Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos

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9781400054756: Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos

A United Nations insider exposes how anti-American and antidemocratic forces have hijacked the UN and put America and its allies at risk

Politicians and pundits are imploring the United States to give the UN a major role in American foreign policy. But as bestselling author Dore Gold reveals in Tower of Babble, it is absurd to look to the UN to fight aggression, combat terrorism, and preserve global order. The UN is an abject failure—a fatally flawed organization that has actually accelerated and spread global chaos. And it is dominated by anti-Western forces, dictatorships, state sponsors of terrorism, and America’s worst enemies.

In his New York Times bestseller Hatred’s Kingdom, Gold blew the lid off Saudi support for terrorism, and now he uncovers an even more important story. As a former UN ambassador, he has a unique insider’s perspective on why the UN fails to address—or in many cases exacerbates—the very problems it was created to solve. He shows how President Franklin Roosevelt’s great vision has been corrupted beyond recognition.

Using internal UN documents and classified cables, Gold presents stark evidence of how the UN ignores mass murder, emboldens terrorists, props up dictators, and otherwise betrays its mission to protect the world’s security. Tower of Babble reveals:

· Why America can—and indeed must—go outside the UN to address the most serious threats to national security

· How the UN jeopardizes the success of the war on terror—and how terrorist groups have actually penetrated UN organizations

· How, in the space of a year, the UN turned a blind eye to two horrifying episodes of mass murder—and why the slaughters could have been prevented

· How the oil-for-food scandal only hints at the UN’s repeated failures to deal with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq

· How the UN’s new international criminal court threatens America’s sovereignty

· How the UN’s startling record of failure has led Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton, and George W. Bush to bypass the UN Security Council

As this hard-hitting book reveals, it is, quite simply, a myth that the United Nations is a positive force for world order or the “sole source of international legitimacy.” And unless the United States and its allies recognize this now, they will continue to put themselves at risk.

"Dore Gold's book is informed and informative. It can be read with pleasure and profit by anyone with a genuine interest in the United Nations. I warmly recommend it."--Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former Ambassador to the United Nations

"For anyone wondering what's wrong with the United Nations, this is the book to read. Providing both a concise history and an urgent warning for our own time, Dore Gold in clear and lively detail explains how and why the UN too often promotes not peace, but problems--and what we can do about it."--Claudia Rosett, columnist, the Wall Street Journal's Opinionjournal.com

"Dore Gold's Tower of Babble is bound to be one of the most controversial critiques in the public debate on the UN."--Henry Kissinger, Former Secretary of State

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About the Author:

Dore Gold, the bestselling author of Hatred’s Kingdom, served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1997 through 1999 and has been a diplomatic envoy to numerous international leaders. Ambassador Gold, who earned his Ph.D. in international relations and Middle East studies from Columbia University, has written many articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and the Daily Telegraph. He and his family live in Jerusalem, where he runs the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER 1

The Erosion of Standards

The United Nations was really an American idea. Indeed, as one former U.S. ambassador to the UN put it in the 1970s, "At first the UN was seen as the instrument of American ideologues."1 The UN's founders established the organization to promote American values and principles on a global scale.

Created in the aftermath of the Allied victory in World War II, the world body had actually been conceived well before the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in 1945. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had shown his enthusiasm for an international organization as early as the 1930s. The United States had never joined the League of Nations, which had been created after the First World War, but Roosevelt became the first president to send American observers to Geneva to sit in on League sessions. Roosevelt was not naïve, however. He saw the League's flaws. The organization failed to counter the rise of the Axis powers in the 1930s, the invasions of Ethiopia, Manchuria, and the Rhineland, and ultimately the outbreak of the Second World War. Thus, when Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill drew up the Atlantic Charter in August 1941-even before the United States had entered the war-they called for "a wider and permanent system of general security." It was in fact FDR who first used the term "United Nations." On January 1, 1942, less than a month after Pearl Harbor, the countries allied against the Axis powers signed the "Declaration by United Nations," a title that Roosevelt proposed. Churchill had preferred the name "Allied Nations."2

Months later, according to the notes of his trusted aide Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt explained to British foreign secretary Anthony Eden that the new international body he envisioned "should be world-wide in scope . . . but, finally, that the real decisions should be made by the United States, Great Britain, Russia, and China, who would be the powers for many years to come that would have to police the world."3

At 1944's Dumbarton Oaks Conference outside of Washington, FDR reiterated his conception of the new international body. Specifically he described an organization that would enforce peace through the world's "four policemen": the United States, Great Britain, China, and the USSR.4 If an aggressor "started to run amok and seeks to grab territory or invade its neighbors," FDR explained to reporters at the time of Dumbarton Oaks, the UN would "stop them before they got started."5 This was precisely the model the great powers drew up for the UN at the conference. As such, the UN was designed first and foremost to avoid the failures that had plagued the League of Nations. FDR was a realist, a point he drove home in an October 1944 campaign address in New York City in which, when he spoke about the UN, he reminded his listeners, "We are not fighting for, and we shall not attain a utopia."6 For Roosevelt, the engagement of the United States and the other great powers was vital to give teeth to the organization's international security measures.

