The U.N.: Symptom of Global Chaos
It’s a dangerous playpen in an increasingly dangerous world.


Conrad Black

The conduct of the United Nations seems to be becoming more and not less bizarre and outrageous. The human-rights performance of both the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly has confirmed that, more than ever, the U.N. is a ludicrous playpen for the failed states and most odious despotisms of the planet. They gleefully and churlishly revile the serious powers, as if in doing so they somehow reversed the balance of strength, moral stature, and civic merit. A numerous U.S. delegation arrived to participate in the Council’s deliberations, ending a long boycott, and each American speaker earnestly proclaimed it an honor to be present. There followed a piling on of the world’s most disreputable regimes, accusing the U.S. of massive civil-rights violations.


The American delegates sat like mute defendants in a show trial while their country was arraigned by the delegates of Cuba, China, Libya, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and many others — including Egypt, a dependent of U.S. aid that has just declined to admit American inspectors to observe its current farcical elections. Unfortunately, they all had a legitimate argument, as they mentioned the failings of American criminal procedure, the racial imbalances and inhumane conditions in the prison system, and various other more or less well-founded complaints. But it does not lie in the mouths of spokesmen for such infamous regimes to condemn the shortcomings of American legal and social justice.


The American delegation offered no defense or riposte, but, like naughty children after being whipped in the woodshed, they all gamely promised that the U.S. would try to do better. The American-delegation leader, Esther Brimmer, happily declared that “the work of this very council is very close to the history and culture of our country.” It is hard to imagine what she had in mind. The same Human Rights Council conducted, on November 10,  a “universal periodic review” of the status of human rights in Lebanon. Israel accused Lebanon of hosting, being heavily influenced by, and generally facilitating the activities of Hezbollah, one of the world’s largest and most ruthlessly efficient terrorist organizations. The Council handed the issue to the General Assembly, where Lebanon’s representative described Hezbollah as “only a resistance movement that had the honor to resist the [Israeli] occupation.” The Syrian delegate described Israel as, by its existence and its conduct, a provocation “which repeats black pages in the history of modern humanity, particularly it reminds us of what happened at the beginning of the Second World War in Europe.” Israel was founded by terrorism, author of the vilest terrorism “on the planet,” and “Israeli state terrorism” was “the one single terrorism in the Middle East.” On November 15, the General Assembly adopted nine resolutions condemning Israel.


The General Assembly had already adopted, in 2010, twelve resolutions condemning Israel, for a total of 21, against a total of only six resolutions condemning other member countries. These resolutions targeted Burma, Iran, and North Korea, but also Afghanistan, which is making a creditable effort to emerge from the Taliban’s reign of terror, the relatively inoffensive Georgia, and the United States. Sudan, which continues its genocidal actions in Darfur, and whose president has been branded a war criminal by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court; Zimbabwe, plundered and oppressed by Mugabe; Cuba — none of these, nor any of the other brutal despotisms of Asia and Africa, generated any official criticism.