John Bolton Is Right about the UN

March 26, 2018 | Bret Stephens
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The UN Human Rights Council—a body that includes representatives of Cuba, Afghanistan, and Qatar—convened last week and issued five anti-Israel resolutions, one of which preposterously demanded that the Golan Heights be returned to Bashar Assad’s Syria. Meanwhile, Iran, North Korea, and Syria merited one resolution each. Such all-too-typical anti-Israel obsessions are only part of the United Nations’ many flaws, which John Bolton—the newly appointed American national security adviser—has frequently called to public attention. Bret Stephens writes:

The UN is a never-ending scandal disguised as an everlasting hope. The hope is that dialogue can overcome distrust and collective security can be made to work in the interests of humanity. Reality says otherwise. Trust is established by deeds, not words. Collective security is a recipe for international paralysis or worse. Just ask the people of Aleppo.

As for the scandals—where to start? UN peacekeepers caused a cholera epidemic in Haiti that so far has taken 10,000 lives. Yet it took UN headquarters six years to acknowledge responsibility. An Associated Press investigation found “nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and other personnel around the world” over a twelve-year period, including 300 allegations involving children. “But only a fraction of the alleged perpetrators served jail time.” . . .

And then there are comparatively lesser scandals. Like Oil for Food, the multibillion-dollar program intended to feed hungry Iraqi children and used by Saddam Hussein in a kickback scheme involving a rogue’s gallery of international enablers. Or the use of UN schools in Gaza to store weapons aimed at Israel. Or the 2016 admission by a UN oversight body that some UN agencies “continue to remain in a state of near-denial with regard to fraud.” . . .

The UN adopted what were supposed to be landmark reforms more than a decade ago. Yet the mismanagement, corruption, abuses, and moral perversities remain. Iran sits on the executive board of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Syrian regime is represented on the UN’s Special Committee on Decolonization, dedicated to “respect for self-determination of all peoples.” . . .

“Imagine if the UN was going to the United States and raping children and bringing cholera,” Mario Joseph, a Haitian lawyer seeking compensation for the UN’s victims, told the Associated Press. . . . I agree with Bolton about some things and disagree about others. But on the UN he’s been right all along. If his presence in the White House helps to scare the organization into real reform, so much the better.

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