Symposium 2011: What’s your assessment of the United Nations. Should we cut off funding? Is the creation of a Palestinian state in the best interests of U.S. security concerns?

RMC:  I think the United Nations started out as a good organization conceptually, but it has failed the world at every turn.  They haven’t really accomplished very much of anything on the world stage in the way of stopping genocide, abuses of people by dictators and despots, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, etc.  And now that the U.S. has left Iraq, where are the peacekeepers in their little blue helmets?  And when Iran ultimately obtains nuclear weapons capabilities, it will just be another vast failure of the United Nations. 


Not only is it a failure, but the United Nations has become rife with corruption.  Everyone knows that.  Have we forgotten the oil for food programme that was highly corrupt, misappropriating billions of dollars, emboldening Saddam Hussein, and disadvantaging the Iraqi people that the programme was supposed to help?


It’s a joke when you have some of the most flagrant violators of humans rights on the human rights commission.  Are the people running the United Nations really that stupid?  I guess so.


Look, the United Nations has no credibility because of all these issues.  It tries to give relevance on the world stage to countries that have no relevance in an effort to make them feel good about themselves.


I do think we should cut off our funding from the United Nations until they make some much needed but some very difficult reforms.  If they’re not willing to do that, then they can disband and we’ll all go our separate ways.  The United States is going to do what we have to do to protect ourselves, our interests, and our allies with or without the consent of the United Nations.  And, does anyone really think that China or Russia or anyone else for that matter is going to get the United Nations’ blessing for anything they do?


The creation of a Palestinian state is a difficult issue to resolve, but it’s pretty simple to understand.  The Arabs aren’t going to be happy and nothing will satisfy them until there is a Palestinian state.  The Israelis, however, aren’t going to agree to that if it means taking land from Israel and partitioning Jerusalem.  It’s just not going to happen, so it appears that we’re at the same standoff we’ve been at for nearly eight decades since the nation of Israel was founded.


Is there a solution to this impasse?  The United Nations hasn’t done much to solve the problem during its existence.  I don’t know if this problem can be solved, but it’s apparent that the United States is the only one that seems willing to work on it.  Where are some of the other big players on the world stage?  They’re noticeable absent when it comes to this issue.  The most important thing, I think, is that the world stop one nation, Iran, from wiping Israel off the map as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated they would do.  Here again, the United Nations isn’t doing much to stop Iran from developing the capabilities to do that.


Sydney:  The United Nations seems to be a basket case. The Chinese and Russian veto of a resolution regarding Syria is the latest example of why it needs to be fundamentally changed, or disbanded. In additions to these vetoes, the UN is very inefficient and has wasted a lot of money. America needs to seriously consider whether it is worth being part of the UN at all. Personally I think the UN should be reduced to a humanitarian aid, and peacekeeping role. If this was the case NATO would be free to assist the Arab League in supporting civilians in Syria.


The creation of a Palestinian State is not in the best interests of U.S. Security concerns. A Palestinian State would pose a huge threat to Israel and potentially destabilize the whole region. A stable, or relatively stable, Middle East is in our best interests largely because of economic factors, such as oil. Additionally, Israel keeps Iran in check to some extent.


Michigan:  The United Nations is like the labor unions.  They had a purpose but that time has passed.  The U.S. cannot afford to be the largest monetary supporter nor can we continue to furnish most of the military.  As to Palestine, as I said before, go back 2,000 years; injustices have occurred, but we cannot solve them.


Cartwright:  I’ve long said we should cut off funding from the United Nations or withdrawal all together.  It hasn’t done much good, and the U.S. is pretty much the one that has had to make the decisions, clean up the messes, and bear the financial burden.  It was a good idea at the time, but it’s highly inefficient and ineffective.  There’s a fundamental problem when Donald Trump tell the United Nations that he can save them $1 billion on the renovation of the headquarters project and the UN tells the Donald that it’s not interested in his help or in saving the money.  I think it’s high time for them to get the hell out of New York and go to Switzerland or somewhere neutral.


With regards to the Palestinian question, let’s not forget that prior to 1948, Israel wasn’t a country.  It was actually Palestine.  This is just history.  When Israel was founded in 1948, the troubled started.  The Palestinians feel they’ve been shafted.  Whether or not you or I individually agree with that, that’s just the way it is.  They’re not going to be happy until they get their state back.  Our support for Israel does a lot to fuel hostility in the Arab world.  Do you really think the Arabs would hate us as much as they do if we didn’t support Israel?


No plan or resolution to the situation is going to be perfect.  Neither side is going to get all that they want and there’s going to be a lot of people unhappy on both sides with any compromise.  I think the best hope for resolution is the Partition Plan that was first proposed back in 1947.  As a matter of fact, as I recall this plan was proposed by the United Nations—probably one of the few constructive things to come out of its existence.  Too bad it didn’t get implemented.  In its simplest form, the plan divided up the area into a Palestine and Israel with Jerusalem to be a neutral zone under the control of the United Nations.  Well, you can see the problem with this. If you’re Jewish and living in what will be Palestine, you’re in a bit of a bind—you either move or live in hostile territory and vice versa.  Nonetheless, I think this is a good compromise, particularly if the United Nations is going to keep peacekeeping troops in the area to ensure that Jerusalem remain neutral.  Here’s a novel idea—let the United Nations relocate their headquarters from New York City to Jerusalem.  That would certainly be incentive to keep the peace in the city.



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