Columnist Doesn’t Get What the UN Does

August 1, 2012|by Sally McMillan, Vice President UNA Albuquerque
It seems obvious that Jonah Goldberg doesn't like the United Nations. In his July 16 column in the Journal, he directed his ire at the following UN agencies: the Population Fund, the International Telecommunications Union and the UN Intellectual Properties Agency; and of course he couldn't leave out the UN Human Rights Council.

While Goldberg smears these agencies, his column is helpful as an opportunity to inform people about agencies linked to the United Nations and the work they do. These agencies are autonomous, they set their own standards and carry on their own work in areas vital to the well functioning of our globalized world. For example:

The International Labor Organization sets guidelines for international labor standards to improve working conditions and employment opportunities;

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) promotes education for all, cultivates development, promotes protection of the world's natural and cultural heritage, press freedom and communication;

The World Healt h Organization(WHO) works in areas such as immunization, health education and the provision of essential drugs.

These are a few of the groups that work with the UN to make a better world. Some others are the Food and Agricultural Agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Universal Postal Union, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the International Maritime Organization, which all add to the safety, efficiency and improvement of these necessary functions around the world.

And now to look at the agencies that Goldberg mentions.

The World Population Fund works with family planning and provides assistance to promote reproductive health in developing countries and with minorities. Their work with China actually has recently accomplished a loosening of the Chinese one-child policy, a Chinese policy which has resulted in the forced abortions and sterilizations that Goldberg refers to.

The next object of Goldberg's criticism is the International Com mu n ic at ions Un ion, which he claims is secretly trying to take jurisdiction of the web out of American hands. Naturally, according to Goldberg, they are doing this in cooperation with brutal dictatorships who want to monitor and censor their citizens' mail and tax some web traffic.

Somehow some of this sounds familiar, where we are also having discussions about transparency and these kinds of internal intrusions by the U.S. government.

Of course the Human Rights Council (not an agency) is the big one that Goldberg objects to. The "Right to Peace" adopted by the Human Rights Council and supported by Syria, Cuba and other "bad" nations, states "all peoples have the right to resist and oppose oppressive colonial, foreign occupation." Goldberg interprets this as an attack upon Israel. I wonder why? Is there some subconscious guilt among the opposition about the Palestinians' situation?

And then there are the other "bad" guys. North Korea and Iran have no right to computers or IT equipment, which the UN's Intellectual Properties Agency recently sold them. Additionally, Iran should not be on the UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference committee since they are guilty of violating some UN agreements.

Does he know who has violated the most UN resolutions and international laws, and yet has received top UN appointments? It's anybody's guess.

There are lots of ways in which the UN could be improved, but the UN is providing many invaluable services to the world.

The world has changed since 1948 when the UN was chartered, and some reform is necessary. But it's too bad that the things that are working well are the object of Goldberg's criticism.

There is much else he could turn his attention to. It's hard to understand why someone who is obviously so biased and uninformed can be writing a syndicated column that is actually bought by many newspapers around this country.

This article is printed as it appeared in the Albuquerque Journal.


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