In the 1930s an aspiring comedian named Henny Youngman took his wife to the theater. He asked the usher to escort her to a seat, there was a brief misunderstanding, and a famous joke was created. Youngman went on to make a career on the classic one-liner, “Take my wife…please!” and comedians like Rodney Dangerfield carried the line into the second half of the century.
I sat in a cab this morning for 45 minutes – to go a mile and a half to work – snarled in ungodly traffic, streets barricaded, entire blocks cordoned off, police cars lining stretches of sidewalk to secure a wide perimeter for the big wigs blocks away, and the Henny Youngman line took on a particular resonance.
Take the U.N…please.
Full disclosure, it doesn’t take much to get me ticked at the UN. My disdain for the international peace promoting world governing body knows few bounds. For one, it’s rank imperialism. This bothers me less than that it’s rank imperialism disguised as humanitarianism.
Just look at the guys who conceived of it…guys like Immanuel Kant, who wrote that “Humanity exists in its greatest perfection in the white race.”
Guys like Woodrow Wilson, who scoffed at ideals like separation of powers and checks and balances and gave us the first official U.S. propaganda department. Yeah, these sound like the guys I want policing the world.
The U.N.’s also been embarrassingly inept and categorically bad at its job. From Rwanda, to Bosnia, the Sudan to Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Vietnam…it’s never prevented a war, nuclear powers have only increased, sanctions go ignored, and leadership is an international laughing stock.
Then there are our interests. The U.N.’s anti-American bias is famous…only second to its anti-Israel bias. And we pay money on that bias. The U.S. currently pays 22% of the U.N.’s operating budget. The next closest – Japan – pays 12.5%. Most nations pay .01%. What are we getting for that? No really…what?
But back to me of course. Traffic was a bear this morning. And so I think the U.N. would be better served somewhere else. I’m sure another struggling nation would love to make some money off the well-heeled diplomats who inhabit the building. And the Secretariat would make great condos here. But like a high-maintenance wife who’s all take and no give, I think it’s clear…the U.N.’s more trouble than its worth.