Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bush and the UN: Dreams vs. Actions

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bush and the UN: Dreams vs. Actions

Article excerpt

PRESIDENT George Bush, inspired by the action of the UN Security Council in the Gulf crisis, made a highly dramatic and significant statement about the possibilities of an enduring peace through the United Nations. He envisioned a genuine world order based on world law.

The statement is worth quoting at some length:

"We have a vision of a new partnership of nations that transcends the cold war; a partnership based on consultation, cooperation, and cooperative action, especially through international and regional organizations; a partnership united by principle and the rule of law and supported by an equitable sharing of both cost and commitment. We should strike for greater effectiveness and efficiency of the United Nations. The United States is committed to playing its part in helping to maintain global security, promoting democracy and prosperity. And my administration is fully committed to supporting the United Nations and to paying what we're obligated to pay by our commitment to the Charter. International peace and security require no less."

This call for a fully functional UN has to be viewed against the recurring defaults by the United States of its financial obligations to the UN. The shocking reality is that the United States owes the UN more then $500 million in back dues and assessments. The validity of these obligations is a matter not of interpretation but of treaty. The delegates who listened to President Bush, even as they applauded his vision, probably felt that his advocacy of a functional world order was not as compelling as it might have been if the United States had honored its treaty commitments to the UN.

Perhaps the most serious departure of all from the concept of a fully functional UN is the arbitrary action of the United States in withdrawing from UNESCO. The United States may or may not be correct in opposing some of the actions at UNESCO; but the fact remains the UNESCO has served an important purpose in advancing world cultural and social activities. …

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