The key to changing the United Nations system

There has perhaps been more commentary in the United States that is critical of the United Nations in recent years than in any comparable period. There are many reasons for the growth of this criticism: the Security Council's failure to take its own resolutions seriously in case after case, especially in the face of Saddam Hussein's defiance; the Oil-for-Food scandal; the endless efforts in one policy area after another to "norm" the United States into compliance with a liberal agenda that could not achieve a majority within our own democratic system; and international officials who seem to think that U.N. member governments work for them and not the other way around.

Whatever the reasons, and they are many, the growing criticism has legitimately raised the attendant question: what do you plan to do about it? This volume is a significant step toward answering that question, covering as it does the broadest range of U.N. activities. The succeeding chapters are rich with ideas and suggestions for "change," the political flavor of the day, thus in themselves giving the lie to the idea that there is no alternative to the United Nations as we know it.

This foreword attempts to set the stage for the creative analyses and proposals that follow by briefly describing the sad, and largely unsuccessful, history of U.N. reform efforts in the past thirty years and by then explaining revolutionary change that might actually produce a different result: moving toward voluntary funding of the U.N. and its activities. In addition, it provides complementary information about the culture of the U.N. organization and its member states that any subsequent American reform efforts, in whatever substantive policy area, will have to take into account. The high-minded won't like reading these pages, but it will do them a world of good.

View the entire foreword as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

John R. Bolton is a senior fellow at AEI.

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