Weather Forecast


Pioneer Editorial: Reform of U.N. an act long overdue

U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman is no fan of the United Nations. In fact, several times he has called for the resignation of Secretary General Kofi Annan over abuses found in the U.N.'s oil-for-food program by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which the Minnesota Republican chairs.

Coleman this week launched another tirade against the United Nations -- and rightfully so.

It seems the U.N. Disarmament Commission has elected Iran is its vice chairman. This comes at the same time as Iran is flaunting efforts by a number of nations, including the United States, to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapon capability. Iran has refused strong advice from world leaders to abandon its pursuit of nuclear research leading to development of nuclear weapons, even to the point of recently crowing that it had leaped another step forward in gaining that capability.

It's also a nation on record of making threats to neighboring Israel's existence and a nation considered key in supplying aid and comfort to Iraqi insurgents -- including preparing and supplying human suicide bombers.

"Having the Iranians serve on this commission is like asking the fox to guard the hens, and will only ensure its ineffectiveness," Coleman said Wednesday about the U.N. Disarmament Commission election. As a result, he's asking the United States to withhold funds from the U.N. targeted to that commission, and instead direct them to humanitarian efforts of other international organizations. The election, he says, "provides yet another example of the U.N.'s inability to establish credible institutions to deal with global issues."

Similarly, Coleman said he supports the Bush administration's decision not to work with the U.N. Human Rights Council if human rights violators are elected to it, and says the U.S. should withhold dues for that council as well. Elections for the Human Rights Council are slated for May 9, and countries seeking votes include Iran, Cuba and Venezuela.

"The U.S. cannot afford to sit by and allow the U.N. to undermine its stated ideals by establishing a council with the very worst violators of the principles they claim to promote," said Coleman. "Clearly, the U.N. is incapable of instituting the needed reforms to make it a credible institution ... The U.N. is quickly moving in the wrong direction -- away from the very ideals it is supposed to uphold, and we must hold them accountable."

At a time when world tensions cry for a credible and strong advocate of peace with worldwide backing, the U.N. instead is allowing itself to be splintered by those who would flaunt its basic principles. And, with the United States the U.N.'s largest financial benefactor, the U.N. continues to allow platforms for its less desirable members to snipe at that benefactor.

Wide-ranging reform of the U.N. is long overdue ...