Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 5:32 am | Overcast 64º


Harris Sherline: Why Do We Continue to Support the U.N.?

It's time to play hardball against the nations that routinely work against our interests, using our money

Why do we continue to support the United Nations, as if it actually has any credibility or influence left? Unfortunately, in many respects the United Nations has long since gone the way of the League of Nations.

Harris Sherline
Harris Sherline

Perhaps the most graphic example of the United Nations’ many failures is seen in its unwillingness to intervene in some of the world’s most tragic situations, such as Rwanda and Darfur in Sudan. Paradoxically, Sudan has a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

About 22 percent of the U.N. budget is funded by the United States, yet Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently called us a “deadbeat” nation for not paying our dues on time. And, although we give significant foreign aid to many of its members, there is a long list of nations that generally vote against us.

In addition to financial aid, the United States also provides substantial scientific, technological, medical and educational support to nations that not only fail to support America around the world, but often actively work against our interests.

The list of those who generally oppose us at the United Nations while reaching for our national wallet includes Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Oman, Sudan, Pakistan, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Mauritania and, perhaps most troubling, Saudi Arabia, which has a record of voting against us 73 percent of the time.

When will Americans recognize that these nations are not our friends?

The United States has fostered the growth of a giant U.N. bureaucracy in our midst. It’s accountable to no one, and we have allowed it to create a system of generous rewards and perks for themselves, all supported by our tax dollars. The United Nations’ compensation and benefits plans provide a lifestyle and a retirement program that its employees could never achieve in their own countries. Many of the U.N. employees live and retire in relative luxury while consistently working against America’s national interest, on our money.

So, what should we do?

It’s time we play hardball. If the United Nations and its member nations want something from us, there should be some quid pro quo. Advancing our goals should be an important consideration in exchange for our money and blood.

The fact that we are constantly being told how much the rest of the world hates us is often cited as evidence of the wrongheadedness of our policies. What about simple jealousy being the real reason for their disapproval?

We are also told that we should be more sensitive to the feelings, beliefs and values of others, which is the reason Muslims and many other people around the world hate us, that it’s our fault they are so hostile toward us. Really?

Who is more sensitive to the values of others? Those Islamic fundamentalists who are attempting to destroy our society, who behead innocent and helpless victims, and murder women and children for no reason other than to terrorize, or Americans, who have been doing everything possible to help free those who are held in bondage? Is America, with its multicultural society where all religions and cultures are accepted, really such an insensitive society compared with those of the people who criticize us so vehemently?

I don’t know about you, but I will take America — with all of its faults — over societies around the world that continue to enslave, murder and victimize people for power and gain.

If we are so terrible, why do so many people try to flee their countries and enter the United States?

It’s time we adopt a policy of no more free lunch for the United Nations and those nations around the world that continue to take from us while denigrating and harming Americans, while accepting our treasure without so much as a thank you and complaining that we’re the cause of the world’s ills. No matter how much we spend to help others, it’s never enough.

I say: No more U.N. officials ignoring parking tickets in Manhattan, at the cost of millions of dollars to New York City. No more unlimited diplomatic immunity, which is often used as a cover for a laundry list of crimes, including spying. No more being told that we are a deadbeat nation while demanding ever greater largesse from us.

Americans should stop being concerned about U.N. approval when we take actions we consider necessary for our security and well-being.

The United Nations should be dissolved, or we should drop out and tell it to move its headquarters to another country.

— Harris R. Sherline is a retired CPA and former chairman and CEO of Santa Ynez Valley Hospital who has lived in Santa Barbara County for more than 30 years. He stays active writing opinion columns and his blog,

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