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About ten years ago James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg predicted in their third book “The Sovereign Individual” that the United Nations would cease to exist early in the 21st century. The only reason why this prediction should attract our attention is that these two also predicted the double fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall. What appeared to be foolish predictions turned out to be correct. Whether they will be correct here, as well, is a question which may hinge in part on the current state of affairs in the Middle East. When President Bush told the UN that it could either act or face its own irrelevance, he was pointing directly in this direction.
The founding of the UN in the wake of World War II and the failed League of Nations was hoped to prevent further problems of the sort which fostered the two earlier major conflicts. Bringing together the nations of the world to find solutions and to create an international body to provide control where needed was a laudable goal. What the idealists forgot was that the political goals of various nations are not uniform, and that individual quests for power may transcend the perceived common goal of world peace. The UN failed to prevent the Cold War, the Vietnam War, numerous conflicts in the Middle East and policies of “ethnic cleansing” in Africa and the Balkans.
Today the most potentially destabilizing influences in the world are located in the Middle East through Central Asia. The United States has been the primary target of these influences, however, the other nations should not fool themselves. If America falls or fails to protect them, they will be next. These nations’ recent participation in the UN debate over Iraq shows just how little their governments care, or how little they have learned from past events. Meanwhile, if the Bush Administration allows itself to be significantly influenced by them, or by a UN failure to recognize the facts, it will be making a grave mistake.
Today America is essentially the last man standing after the Cold War. During the Vietnam war it was often stated by the political left that we can’t be the world’s policeman, however, with the situation as it is now, we have little choice. The United States is the only nation left with both the strength and the moral authority to take action on the problems which face the collective western world. Whether they like it or not, these problems will have to be dealt with eventually. Just as Hitler did not go away after Munich, our present adversaries will not go away. Appeasement will not work now, and historians will note that it never has in the past.
Of course there is the possibility that a large number of nations may favor UN inaction just to spite the United States and Western Society. In the event that this reaction sets in we, along with the Europe and significant parts of Asia must decide where their future success lies, and whether or not their culture is worth preserving. No one else will do it for them. If they can see Aristotle, St. Thomas, Voltaire, Sun Tzu, Buddha Confucius and others of the world’s great philosophers destroyed on the altar of moral relativism then they are betraying themselves, the rest of humanity, and philosophy as well, for if all are equal, then all must be preserved and none must be allowed to take precedence over the others. However, the sad truth is that at present, only Western Culture has seen fit to preserve everything it comes across. Moral relativism is an idealist’s chimera.
President Bush needs to sharpen his ultimatum. If the UN will not take
action to enforce its own resolutions, and will not protect stability
of the world, then someone else must step in and do so. If it is the
United States which has the ability and will to do so, then that must
be its present role. We have had this role thrust upon us in World Wars
I and II. Without American involvement in these wars the face of the
world would be vastly different today. With greatness comes responsibility.
It is time for us to answer the call again; if necessary, to save humanity
from itself. If the United Nations wants to sit twiddling its collective
thumbs, then it may well be time for it to vanish from the scene.