Last month, hours before the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Ambassador Nikki Haley said: “I’ve often wondered why, in the face of such hostility, Israel has chosen to remain a member of this body.” An interesting question. But a better question would have been: Why has the United States chosen to remain a member of that body?
It is easy to understand why the United States joined originally. The UN emerged from the World War II alliance formed to combat the Axis Powers. On January 1, 1942, three weeks after Pearl Harbor, the United States and 25 other nations signed the “Declaration of the United Nations,” pledging to commit their full military and economic resources to defeat Germany and Japan. During the war, 20 additional countries signed the Declaration. These 46 countries were invited to attend the San Francisco Conference in 1945, which formally established the organization.
We are now three generations removed from that genesis. During those years, the UN has metamorphosed from its original mission as a bulwark against dictatorships to a safe harbor for them. According to Freedom House, only 45% of the members of the General Assembly are full-fledged democracies. The rest range from repressive authoritarian regimes such as Russia, Iran, and China, to full blown prison camps like North Korea.
If the United States were not already a member, would it make sense for it to join the UN in its present form? Continue reading