Franklin Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, but the plan for the UN survived. In fact, within two weeks of Roosevelt's death, the UN's founding conference would convene in San Francisco, where the UN Charter would ultimately be drafted and signed. The four policemen, along with France, became the permanent members of the UN Security Council, which would eventually include ten additional rotating members. It would be responsible for safeguarding international peace and security. Yet the UN that emerged also reflected the more idealistic notions of the State Department planners who wanted the United Nations to be a community of equals that included all countries. They stressed that the new world body would be a universal organization, for they did not want to repeat one of the key mistakes of the League of Nations, which had never included the United States and from which Germany, Italy, and Japan had withdrawn. The UN General Assembly, separate from the Security Council, would eventually include all of the world community. While the Security Council would be the body that intervened militarily to preserve world order, the General Assembly would give voice to the values on which that order was based. It would set international standards for the future. It would also be empowered to deal with decolonization, disarmament, economics, and even development of international law.7

Although the UN's architects created a clear division of labor between the Security Council and the General Assembly, there was a certain built-in tension between Roosevelt's earlier idea of an exclusive great-power club and the all-inclusive international body that eventually emerged. FDR had maintained a strong conviction that small nations not be allowed to complicate the great powers' task of keeping the peace.8 But as the Second World War had drawn to a close, wild utopian proposals were coming out of America, as many called for "world government" or a "federation of democracies."9

Like Roosevelt, the American commentator Walter Lippmann recognized that the United States could not rely on a broad global organization to establish peace. Near the end of World War II he had warned that the victorious powers must not delegate the responsibility for world order "to a world society which does not yet exist or has just barely been organized."10 He had made an important point. The problem with a "world society which does not yet exist or has just barely been organized" is that it can share no common values. What joint interests would bring the diverse countries of the new UN together? What common principles would bond the UN together as its membership expanded? What would be their agenda for a better world?

Walter Lippmann had identified what would become the Achilles' heel of the United Nations and why it was bound to fail despite the high ideals of its architects.

MORAL CLARITY

All the original UN members in 1945 shared one characteristic that might have offset the Lippmann critique: In order to be invited to the UN's founding conference in San Francisco, a state had to have declared war on at least one of the Axis powers and to have adhered to the "Declaration by United Nations" that was originally announced in January 1942. The UN's founding members, in other words, had to make choices and take a stand. The UN might have been a universal organization, but at the time of its creation it was also a military alliance, united by a common strategic purpose and by declared commitment to certain common values.

The UN's American founders assumed that it would be possible to freeze the wartime alliance of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and France. Further, they believed that it could become an alliance around certain principles. Political commentators called the idea collective security. Henry Kissinger has articulated this point well: "Alliances always presume a specific adversary; collective security defends international law in the abstract."11 For the UN's proposed notion of collective security to work, the organization would have to undertake two actions. First, the UN would have to identify that an act of aggression had indeed occurred and that some state had violated the world organization's founding principles. Second, once it determined that aggression had occurred, the UN would have to mobilize a determined response; that is, its member states would have to act as though their own vital national interests had been threatened. This revival in the Wilsonian belief that collective security around principles of world order could replace the old European balance of power, with its secret alliances, was able to come about only because of the postwar circumstances in which the UN was born.

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this historical context. The UN was created in a moment of extraordinary moral clarity, in which its founding members could distinguish between the aggression of the Axis powers and their own role as liberators-indeed, between evil and good. After all, the Nazis, against whom they had fought, had committed acts of mass murder unprecedented in recorded history. As the UN held its first meetings in 1946, the Nuremberg trials against Nazi war criminals were well under way. The Second World War cast a long shadow over the UN and its first covenants. Consider, for example, the UN Charter, which begins by making reference "to the need to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" and reaffirms "fundamental human rights," something the Covenant of the League of Nations had made no reference to. Moreover, in December 1946 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning genocide and tasked a UN committee to draft a genocide convention.

One of the flaws of the early UN was that because of Stalin's wartime cooperation with Roosevelt, the organization's architects had an excessively benign, if not naïve, view of the USSR. One commentator has written of "starry-eyed Rooseveltian illusions about Great Power Unity."12 This might be somewhat overstated, but the signing of the UN Charter did create a short-term period of euphoria that affected judgments about the USSR. Excusing Soviet behavior became common. For example, in November 1945, Secretary of State James Byrnes compared what he revealingly called the "effort of the Soviet Union to draw into closer and more friendly relations with her central and eastern European neighbors" to inter-American organizations in the Western Hemisphere.13 This put the Iron Curtain over Eastern Europe on the same plane as the American-led Rio Treaty. The Soviets took advantage of their position to corrupt some important early UN ...

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