Sorry, but we're stuck with the UN

The estimable Silvio Canto has written another of his delightfully short articles, this one against the United Nations, Don’t Send the UN Another Dime!, published in AT on October 19, 2019. In this article, Mr. Canto cited yet another UN absurdity, this time the inclusion of Venezuela on the UN’s Human Rights Council. (!!!!)

A hallmark of Mr. Canto’s contributions to AT is their brevity. And a good thing in this case, because a full litany of the UN’s depravities would far exceed AT’s upper limit of 1,200 words. Mr. Canto could have included: the inability of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to rein in Iran and North Korea; the UN’s depraved concentration on Israel’s alleged “offences” while ignoring far greater depravity among Communist or Third World despotisms; the UN’s “peacekeeping” contingents that keep the peace in places where they are stationed by raping the female population there; the absurdity of allowing Communist and Third World despotisms to inhabit the same moral plane as the Western democracies; the UN’s UNESCO agency, which promotes Socialism. And I’ll stop here, for otherwise my article might bust AT’s upper word limit!

And yet…

The UN performs many necessary and even vital functions, in the realms of regulating international commerce and in promoting health. Let’s describe some of them. Do you readers agree that trademark protection, copyright protection, and patent protection are all Good Things? So do I. And in the United States, we have regulatory agencies that perform these functions: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and U.S. Copyright Office.

But what about international copyrights, trademarks, and patents? Isaac Asimov wrote over 650 books -- and couldn’t collect the royalties for works of his published in in translation in the Soviet Union, because the USSR wasn’t a signatory to the International Copyright Convention. Wouldn’t it be a good thing if there were international agencies that could enforce international trademark and copyright and patent protection?

There are. They operate under UN auspices. For these functions, the UN has the World Trade Organization and the International Copyright Convention to protect intellectual property rights.

How about civil aviation? In the USA we have the FAA to enforce uniform safety standards for aviation maintenance and airports. And the airlines are grateful for this, because if the same safety rules apply to all, then nobody has worry about competitors seeking a market advantage by cutting corners on safety. Internationally, the same function is performed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Under the ICAO, international travellers can be reasonably sure that it’s safe to travel in the Third World or in Russia, because the ICAO requires their airlines and airports to operate safely, by meeting certain standards.

Have you readers seen HAZMAT placards on commercial trucks or tractor-trailers? The numbers and color schemes on them are UN codes. Any container of HAZMAT is identifiable as such anywhere in the world, because of this standardized placarding. This facilitates international commerce -- and permits emergency responders to know what to do in the event of accidents, because they can quickly identify the type of emergency on their hands.

International frequency assignments for radio and TV transmissions are handled by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union. This performs the same necessary function internationally that the FCC does domestically in the USA.

Fisheries shared by several nations are regulated by the UN, to prevent overfishing.

All of these functions are necessary for the health of the world’s economy. The world needs regulatory agencies to perform them, and it probably does no harm if these agencies operate under the aegis of something called the “United Nations Organization.”

Additionally, the International Court of Justice establishes jurisdiction over war crimes committed in places where US forces have no jurisdiction. For all the criticism that can be levied against the ICJ for its many weaknesses, it’s better than nothing.

Then there’s the UN’s Secretariat. Thanks to the same absurdity that allows France to have a veto power from its permanent seat there, at least the United States can prevent a lot of mischief from being committed against it and against Israel, by judicious use of its own veto power. Being able to veto UN’s absurdities is worth some of the dues money we pay to it.

But all that is as nothing, compared to the UN’s signal achievement, which is the eradication of smallpox.

Smallpox is probably the greatest scourge in the history of humanity. It probably killed more people than any other disease, on every continent, and that includes bubonic plague. Particularly in the Americas, where the native AmerIndians had no immunity to it, it wiped out entire populations.

And yet, smallpox is now extinct, except in cryogenic storage vaults in Atlanta and Moscow, and perhaps in graveyards. That’s because the UN’s World Health Organization organized a program to wipe it out, by pre-emptively inoculating everybody wherever a case of it cropped up. The world’s last case of smallpox occurred in Somalia, in 1977.

This program was a model of what the UN was supposed to be. The US and the USSR dropped their Cold War differences and worked amicably to make this pathogen extinct. Indeed, the proposal to do so was actually made at the UN in 1958 by the USSR.

In this writer’s opinion, the end of smallpox, by itself, justifies all the dues that the United States has ever paid to it.

So say whatever else you like about the UN. Say that it should be booted out of the United States. Say that it should be sent to Bonn, Germany, where the New Bundestag Building has been vacant since 1995, when Germany moved its capital back to Berlin. (Let it become Angela Merkel’s white elephant and headache in that case.) Say that the US should end all dues payments to depraved UN organizations such as the “Human Rights Council.” Say all these things and more.

But people, I’m afraid that we’re stuck with the UN. It simply does too many useful things to dispense with it. As Voltaire said about God, if there were no United Nations, then it would be necessary to invent one.

The author is an Iowa truck driver known to some AT readers as Kzintosh.

Thomas Lifson adds:

The useful and important work that Michael Nollet cites is performed by agencies that do not need the superstructure of the United Nations in order to exist and thrive. The Universal Postal Union that enables a stamp purchased in the United States to pay for a delivery of a letter to Germany, for instance, long predates the UN (it was established in 1874), it was gathered under the UN’s umbrella after that organization was founded. It could exists on its own once again.

The same goes for all the other positive aspects of the UN. Break it up, keep the useful agencies as independent entities, end the useless or harmful ones (UNWRA, for example) and save the overhead and political posturing

of a pseudo world government.

