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  • Sarkozy is Tougher on the U.N. than Obama


    In a startlingly blunt manner, French President Nicolas Sarkozy today demanded that the United Nations be reformed and argued that key international issues could not be resolved by negotiations among 192 U.N. member countries. According to the AFP account, Sarkozy announced that “The UN is absolutely indispensable and yet at the same time, it’s not working … I am certain that we need to reform the United Nations, otherwise the United Nations will end up in an impasse.”

    He went on to criticize the practice of negotiating agreements among all member states simultaneously – the default process at the U.N. – wondering “who can believe that this can work?” He concluded that a better strategy would be for a “representative” group of countries to do the essential haggling. This makes eminent sense if the “representative” group of countries is composed of those that are going to be expected to bear the burden of whatever is being negotiated. The fundamental flaw of including all countries in U.N. negotiations is the tendency of a majority of countries to seek agreements that garner benefits to themselves and shift the lion’s share of costs to a relative few countries. All too often the U.S. is among the few.

    As Sarkozy observes, this dynamic crippled the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen this past fall. But it also applies to a broad range of activities and responsibilities on the U.N. docket. As stated in the conclusion of ConUNdrum: The Limits of the United Nations and the Search for Alternatives :

    No compelling reason dictates that multilateral action to advance human rights should be the exclusive purview of the United Nations… Moreover, some purportedly global problems are clearly not global or may in practice be better addressed through selective participation. Including nations with little at stake or minimal ability to effect a solution to a problem—which is the default process in the U.N.—can impede international action. Such was clearly the case with the Kyoto Protocol. Why should land-locked nations be considered essential parties to the Law of the Sea Treaty? Or nations with no outer space capabilities strongly influence deliberations of the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space by constituting an overwhelming majority of its sixty-nine members?

    …. The United States must be flexible in its approaches to international cooperation. If the United States and other nations operate only through the U.N., they hand the spoilers the means to frustrate their efforts. Multilateralism is a tool, not an end in itself. The United States should be open to working through the U.N. and other international organizations to address joint concerns, but the United States must not allow solutions to be held hostage by an irrational adherence to past practice or theoretical jurisdictions.

    Although it must be said that Sarkozy’s proposed solutions (like expanding the U.N. Security Council) are not well thought out and would probably make the problem even worse, it is edifying that even France recognizes the fatuousness of the U.N. obsession of seeking a “consensus” solution to all problems and the need to explore alternatives.

    Contrast this to the strange reluctance of the Obama Administration to press for reform of the U.N. Instead of demanding increased transparency, accountability, and oversight at the U.N. and calling for budgetary restraint, the U.S. has gone along with U.N. budget increases and allowed the U.N. member states to charge U.S. taxpayers even more to support the organization. Even other U.N. member states and U.N. officials have quietly expressed puzzlement over U.S. silence on U.N. reform issues that have characterized U.S. policy for decades.

    America’s experience over the years shows how hard it is for any one nation to impose reform on the U.N. It would seem that another country may finally be fed up with the status quo at the U.N. It’s a shame that just as France is stepping up; the Obama Administration and Congress are stepping down.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Sarkozy is Tougher on the U.N. than Obama

    1. DonnaN, Ohio says:

      I think we should get out of the UN……………

    2. DonnaN, Ohio says:

      I did…………

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    4. Joe D. says:

      Mr. Sarkozy makes some excellent points that need to be expressed more loudly in the US. Why should countries that have absolutely zero liability be allowed to vote on matters that will have no affect on them. If they have no dog in the fight, then they should not be allowed a vote on the issue at hand. I think that if the American taxpayers were to really be informed about what the UN costs them each year, and what the rest of the world contributes to its existence, that they would be very upset about how much we are footing the bill for an organization that inevitably tries as much as possible to undermine the strength, stability and security of the United States.

    5. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      It is a really sad state of affairs when a socialist Frenchman has more savvy about the uselessness of the UN than a sitting president of the US. It's is yet another indication of just how out of touch Obama is,

    6. Babs CA says:

      Having lived in NYC for 30+ years and experiencing the UN, I agree with the three previous comments. By all means, get out of it.

    7. Drew Page, IL says:

      For once I agree with Sarkozy, the U.N. should be reformed. And the Unitied States should stay the hell out of it.

    8. Barbara F Delo says:

      Sarkozy is right to keep a careful and critical watch on the UN. And we in the United States should as well. Slowly and quietly steps are being taken that will diminish the sovereignty of our nation, as well as the ability of all nations to act in their own interest.

      Just consider the following:

      The UN has approved the doctorine of the 'Responsibility to Protect' and been instrumental in establishing international courts like the ICJ and the ICC which allow international standards to superceed the laws and courts of each nation.

      Discussions are under way within WHO committees to establish global taxes on both individuals and the more wealthy nations to raise funds for global social programs. (Fox News online Jan 22,2010).

      With these trends towards international standards that superceed national laws, President Sarkozy's point is particularly important.The UN has almost 200 members. Far less than 1/2 are stable democracies. The majority of those nations have different cultures and values than the US. Our own continent has a mere 3 votes in the General Assembly.

      The question arises 'Will the US soon be faced with the same situation that exists in the EU where EU law superceeds national law?' Will our values and laws be burried in a global voting system? A recent case in the German Supreme Court decision (March 2, 2010 ) illustrates the kind of problems that can arise with mandated rather than consentual international law. The German court just ruled that a new EU law on survelience is incompatible with the German Constitution.

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    10. Al Wunsch, Fl says:

      It should be no surprise that Pres Obama (and the Clintons as well) believe in the U.N. The U.N. is a disaster. The only reason to stay in the U.N. is to be on the security coucil so we can veto dumb ideas but we should really cut back on the funding and involvement. The U.N., if it is to remain in being, needs to be significantly reformed. Right now it is an incompetent, unwieldley spending machine that does little good. My biggest worry is that the current administration believes in the global universe and may give up American Sovereignty. America is a unique nation, with a superior underpinning (judeo-Christian philosophy) that is different from most other nations and specifically antithetical to what the U.N. usually wants to do.

    11. Drew Page, IL says:

      The far left and socialists in the U.S., among whom I include President Obama, long for their concept of a "New World Order", one in which all other nations get to tell the nasty old United States how bad we are and how much we owe to the rest of the world.

      They would like to see U.S. soverignty and our Constitution abolished. In other words they would like to see the U.S. become part of the lowest common denominator, i.e. the of the rest of the U.N. They believe that the only way to eliminate religious discrimination is to eliminate religion itself. They do not believe in American exceptionalism, but rather believe that our claim to such exceptionalism is, of itself, the cause of the world's problems.

      Too many of the occupants of the U.S. (I won't call them citizens) have this idea that the government is the answer to all their problems and that the government should see to it that all occupants of the U.S. have all of their needs (and desires) met. The way to accomplish this goal of course is to confiscate the wealth of "the rich", who of course are defined as anyone with a few dollars more than the person promoting such confiscation. There is one politcal party that panders to those who feel this way, support their beliefs and promises to provide all they desire in exchange for their votes.

      The funny thing is that same political party has been making those same promises for years, buying votes with them and yet the plight of those they pretend to represent remains unchanged. And yet those doing all that promising continue to grow richer.

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