If in the judicious determination
of the members of the United Nations they feel they [are] not
welcome and treated with the hostly consideration that is their
due, the United States strongly encourages member states to seriously
consider removing themselves and this organization from the soil
of the United States.
News of the recent death of
Ambassador Charles M. Lichenstein brought to mind his forceful
words at the United Nations that made him famous.
We will put no impediment
in your way. The members of the U.S. mission to the United Nations
will be down at dockside waving you fond farewell as you sail
into the sunset.
Lichenstein's suggestion that
the U.S. would not mind parting ways -- at least geographically
-- with the increasingly anti-American U.N. electrified Americans
Lichenstein 's triumphant Americanism
was enthusiastically embraced by a public still smarting from
U.S. foreign policy debacles in Vietnam, Iran and elsewhere. A
slight, middle-aged man, Lichenstein was a real-life hero in the
John Wayne mold.
"I received thousands of
letters," he told the Washington Post a year later. "People
stopped me on the streets of New York, they honked their horns,
and shouted, 'Right on!' Practically every cop in Manhattan South
gave me the high sign."
The incident that made Lichenstein
famous is worth recalling as America prepares for our expected
strike on Iraq. Some urge our President to act only if he obtains
the support of the U.N. Security Council.
Should we? Or on this issue
wave the U.N. a fond farewell?
The U.S. does not need the approval
of the Security Council to attack Iraq within the bounds of international
The U.N. Charter prohibits the
use of force to seize territory, to impose a colonial-style government,
or when force is used in a way inconsistent with U.N. purposes.
Chief among U.N. goals is international peace and security --
the same purpose the U.S. has for attacking Iraq. The U.S. has
no intention of seizing Iraq's land, or making Iraq a colony.
Furthermore, the U.N. has already
explicitly granted the authority Bush now is urged to seek. After
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait the first President Bush received Security
Council authorization to remove Iraq from Kuwait and to restore
peace and security. The former has been accomplished; the latter
has not. U.S. and British military action has continued since
then; not a peep has been heard from the Security Council about
revoking allied authority to act. What Bush now seeks to do is
escalate military action with the intention of ending a need for
it once and for all.1
Nevertheless, it's fortunate
we don't need the U.N. to recertify its support for military action,
because we cannot rely upon it. Countries voting in the U.N. General
Assembly rarely support U.S. interests more than half the time.2
Foreign leaders condemn us routinely.
In the current case, for instance,
China, a Security Council member, has ruled out the use of force
to oust Saddam. "China does not agree with the practice of
using force or threatening to use force to resolve this issue,''
said Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen, according to the AP by
way of the Xinhua News Agency. The unelected Chinese government
is not, however, shy about the use of force against its own citizenry.
Considering himself qualified
to guide U.S. foreign policy, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal
told the BBC: "It has never been shown in history... that
anybody removed from the outside and another person put in instead
has made for the stability of the region... What makes us so gullible
as to think we know what is better for the Iraqi people than the
Iraqi people themselves?''3 The U.S. tends to leave defeated nations
more democratic and more stable. Iraq, of course, is no more democratic
than House of Saud-controlled Arabia.
The head of Japan's ruling Liberal
Democratic Party, Take Yamasaki, personified the quip "with
friends like these, who needs enemies?," claiming Japan should
oppose us because we are friends: "If the U.S. attacks alone
it will produce distrust of the United States throughout the world.
As an ally, we should oppose this."4
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
calls U.S. military plans a mistake. Schroeder's conservative
political opposition agrees.5 Two-thirds of Britons and three-quarters
of the French do not support escalated U.S. military action.6
The U.S. repeatedly has taken
responsibility for international security to the world's benefit,
suffering criticism while doing so. As Lichenstein observed: "Frequently
when the United States is charged, we respond, and none of our
allies does. It gets them off the hook. They say, 'That's the
United States' problem.'"
The war on terror is our problem.
If other nations withhold support, we must wave them a fond farewell
and proceed as we think best.
In 1983, then-President Reagan
said Lichenstein's chastisement of the U.N. "had the hearty
approval of most people in America." It still does.
Amy Ridenour is President of
The National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington,
D.C. think tank. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 For a much more detailed discussion
of this point, see David B. Rivkin and Darin R. Bartram, "The
Law on the Road to Baghdad," National Review Online,
August 28, 2002, accessed by the author from http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-rivkin082802.asp
on August 28, 2002.
2 Brett D. Schaeffer, "Congress Should Hold the Line on U.S.
Reform, " Heritage Foundation Backgrounder #1290, The Heritage
Foundation, June 4, 1999.
3 "U.S. Threats to Iraq Contested by Friend and Foe,"
Reuters, August 28, 2002.
4 "U.S. Threats to Iraq Contested by Friend and Foe."
5 "U.S. Threats to Iraq Contested by Friend and Foe."
6 Al Webb, The Washington Times, "Opposition in Britain
over U.S. Plans," August 13, 2002.