FIXING THE UNITED NATIONS….A MODEST

FIXING THE UNITED NATIONS….A MODEST PROPOSAL….I grew up in Orange County in the 60s, and back then “Get US out of UN!” bumper stickers were as common as swallows at Capistrano ? and as well beloved. So conservative distaste for the UN is hardly something new.

However, modern UN-bashing is different from that of my parents’ day. Back then the fear was that the UN was too powerful and the United States would soon find itself in thrall to a socialistic world government run from smoke filled rooms in the Kremlin.

Today’s UN bashers have a quite different complaint: far from being too powerful, the UN is woefully ineffective, too bureaucratic, and irrelevant to the grave dangers we now face. And it is no longer the Kremlin we fear, but a Security Council veto from our cheese-eating enemies, the veto-wielding French.

So let’s fix all that. First, we need to get rid of the Security Council since it’s the veto power of the permanent members that makes it almost impossible to take action on anything that’s even remotely controversial. Then, with only the General Assembly left, we need to change the voting procedure there to reflect both real-world power and dedication to collective security.

Here’s how: let the member countries buy their votes. Every year, each country would get votes in proportion to the money it contributes to the UN budget. This would be great for the United States, since we can easily afford to buy lots of votes. It’s OK for France, too, since if they’re really serious about their status in the world they can always pony up the requisite dough. It’s true that small, poor countries would get screwed, but they do already, so there’s no harm done on that score.

Just think: this proposal would make the UN more action oriented and, by setting up a bidding war, would give it the funds to back up its words with deeds. Let’s do it!

UPDATE: Of course, if you just want to give up on the whole UN thing entirely, there’s always HR 1146, the latest in a long string of efforts to get us out of the UN. Check and see if your congressman is one of the 12 cosponsors!

UPDATE 2: And surveying the landscape of other wildly impractical proposals, we have Matt Yglesias, who suggests that we could fix the undemocratic nature of the U.S. Senate simply by redrawing state lines. Yeah, baby!

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