Power at the U.N.

by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich(CASMII Columns)
Friday, December 12, 2008

Claudia Rosett believes she has mastered the art of propaganda rooted in her conviction that others will adopt her ideas through sheer repetition. In her latest article "Iran's Power at the United Nations", Ms. Rosett uses sound-bites to demonize Iran while bemoaning America’s burdensome monetary contributions to the United Nations (U.N.).; hence she considers it an entitlement that Mr. Obama should “kick Iran out of the U.N., or bypass the U.N. altogether”. 

She then proceeds to misinform through omission of facts: Dues to the U.N. are calculated according to a scale of assessment agreed upon every three years based on a country’s gross national income, adjusted for its per capita income. Wealthier countries pay more; however, the Helms-Biden legislation put a cap of 22% on the U.S. contribution to the U.N. effective 1995 - a unilateral move. Ms. Rosett fails to tell her readers the unadvertised fact that U.S. ‘assessed share of the U.N. budget’ is matched by its total outstanding arrears which currently stand at more than $1.3 billion - larger than all other member countries. This should alleviate any fears that Ms. Rosett may have about ‘Iran having a say about U.S. tax payers money around the world’. 

Pity, really. 

The United States' influence on the U.N. has been far too negative: A unilateral war against a sovereign nation while the public was sold on the false notion of a ‘coalition of the willing’. The environment has taken a beating. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been violated. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements seems to be interested in the Gaza Camp, and the wars the United States has engaged in have left millions of refugees yet the U.S. has taken in only a handful of ‘refugees’.  

Iran on the other hand, despite enduring years of economic sanctions, has taken in more than 1.5 million Afghan refugees and it is well documented that it sheltered thousands of Iraqi Kurds when chemical weapons supplied by Western countries was brutally used against them and Saddam was ruthlessly persecuting the Shiites.     

Although it had its young democracy aborted by a CIA-backed coup in 1953 and was subjected to an 8-year war by Saddam Hossein, Iran is now helping the country which was once its enemy.    Moreover, terrorist groups backed by the west have infiltrated Iranian territories in order to undermine its peace and progress. While subjected to illegal sanctions, it continues to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), where its peaceful civilian technology dossier belongs, not the United Nations Security Council. Iran is a country which has lived peacefully with its neighbors and beyond for the past 250 years. Yet, Ms. Rosett is concerned that Iran will be participating in humanitarian programs. Perhaps it lacks credentials for not having dropped atomic bombs on civilian populations. 

Ms. Rosett is correct in pointing out that the United Nations brings with it traffic jams to New York City. But she neglects to mention that traffic is the result of visitors who contribute to the tourist industry. More importantly, there is much to be said for the prestige of having the United Nations quartered in the United States, and the U.S. has not shied away from exercizing its power in issuing visas and foregoing neutrality. Ms. Rosett ought to be reminded that America is host to the United Nations because President Franklin Roosevelt first coined the term "United Nations" to describe the continued fight against the ‘Axis Powers’ and not to become the very axis of power with a kicking power.