I didn’t catch President Obama’s speech to the UN last night. I had other things to do (like stare at a brick wall).
I think the UN actually deserves credit for helping to avert nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. The UN also did a good job of containing any French, British, or Chinese jealousies that could have erupted during the Cold War by keeping them included in the decision-making process. The diplomatic institutions it put in place were voluntary and had three clear-cut goals in mind: 1) avert nuclear war between the two rising superpowers, 2) avert rivalries between the two fading European powers not defeated by the United States, and 3) ensure that tensions in the Far East remained manageable.
The UN did all of these fairly well.
Today, though, I think the UN is a sham. The few good programs it has, such as the ones focusing on health and clean water, can be better run by various agencies in a decentralized manner. The goals of the post-Cold War UN are vague and paternalistic, which is why I suspect it attracts the curiosity, awe and respect of so many young Leftists.
The Human Rights Panel, which Dr. Delacroix has written about before, is a sham as well.
The UN worked diplomatically before because it was designed to placate to the demands and desires of the Soviet Union and the United States. Every other actor was basically along for the ride. Since the spectacular collapse of the USSR, the UN has been unable to meet the demands of the factions involved in the UN, largely because it was not designed to perform such functions.
If I were the next president of the United States, I would immediately withdraw from the United Nations.
This doesn’t mean I am averse to international institutions, though. The federal republic I live in today started out as a conglomerate of international states, after all. Nor does this mean I would immediately begin to set up some kind of League of Democracies à la Senator McCain, either. That would be foolish and provocative.
What would be a better choice, I think, is to start implementing policies that will lead to more economic integration with our allies. This could be done while simultaneously withdrawing troops from regions of the world where they are no longer needed (like Europe, Japan, and Korea). By more economic integration I mean more economic integration, though. An individual living in California should be able to live, vote or move to a place like Oaxaca, Alberta, Tochigi, or Overijssel in the same way that he can live, vote, or move to a place like Nevada or Nebraska. The same would go for businesses as well.
There would be no need to establish any more political ties or clear the way for one central bank, either. Political competition between jurisdictions and economic competition between the central banks would keep each more honest than would a monopoly.
While we’re at it, why not offer Native American reservations full-fledged sovereignty or membership into the confederation of states?
And it would be wise to keep this economic confederation very inclusive as well.
The end goal would looking something like this: instead of a behemoth like the UN making Western states look bad by kowtowing to bad actors in the name of diplomacy, and instead of having a few national state actors trying to cobble together a front representing Western values and ideals, a confederation on the lines I’m thinking of would place those few national state actors on the backburner and instead place the hundreds of provincial actors in the front through political competition and economic cooperation. Just think about what a map of the West would like like if current national state boundaries became irrelevant within the West. Take Belgium (11 provinces), Luxembourg (3 districts), the Netherlands (12 provinces), Germany (16 states), the United States (50 states), Mexico (31 states), South Korea (17 provinces), Japan (47 prefectures) and Canada (13 provinces and territories) for example. There are nine states mentioned, but if economic integration were to be intensified, and political boundaries eroded so that a citizen of the West may travel, live or vote from Tochigi to Overijssel without hassle, then we would be looking at 200 polities rather than just nine. Talk about decentralization!