth of the population. The Khmer Rouge murdered thousands of babies by smashing their heads against a tree and forced prisoners to dig their own graves before killing them with clubs to save bullets. The UN dithered until 1988 before condemning the Khmer Rouge and failed utterly at establishing any kind of tribunal for genocide. In 1999 when Kofi Annan was UN boss, most of the perpetrators still enjoyed complete impunity. Many are still out there but that is of little concerned to the United Nations and the outgoing President of the United States.
As Barry Rubin noted in Silent Revolution, the president has been uncritical of Communist governments and Marxist revolutionary movements. The outgoing president has also been a strong supporter of the United Nations, slanted to the Soviets from the start.
One of UN’s key architects was Alger Hiss, a key Stalinist spy in the U.S. State Department. After Yalta, Hiss’ primary mission was establishing the United Nations, and Hiss was duly appointed acting Secretary General at the founding UN conference in 1945. So from the start the Soviets had their man and Hiss was also involved in selecting some 250 UN employees. Those realities seldom surface, even on “United Nations Day,” October 24. It has also been largely forgotten that that from 1972 to 1982 the Secretary General of the United Nations was a Nazi war criminal.
As the New York Times noted, at age 19 Kurt Waldheim joined the National Socialist German Students League. This was after the Anschluss and in November 1938 Waldheim enrolled in the SA, the Nazi storm trooper organization. During World War II Waldheim served in units “that executed thousands of Yugoslav partisans and civilians and deported thousands of Greek Jews to death camps from 1942 to 1944.” Waldheim lied about his record and the UN looked the other way.
In similar style, few today recall that from 1974 to 1987 the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was Amabou-Mahtar M’Bow of Senegal, a Muslim and co-author of Islam and Muslims in the American Continent. One of M’Bow’s major causes was preserving the “Islamic heritage” of Jerusalem but he also had a taste for the good life. M’Bow spent 80 percent of the UNESCO budget at the organization’s Paris headquarters and ran the organization in lavish and authoritarian style.
On M’Bow’s watch UNESCO funded the PLO and violent Marxist movements around the world. UNESCO served as cover for a dozen of the 47 KGB spies expelled by France in 1983. True to form, UNESCO promoted the “New World Information and Communication Order,” a Soviet-style effort to quash free expression and repress journalists. When the French L’Express described M’Bow as a “megalomaniac despot,” the UNESCO boss sued the publication. All told, M’Bow’s excesses prompted U.S. President Ronald Reagan to pull the United States out of UNESCO in 1984.
Nothing like that has ever occurred to the outgoing President of the United States, who doesn’t care that the UN is tougher on Israel than genocidal Communist dictatorships such as North Korea. The outgoing president has always been harder on America’s friends than its enemies and he finds the UN a convenient forum for that purpose.
Incoming president Donald Trump, on the other hand, does not suffer from Waldheimer’s Disease.
This widespread affliction makes people forget the United Nations was once headed by a Nazi war criminal and harbored megalomaniac despots like Amabou-Mahtar M’Bow. The incoming president also seems to recognize that the UN is wasteful, unaccountable, and hostile to the United States, which pays the lion’s share of the bills.
As the current tangle confirms, the UN also remains hostile to America’s democratic friends and allies such as Israel. So if the new president wants to take the United States out of the UN, he certainly has good grounds to do so.