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The United League of Nations
1/9/2005 8:09:58 PM
Who decides when a nation is threatened? For this country, the answer is not the U.N., whose inaction in the face of massacres and genocides has proven it to be just a dangerously useless debating society. The decision lies - must always lie - with our own elected representatives.
The United League of Nations:
By Kim Weissman
January 1, 2005
Perhaps it's a case of collective amnesia. Perhaps the United Nations headquarters isn't really in Manhattan after all, but on another planet which hasn't had contact with Earth for the last half-century. Or maybe the "Excellencies" (as the dictators and kleptocrats who haunt the corridors of the United Nations are called) are simply oblivious to reality because they are honored with seats on human rights commissions rather than being condemned for their own human rights abuses, as many of them justly deserve.
In any event, a "High-level Panel" was tasked by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan with producing a report addressing the "Threats, Challenges and Change" necessary for "A More Secure World". Falling back on the U.N.'s insufferably self-righteous belief in its own divine mission, the report joins failed socialist nostrums to pretensions of a mythical competence which the United Nations has proven, over and over again, it does not posses. What the report does not address are charges of institutional corruption - like the oil-for-palaces-and-weapons program.
Because of the rousing "success" of its past peacekeeping missions (800,000 massacred in Rwanda in 1994 under the U.N.'s very noses; 7,000 massacred in the U.N. "safe haven" of Srebrenica, Bosnia, in 1995; allegations of rape and pedophilia by U.N. peacekeepers in Congo; allegations of peacekeepers linked to sex crimes in East Timor and prostitution in Cambodia and Kosovo; and doing next to nothing to stop the ongoing genocide in Sudan; to mention just a few of the U.N.'s sterling achievements), the report renews the U.N.'s demand to be given a standing army by member states. "Deploying military capacities - for peacekeeping as well as peace enforcement - has proved to be a valuable tool in ending wars and helping to secure States in their aftermath. But the total global supply of available peacekeepers is running dangerously low." (Note the phraseology - as though the U.N. has to re-stock its champaign "supply" which "is running dangerously low" ahead of its next diplomatic soiree.)
The report continues, "Just to do an adequate job of keeping the peace in existing conflicts would require almost doubling the number of peacekeepers around the world. The developed States have particular responsibilities to do more to transform their armies into units suitable for deployment to peace operations. And if we are to meet the challenges ahead, more States will have to place contingents on stand-by for U.N. purposes [emphasis added], and keep air transport and other strategic lift capacities available to assist peace operations."
Many of the state constitutions of the United States, when created, contained admonitions such as, "Standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up", and "As standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up", and "standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up in time of peace". In Federalist 41, James Madison warned about America becoming "but a copy of that of the continent of Europe. It will present liberty everywhere crushed between standing armies and perpetual taxes"; and in his first inaugural address, Madison pledged "to keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics so that without standing armies, their liberty can never be in danger". That "armed and trained militia" being, of course, "every man...able to bear arms" (Thomas Jefferson), "their own arms" (Samuel Adams, Alexander Hamilton), and "the great object is that every man be armed" (Patrick Henry).
The potentates at the U.N. who want their own private little army have addressed that troublesome business of privately owned firearms as well - recall the global disarmament plan advanced by the U.N. called the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, the goal of which was to ban all private ownership of firearms. In that regard, the U.N. and our own autocratic gun grabbers are on the wrong side of history as well, as encouraging signs from currently-disarmed Great Britain demonstrate. More about that later.
In A More Secure World: Our shared responsibility, the U.N.'s "High-level Panel" makes no secret of the U.N.'s desire to become rulers of the world; like American leftists, pining for the 'good old days' of socialist collectivism: "...we will have to work collectively to find new ways of regulating the management of natural resources, competition for which often fuels conflict." Perhaps Kofi and the gang didn't notice the disastrous consequences when the old Soviet Union tried collective management of resources. Or perhaps, again like American leftists, the United Nations still thinks that communism is a great idea, but that it failed everywhere it's been tried, simply because the wrong people were in charge. While the world marches toward greater individual liberty, Kofi and the gang are still spouting socialist rhetoric: advocating collective decisions to promote "sustainable development", collective development of renewable energy sources; and continuing to push the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, even while admitting the uselessness of that agreement: "the Protocol by itself is not sufficient to solve the challenge of limiting greenhouse gas emissions."
The report acknowledges the U.N.'s dismal failure to act - or even speak - decisively against terrorism, admitting that "The United Nation's ability to develop a comprehensive strategy [against terrorism] has been constrained by the inability of Member States to agree on an anti-terrorism convention, including a definition of terrorism."
The new report "provides a clear definition of terrorism...and calls on the General Assembly of the U.N. to overcome its divisions and finally conclude a comprehensive convention on terrorism."
