A Replacement for the U.N.

Barry Farber

March 21, 2001

The visitor to New York looked out the window of the cab as they passed the United Nations' impressive glass high-rise.

"What's that?" he asked the cab driver. "That's the United Nations," came the reply. "And what do they do there?" asked the tourist.

"I don't know," said the cabbie, "but they sure do enjoy their work."

During my lifetime I've had many dreams betrayed, personal and political, but none as wallopingly as the disappointment of the United Nations. I was 15 when it started: old enough to know that we'd beaten the Nazis, not old enough to know that the communists would soon take their place in most important ways.

"Can anything this magnificent be happening in my lifetime?" I asked myself as those handsome Norwegians, the African chieftains in their flowing robes, the Arabs in gleaming white headdresses, the upright Dutch, the heroic Russians and all the others came together in San Francisco to found what promised to be nothing less than the first successful "Parliament of Man."

Little did I suspect how soon and how thoroughly they would turn it into a VIP lounge for dictators, torturers, killers and thugs.

Forget the U.N.'s breathtaking waste, the bureaucratic arteriosclerosis, the sexual harassment, the corruption, theft, inefficiency, pomposity and unpaid parking tickets. I center my disgust strictly on the fact that a regime of known murderers can veto the attempt to keep other known murderers from continuing their known murdering. Plus, I keep some disgust left over for some little things, such as the fact that Israel, the only democracy between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, has no chance of ever sitting on the Security Council because of the implacable hatred of countries that are not merely dictatorships, but downright feudal.

In over half a century the U.N. has failed, not just to STOP aggression – they haven't even been able to DEFINE it!

I want to get America out of the United Nations; but if I ended right there I'd be placing myself in association with many people I consider ignorant, unsavory, even evil. No. Just plain getting out of the U.N. is too easy.

I want to form a NEW organization, the U.F.N. – the United FREE Nations.

I call for a gathering of the good guys. The democracies. We've got most of Europe eligible to join the U.F.N. and, staggering but true, almost every single country in our Western Hemisphere. (When the U.N. was founded we had only one democracy south of our border: Costa Rica. Now we have only one dictatorship: Cuba.) So, already eligible for membership in the U.F.N. we've got America, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand, more and more countries in Africa, Israel, India, Japan and a host of micro-democracies including a relatively new bumper crop in the Caribbean. And I'm sure I left some out.

I say let the U.F.N. – the United Free Nations – take a deep breath and start all over again to build what we intended in 1945. Let countries that are almost democracies but still have repressed internal minorities and political prisoners exert themselves to overcome their deficiencies so as to gain admittance to the greatest club on earth, the U.F.N.

Let Turkey make peace with its Kurds. Let the Czech Republic accommodate its Gypsies. Let the Macedonians give concessions to their large Albanian population and let Albania quit helping the ethnic Albanians trying to destabilize Macedonia.

Let countries transitioning toward democracy apply for membership in the U.F.N. as though it were a prestigious college or country club. And let some of them be told "welcome" and others be told, "Sorry, but if you lift your press restrictions and let your next election be fair, we'll be happy to review your application."

The ability to talk about "good guys" and "bad guys" without giving intellectuals gas pains disappeared shortly after World War II, but we've still got them, and an honest, discerning eye can tell the difference. A U.F.N. would admit only the good guys. For instance, England (good) allowed an enemy alien to sue the British government while Nazi bombs were falling on London and, as the plaster flakes from the bombing mingled with the powdered wigs of the barristers, the enemy alien was upheld. Think hard. Did a Nazi (bad) German court ever restore a Jew's property while American bombs were falling on Berlin?

Israel punishes its troops when they're caught mistreating Palestinian Arabs. Can anybody imagine an Arab regime returning the favor? America protects those who hate her the most loudly in American media. Show me the Cuban newspaper that criticizes Fidel Castro.

If the free countries would get together and start the U.N. all over again as the U.F.N. it would be like a second marriage where the new mate doesn't drink and get violent and mumble vengeful imprecations through the night. Can we get comfortable with words such as "good" and "evil" without hurting the feelings of the well-educated? I'd like to try.

Communist China, as one of many examples of disqualification for the U.F.N., represses its Tibetan population. Norway, however, woke up one morning and said: "Good Lord. For centuries we've treated our Samis (formerly Lapps) like subpeople. No more! We're going to build them a parliament building in their Arctic homeland and start giving aid and comfort to their legitimate aspirations!"

In Iraq one man runs the place like a Coney Island concession, concentrates on building weapons of mass destruction and ignores the well-being of all Iraqis, including children. Canada, on the other hand, looks at its Inuit (Eskimo) population and decides to hand over territory to them equal to about 35 member states in the U.N. COMBINED, to serve as territory for what is virtually a new Inuit country. Unbelievable!

The Taliban in Afghanistan not only dynamite the Buddhas emblematic of the pre-Islamic period of the country, but they also forbid a) women to become doctors, and b) male doctors to treat women. England, conversely, usually lets foreigners who need medical attention while visiting England leave the hospital without paying, even though they're supposed to charge. The British tell them: "Forget the whole thing. It's not worth the paperwork."

Don't tell me it would be a tough job being admissions director of the U.F.N.

Let the dictators, torturers, murderers and thugs have the U.N. all to themselves. Let them enjoy each other. Let them try to enact their wretched schemes after the good guys – who, by the way, also happen to be the rich guys – have gone over to the U.F.N.

Please don't go to bed tonight supposing that I think ANY of this is possible. There'll always be a France or some other important country whose envy of the more successful good countries will cement it into the embrace of the bad. And there will always be unimaginative pragmatists who will tell us, "We've got to deal with the world as it is, not as we think it should be."

I disagree. I'm tired of dealing with the world as it is. I'm ready to try dealing with the world as it should be. We may have beginner's luck. I want to leave the United Nations and establish a United Free Nations even if the only charter members are America, Israel and Barbados.

Remember what New York columnist Arthur "Bugs" Baer precociously cried out to the United Nations even before the end of the 1940s.

He begged them: "Please, fellows. Do something quick, or put the brewery back!"

Barry Farber does a daily radio program heard on over 65 stations across America on the Talk Radio Network.

Reproduced with the permission of All rights reserved.

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24 mar 2001