May 19, 2002
Whither The U.N.?

Gedänkenpundit is not the first to argue that the U.S. should leave the U.N. and then kick it out of New York. (He notes that FishInABarrel anticipatedhim on the first point.) I think I've seen at least one bumper sticker reading "US out of UN / UN out of US".

The argument in favor can even be pitched in a non-selfish way. Whenever New Yorkers complain about intrusive demonstrations and the burden on police and other services, they are told about all the financial benefits U.N. spending brings to the local economy. The international bureaucrats also tend to go on and on about how much they care about misery and poverty in the world. So shouldn't they move somewhere their wonderful economic benefits are more needed and will have more impact? Again, this is not an original idea, though I don't recall where I first read it. I'm more interested in the details.

What country needs it most? It depends on the specific criteria applied, but there are plenty of candidates, any way you look at it:

  • If we think of poverty and illiteracy, there are numerous plausible candidates: Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Haiti, Bourkina Faso, more than one of the Central Asian republics, Chad, perhaps Albania, Honduras, Arkansas (just kidding!), or somewhere in the Peruvian/Brazilian border region.
  • If we think of civil war and bloody insurrection, there are again plenty of possibilities: Colombia, Nepal, Chechnya, the Congo formerly known as Zaire, Indonesia, Algeria, lots more. Or how about the West Bank? It's not like the U.N. is particularly hospitable to Jews now. Ulster? Only if the level of violence goes back up to its previous levels: otherwise other places need the U.N. more. Afghanistan? Certainly not. Hamid Karzai and the other anti-Taliban Afghans, the U.S. and allied forces, the Turkish peacekeepers, and the refugees now returning home in large numbers have quite enough to do without having ten thousand U.N. employees to clean up after.
  • Having the U.N. around might do something for countries that suffer from generalized oppression: North Korea, Cuba, Iraq, Syria, the rest of the Arab world, Iran, Myanmar, Belgium (just kidding!), Belarus, China, Zimbabwe, lots more.
  • Then there are the countries picking themselves up after recent genocide or civil war: Rwanda, Cambodia, Lebanon, several more.

Other criteria could be applied, but I think one country stands out in the 'best all around' category: Sudan. Here's a place that really needs the money, where the U.N. delegates can show how much they truly care and do so right on the spot. Sudan has it all: dictatorship, civil war, genocide, slavery, mass starvation, Islamic law, and let's not forget the clitoridectomies. No country needs the U.N. more. Given their elegant (and expensive) tastes in dining and drinking, U.N. employees could even provide gourmet dumpster-diving opportunities for the slum-dwellers of Khartoum.

Should I make this a poll? Too much trouble: just put your nominations in the comment section.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at May 19, 2002 10:17 AM