Americans pride themselves on being independent and self-sufficient. George Washington used his presidential farewell address to warn Americans of the dangers of "foreign alliances, attachments and intrigues." Later in U.S. history, the Monroe Doctrine aimed to limit European influence in the Western Hemisphere. In the early 20th century, Americans' failure to join the League of Nations, a product of a desire to return to isolationist policies after World War I, led to the eventual downfall of that institution.
Today, even after a period of greater international involvement brought forth by the events of World War II and the Cold War, many Americans retain isolationist thoughts. America often questions the effectiveness of the U.N. system and is leery of greater American involvement with the United Nations. In fact, the reliance upon the United Nations and international partners in the war on terror became a major theme of the presidential campaign last summer, with President Bush accusing Sen. John Kerry of being willing to subjugate U.S. interests to those of the United Nations, while Kerry contended that Bush put U.S. troops unnecessarily at risk by failing to give international diplomacy a fair chance.
Despite the nation's history and the arguments offered during the presidential campaign, the globalization of most contemporary problems, including that of crime, has made international cooperation against crime an urgent priority.
The U.N. Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice is one such opportunity to bring the global community together to discuss these issues. The 11th Crime Congress will bring together representatives from around the world when it meets in Bangkok, Thailand, April 18-25, 2005. The congress, which is held every five years, brings high-level representatives of governments, representatives of intergovernmental organizations, criminal justice professionals, scholars of international repute and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) together to discuss common problems, share experiences and seek viable solutions to problems related to crime prevention. The congress serves as both an energizer and catalyst, stimulating informed discussion and proposals for action. The formal linkages and informal networking that the congress promotes are the groundwork of strengthened international collaboration against expanding crime.
The first U.N. Crime Congress convened in 1955 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. …