WASHINGTON -- For the past two weeks, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, has been trying to talk to the speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, about the back dues owed the U.N. by the United States. The speaker is refusing to speak to the ambassador.
That should give you some idea of the trouble the United Nations is in with Republicans and other conservatives. That is why Holbrooke used a football analogy in a speech here last Monday, saying: "I feel as if I'm in the fourth quarter of a game with five or six minutes left, and no one will tell me the score."
Actually, the real game of paying the United States' bills at the United Nations is not being played on the field. Holbrooke and Hastert are new players. The true game has been going on for years in the silent world of direct mail. Conservative organizations and politicians have been using the United Nations as a whipping boy in the way that liberals used Hastert's predecessor, Newt Gingrich, to scare the wits and checks out of their constituency.
Here are a couple of lines from a collection of anti-U.N. mailbox literature:
-- From a letter sent by a group called Fortress America: "Our American boys are being kept out of the country, trapped in hellholes like Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda. While on American soil, foreign troops train with tanks, fighters and flamethrowers. ... This is an Enemy who has troops inside of our borders. ... If you could manage an emergency one-time gift of $500 or $1,000 ..."
-- From The Conservative Caucus Inc: "The Charter of the U.N. was drafted by Communist spy Alger Hiss. ... It's an outrage that Congress and the President have surrendered control of policy and money to the Marxists, who use it to promote abortion and homosexuality. ... Rush this back to me with your urgently needed gift of $20, $50, $250, $500 or even $1,000 ..."
-- From Congressman Ron Paul: "It's the end of the gravy train for the socialists, liberal elitists and freeloaders at the U.N ... cuts off all American funding for the U.N. and its agencies ... Hopefully, you'll send $75, $100, $250, $500 ..."
-- From State Department Watch: "If you still feel pride when you see an American flag pass by ... I cannot bear to see American soldiers dishonored by being forced to wear U.N. uniforms ... But I am not a rich man, so I need your contribution ..."
-- From The Weekly Standard subscription department, under photographs of its editors, William Kristol and Fred Barnes: "We have some shocking news about America's sellout to the U.N. ... If you decide to continue your subscription, you'll get 24 more weeks ..."
U.N.-bashing is obviously good for business. It's also pretty good for people who want to keep Republican members of Congress in line. The fact that most of the stuff being sent out is ridiculous has very little to do with this long campaign.
You don't have to send me money to get my opinion, which is: The United Nations was among the most brilliant achievements of that most brilliant of American politicians, Franklin D. Roosevelt. We molded the world in our own image and got other countries to pay for most of it. Until the 1970s, our control was so absolute that the United States did not have to use its veto power for more than 20 years.
The world is more complicated now, but still nothing happens at the United Nations, good or bad, that the United States does not want to happen. We're running the world, guys, and the United Nations is an instrument of the power that has spread democracy and free-market capitalism into every nook and cranny of global life.
Marxism? Don't make me laugh. Foreign soldiers in the United States? We have been training them here since the end of World War II, not for the United Nations, but to make many armies and air forces around the world partly owned subsidiaries of our military and of our values and national interest.
"Loss of sovereignty" is the cry of many anti-U.N. fund-raisers. None of them seem aware that economic globalization -- or even international air traffic control -- are destroying sovereignty before our eyes. The most important change in the sovereignty game is a steady expansion of American sovereignty all over the world.
Remember Kosovo? The United Nations didn't do that; we did. Before you send in your money or worry about black helicopters and flying saucers whisking away sovereignty and little children, take a real look at who has the power in this world at this time. The people collecting this money are crackpots smarter than the people listening to this nonsense.
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