 

The estimable Silvio Canto has written another of his delightfully short articles, this one against the United Nations, Don’t Send the UN Another Dime!, published in AT on October 19, 2019. In this article, Mr. Canto cited yet another UN absurdity, this time the inclusion of Venezuela on the UN’s Human Rights Council. (!!!!)

A hallmark of Mr. Canto’s contributions to AT is their brevity. And a good thing in this case, because a full litany of the UN’s depravities would far exceed AT’s upper limit of 1,200 words. Mr. Canto could have included: the inability of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to rein in Iran and North Korea; the UN’s depraved concentration on Israel’s alleged “offences” while ignoring far greater depravity among Communist or Third World despotisms; the UN’s “peacekeeping” contingents that keep the peace in places where they are stationed by raping the female population there; the absurdity of allowing Communist and Third World despotisms to inhabit the same moral plane as the Western democracies; the UN’s UNESCO agency, which promotes Socialism. And I’ll stop here, for otherwise my article might bust AT’s upper word limit!

And yet…

The UN performs many necessary and even vital functions, in the realms of regulating international commerce and in promoting health. Let’s describe some of them. Do you readers agree that trademark protection, copyright protection, and patent protection are all Good Things? So do I. And in the United States, we have regulatory agencies that perform these functions: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and U.S. Copyright Office.

But what about international copyrights, trademarks, and patents? Isaac Asimov wrote over 650 books -- and couldn’t collect the royalties for works of his published in in translation in the Soviet Union, because the USSR wasn’t a signatory to the International Copyright Convention. Wouldn’t it be a good thing if there were international agencies that could enforce international trademark and copyright and patent protection?

There are. They operate under UN auspices. For these functions, the UN has the World Trade Organization and the International Copyright Convention to protect intellectual property rights.

How about civil aviation? In the USA we have the FAA to enforce uniform safety standards for aviation maintenance and airports. And the airlines are grateful for this, because if the same safety rules apply to all, then nobody has worry about competitors seeking a market advantage by cutting corners on safety. Internationally, the same function is performed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Under the ICAO, international travellers can be reasonably sure that it’s safe to travel in the Third World or in Russia, because the ICAO requires their airlines and airports to operate safely, by meeting certain standards.

Have you readers seen HAZMAT placards on commercial trucks or tractor-trailers? The numbers and color schemes on them are UN codes. Any container of HAZMAT is identifiable as such anywhere in the world, because of this standardized placarding. This facilitates international commerce -- and permits emergency responders to know what to do in the event of accidents, because they can quickly identify the type of emergency on their hands.

International frequency assignments for radio and TV transmissions are handled by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union. This performs the same necessary function internationally that the FCC does domestically in the USA.

Fisheries shared by several nations are regulated by the UN, to prevent overfishing.

All of these functions are necessary for the health of the world’s economy. The world needs regulatory agencies to perform them, and it probably does no harm if these agencies operate under the aegis of something called the “United Nations Organization.”

Additionally, the International Court of Justice establishes jurisdiction over war crimes committed in places where US forces have no jurisdiction. For all the criticism that can be levied against the ICJ for its many weaknesses, it’s better than nothing.

Then there’s the UN’s Secretariat. Thanks to the same absurdity that allows France to have a veto power from its permanent seat there, at least the United States can prevent a lot of mischief from being committed against it and against Israel, by judicious use of its own veto power. Being able to veto UN’s absurdities is worth some of the dues money we pay to it.

But all that is as nothing, compared to the UN’s signal achievement, which is the eradication of smallpox.

Smallpox is probably the greatest scourge in the history of humanity. It probably killed more people than any other disease, on every continent, and that includes bubonic plague. Particularly in the Americas, where the native AmerIndians had no immunity to it, it wiped out entire populations.

And yet, smallpox is now extinct, except in cryogenic storage vaults in Atlanta and Moscow, and perhaps in graveyards. That’s because the UN’s World Health Organization organized a program to wipe it out, by pre-emptively inoculating everybody wherever a case of it cropped up. The world’s last case of smallpox occurred in Somalia, in 1977.

This program was a model of what the UN was supposed to be. The US and the USSR dropped their Cold War differences and worked amicably to make this pathogen extinct. Indeed, the proposal to do so was actually made at the UN in 1958 by the USSR.

In this writer’s opinion, the end of smallpox, by itself, justifies all the dues that the United States has ever paid to it.

So say whatever else you like about the UN. Say that it should be booted out of the United States. Say that it should be sent to Bonn, Germany, where the New Bundestag Building has been vacant since 1995, when Germany moved its capital back to Berlin. (Let it become Angela Merkel’s white elephant and headache in that case.) Say that the US should end all dues payments to depraved UN organizations such as the “Human Rights Council.” Say all these things and more.

But people, I’m afraid that we’re stuck with the UN. It simply does too many useful things to dispense with it. As Voltaire said about God, if there were no United Nations, then it would be necessary to invent one.

The author is an Iowa truck driver known to some AT readers as Kzintosh.

Thomas Lifson adds:

The useful and important work that Michael Nollet cites is performed by agencies that do not need the superstructure of the United Nations in order to exist and thrive. The Universal Postal Union that enables a stamp purchased in the United States to pay for a delivery of a letter to Germany, for instance, long predates the UN (it was established in 1874), it was gathered under the UN’s umbrella after that organization was founded. It could exists on its own once again.

The same goes for all the other positive aspects of the UN. Break it up, keep the useful agencies as independent entities, end the useless or harmful ones (UNWRA, for example) and save the overhead and political posturing

of a pseudo world government.