The definition proposed by the report is: "any action, in addition to actions already specified by the existing conventions on aspects of terrorism, the Geneva Conventions and Security Council resolution 1566 (2004), that is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants, when the purpose of such an act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act".
Of course, the U.N. will never adopt this definition, because if they did, they would have to admit that Palestinian suicide bombers, who deliberately target Israeli civilians, are terrorists. That would amount to agreeing with both Israel and the United States on an issue - and that would never do. The referenced Security Council resolution 1566 comes close, stating that "criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act... are under no circumstances justifiable", but 1566 does not brand such acts as "terrorism".
Discussing "collective security", the report acknowledges that "States have an inherent right to self-defence, enshrined in Article 51. Long-established customary international law makes it clear that States can take military action as long as the threatened attack is imminent, no other means would deflect it, and the action is proportionate." (That is not what Article 51 says.) The crux of the matter concerns threats that are real but not imminent, and the report asks, "Can a State, without going to the Security Council, claim in these circumstances the right to act, in anticipatory self-defence, not just pre-emptively (against an imminent or proximate threat) but preventively (against a non-imminent or non-proximate one)?" The report sets out five criteria before the U.N. may authorize the use of military force:
1. Seriousness of threat ("is the threatened harm to State or human security of a kind, and sufficiently clear and serious, to justify prima facie the use of military force");
2. Proper purpose ("the primary purpose...whatever other purposes or motives may be involved");
3. Last resort ("has every non-military option for meeting the threat in question been explored");
4. Proportional means ("are the scale, duration and intensity of the proposed military action the minimum necessary to meet the threat in question");
5. Balance of consequences ("consequences of action not likely to be worse than the consequences of inaction").
Putting this verbiage into concrete terms relative to a recent war that the United Nations did authorize - countering Saddam's invasion of Kuwait - demonstrates the problematic nature of these criteria. Item 1: at the time, some argued that the threat wasn't that serious because Kuwait was really a rebel province of Iraq anyway; Item 2: just as with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the usual suspects railed that the real purpose of the Gulf War was to grab Kuwaiti and Iraqi oil; Item 3: many, even in our own Congress, argued for continued sanctions before resorting to war; Item 4: proportionality is contrary to the whole idea of using overwhelming force to defeat an enemy, and guarantees much higher casualties and prolonged warfare; and, Item 5: dire predictions of millions of refugees accompany every military conflict.
All of these items stand out in even starker relief when applied to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. There will always be people who predict the worst disasters and impute the most venal motives to any military conflict (particularly when the United States is involved); and the ultimate question, as always, is: Who decides when a nation is threatened? For this country, the answer is not the U.N., whose inaction in the face of massacres and genocides has proven it to be just a dangerously useless debating society. The decision lies - must always lie - with our own elected representatives.
In the 106th, the 107th, and the 108th congresses, Congressman Ron Paul introduced his American Sovereignty Restoration Act, to end U.S. membership in the U.N., but H.R.1146 has been languishing in the House International Relations Committee, virtually forgotten. It is time to bring that legislation forward, get the U.S. out of the U.N., let the U.N. fade into the sunset, and perhaps create a new international body that recognizes the difference between free, democratic nations and totalitarian dictatorships. And unlike the present United Nations, prefers the former to the latter.
VICTIMIZED BRITS FED UP: There are encouraging signs from Great Britain in the area of self defense. There is no need to recap the explosion in violent crime following the disarming of law-abiding citizens of the U.K., (discussed before in this commentary; and which our mainstream media has, naturally, refused to report). A baffled BBC reported, "While Britain has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world, the recent spate of gun murders in London has highlighted a disturbing growth in armed crime... Although all privately-owned handguns in Britain are now officially illegal, the tightened rules seem to have had little impact in the criminal underworld." With the British government prosecuting homeowners for defending their families against criminal predators, the London Telegraph found that 71% of voters believe that householders should have the "unqualified right to use force, including deadly force, if necessary" against burglars, so long as the force is not "grossly disproportionate" (replacing the far more limited and murkier "reasonable" standard). British conservatives are pushing legislation similar to a 1988 Oklahoma law (the "Make My Day Law"), which has cut burglaries almost in half (don't expect to read that in our media, either). Discussing his bill to strengthen the right of homeowners to protect their families against intruders without being prosecuted, a Tory leader noted that "The fear of imprisonment or physical harm should lie with the intruder, not the homeowner. The law must be on the side of the victim, not the burglar." Criminal-coddling gun-banners in the U.S. and the U.N. - take note.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
United Nations report: A More Secure World: Our shared responsibility; Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change:
Full report: http://www.un.org/secureworld/report.pdf
United Nations Charter (see: Article 51 on national self-defense):
BBC article on escalating crime: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1741336.stm
Kim Weissman says he's "just a retired private citizen, doing what I can to restore fidelity to our Constitution."
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