Kofi Annan is giving commencement addresses on college campuses while Eric Shawn is not, but the author of the new book U.N. Exposed can give graduating seniors greater insight into how the United Nations really works than the secretary-general can.
“At heart I am a New York City crime reporter so I came at it [U.N.] as a local reporter,” said Shawn who is a member of the U.N. press corps and a senior correspondent for FOX News.
It is like a corrupt city hall, “U.N. World is the inverse of any logical reality,” explained Shawn. One example of such inverse reality is that the Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS) in the U.N. has no real power over the committees and was called “toothless” by a recent Government Accountability Office report, said Shawn. Committees can reject the OIOS’s demand to audit them, he said incredulously.
Shawn praised former Senator Jesse Helms for his criticism of the U.N. and desire to see it reformed 15 years ago. Shawn said that people who thought Helms was wrong back then are now decrying the corruption within the world organization. The Jesse Helms Center sponsored Shawn’s appearance at Heritage.
“I walked into the lion’s den on Tuesday in New York with Jon Stewart and what did he do? He agreed with me. That is the legacy of what Jesse Helms has wrought. That the U.N. is no longer a partisan issue,” said Shawn.
U.N. Exposed: How the United Nations Sabotages America’s Security and Fails the World is primarily about security, so Shawn made three security issues the topics of his talk at Heritage.
Starting with Iran, Shawn said “All we have to do today to look at the ineffectiveness of the United Nations is to see what is happening right now with Iran. By every scope of the imagination and indication they are racing to build their first nuclear bomb. But it is the U.N. that gave Iran a 21-year head start…The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not know for 18 years that Iran had a nuclear program.” But nothing happened at the Security Council because Russia and China were backing Iran Shawn explained. Unfortunately, Shawn thinks that the Security Council will remain deadlocked about Iran and an outside coalition will be required.
On the topic of terrorism, the U.N. made a resolution that demanded the Taliban turn Osama bin Laden over and nothing happened. Shawn said that part of the problem is that members of committees won’t even agree to condemn terrorism, including the ambassador of Algeria who is the vice-chair of the counter-terrorism committee. The Al-Qaeda committee held a major briefing and less than half the countries showed up, Shawn said.
Then there is Iraq. According to U.N. resolutions from 1991, Saddam Hussein was not allowed to have weapons of mass destruction, but what is rarely discussed is that he was required not to have ANY weapons including bullets, tanks, armaments and needed to prove that he did not have them, said Shawn. “So how did he get a $1 billion in armaments over those years?” asked Shawn. “Because France, China and Russia were bribed.”
There have been three Iraq wars in Shawn’s view. “The second Iraq war actually played out from 1991 and 2003 in New York City. It played out in a room, conference room seven of the United Nations building…That’s where Saddam Hussein scored his strategic and financial victories against us,” said Shawn.
Shawn also explained the anti-Americanism that pervades much of the U.N. He said that while doing research on the U.N. he would talk to people there about their attitudes and they would ask him, “Do you want this on the record or can I tell the truth?”
Attempts to reform the U.N. have been made, including a number of efforts by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Recently, the failed Human Rights Commission was replaced by the new Human Rights Council, which John Bolton voted against because because it has not fixed the problem said Shawn. Members were voted onto the new council on May 9 and include Cuba, China, Russia and Algeria.
Reforming the U.N. was also blocked by the G77, made up of 132 countries, who voted down Annan’s reform package in the last week because they believe it gives the Secretary-General and western nations too much power.
“So what do we do about U.N. World? How can we bring the United Nations back to its founding tenets?” Shawn asked. Call for accountability and transparency was his answer. “It is up to us to lead the charge. I think John Bolton is trying,” said Shawn.
Shawn supports the U.N., but one that works and is not run by the Saddam’s of the world.
Julia A. Seymour is a staff writer for Accuracy in Academia.