The Right Coast
September 25, 2005
By Maimon Schwarzschild
"There is No Cure for the UN", says Mark Steyn. The Oil for Food scandal is only a case in point -- although it's a massive one:
[Kofi Annan] and his Deputy, Canada's Louise Frechette, simply failed to notice the world’s all-time biggest scam exponentially expanding under their noses and with the enthusiastic participation of their closest colleagues.(Steyn has now posted the piece. Read the whole thing.)
The conventional apology for the UN is that it reflects the world's governments as they are; and that it is a forum for peacemaking. But the UN is also a petri dish for corruption and for ideological extremism. Many of the UN's member governments behave much worse at the UN -- and certainly take a much more fervid anti-American and anti-semitic line there -- than they do in their own capitals, on their own, away from the UN.
The manic anti-Americanism -- and the relentless, Nazi-edged anti-semitism -- are nothing new at the UN. They were fully developed by the early 1970s.
I had a few years' personal taste of it in that era. (I was barely 20 years old, with journalist's credentials at the UN that didn't bear much looking into.) I was there in the General Assembly Hall when Yasser Arafat gave his thuggish, rapturously-received speech. And I stood around in the Delegates' Lounge afterward and watched the even more rapturous reception line for him: the world's diplomats queued up to fawn over him, most of them barely able to contain their glee -- and their malice (for you know who).
For the first time in my life -- really, the only time in my life -- it was a first-hand taste of what a Nazi Party Rally in Nuremberg must have felt like.
Meantime, by way of comic relief, here is a transcript, and -- much better still -- the live audio of Donald Trump's testimony to the Senate International Security Subcommittee last July about renovating the UN Building in New York. It is vintage Trump: not an atom of humility. But he obviously took some trouble to look into what will be done at the UN Building, and how much it should cost. The short answer -- no surprise -- is that the UN is planning to spend billions more than ought to be spent.
Don't just read the Trump transcript. Listen to the audio. You'll laugh: at Trump. At first. Then -- even if ruefully -- you'll start laughing with him.
The UN aspect apart, you learn something about Trump from this performance (especially if you listen to the audio). What comes through is that the guy may be awful, but it's no accident that he's a gazillionaire. He knows his business: at least, he knows to the dollar what everything costs to build and renovate in New York, and how much he has spent, himself, on every aspect of every one of his projects. There's pleasure (guilty or otherwise) in listening to a guy, any guy, who knows his business.