United Nations No. 490
ADA considers a strong and effective United Nations to be essential to world peace and security. To achieve that objective the UN must be true to its Charter, and its Member States need to respect The Charter and the rule of law.
The Bush Administration acts as though the U.S., as the world superpower (our defense budget is greater than the sum of the next fourteen largest defense budgets), is above the rule of law and that the UN is subordinate to US national interests. Its doctrine of pre-emptive attack - implemented in the case of Iraq - allegedly justifies attacking a state that does not represent an imminent threat to our national security. This doctrine contravenes Article 51 of the UN Charter, which allows for military action only in self-defense if it is subjected to an "armed attack."
Some parties gave the administration kudos for finally going to the UN Security Council regarding Iraq. However, when the Council refused to do our bidding we invaded Iraq without UN authorization and in violation of the Charter. Faced with a fait accompli, the UN Security Council for the first time in its history approved the occupation of one country (Iraq) by another (United States and its coalition partners) accomplished by military aggression.
Consistent with the administration's disdain for international law, the Senate continues to fail to ratify many international human rights treaties, including the UN Convention against Discrimination of Women (almost all states have ratified), the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (Somalia and the U.S. are the only States that have not ratified this convention), the International Criminal Court, the Convention banning land mines, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
While we expect much from the UN when it serves our interests, we have a sorry record as a "dead-beat" in paying our share of its expenses. After many years in arrears on assessed contributions and peacekeeping contributions, we are almost paid up. This ADA appreciates. However, the UN Secretariat Building - not 50 years old - is in need of major renovation. The Bush Administration has refrained from requesting funds from Congress for this purpose, which we surely could afford. As the host country to the UN we can do no less.
Poverty and disease are the breeding ground for despair and resentment, which, in turn, breed support for terrorists. The U.S. contribution to the UN's economic and social development programs is a minuscule percentage of our annual defense budget and should consume a larger part of our GNP.
ADA urges the Bush Administration and the Congress to be a superpower in providing generous financial support to the United Nations and encourages the United States to cooperate in talks with other member nations to make needed reforms, rather than pressing for reforms mandated unilaterally by the U.S.
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