An Alien Looks at the UN
By Lowell Ponte
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 7, 2003
"I'm confused," said Martian anthropologist Mork, who visits me occasionally by flying saucer in his quest to understand human Earthlings. "This whole issue of Iraq and your so-called United Nations is baffling and most illogical."
I asked Mork to tell me what he had perceived, especially in the wake of President George W. Bush’s Thursday press conference, so that I could explain our peculiar species.
"You have a criminal named Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq," said Mork. "Twelve years ago he invaded a neighboring nation and killed many people. After his conquest was arrested and rolled back, Hussein was to be punished by your United Nations. Because he agreed to surrender his large-scale weapons so he could never again threaten his neighbors, he was not tried as a war criminal but was put on parole, subject to international inspection and control."
The legal word "parole" can be quibbled, I told Mork, but thus far your understanding is correct.
"But Hussein since then has received 17 notices of parole violations, 17 United Nations resolutions noting that he has violated international law by failing to comply with the terms he agreed to. For four years beginning in 1998 he even drove out U.N. weapons inspectors by threatening their lives and safety. If he were an ordinary human, he would have been apprehended and imprisoned after the first such violation. Why has next to nothing been done to him?"
Saddam Hussein has lots of oil wealth, I explained. He uses this wealth to buy friends. He has given billion-dollar contracts to nations such as Germany, Russia and France that currently sit on the ruling United Nations Security Council. If Saddam is removed from power, these contracts made personally by Saddam would probably become worthless.
"And because Hussein came to power by coup d’etat and illegitimately rules by terror," said Mork, "these three nations that are taking money he has stolen and are helping to arm and defend Saddam are actually his accomplices in crime. They are his co-criminals, no?"
I shrugged at what for millennia has been the way of our planet and its governments.
"And, Lowell, according to your laws any ethical lawmaker in your Congress is supposed to recuse himself from voting in any matter that will directly, personally enrich himself. Surely these three nations should have removed themselves from voting in the United Nations on this issue where they have a mercenary conflict of interest."
Alas, they have not, I explained to Mork. On the contrary, two of them – France and Russia – have permanent seats with veto power over any Security Council action.
"My history of your planet shows no such power originally granted to Russia," said Mork. "Did this happen because it was part of the former Soviet Union? And if so, why were not the other nations once part of the Soviet Union also given permanent seats and vetoes on the Security Council?"
I had no answer. How, indeed, did Russia alone acquire this position of power originally given to a now-deceased, larger nation?
"And how," asked a puzzled Mork, "did France acquire such power? It today is at best a second-rate and declining nation, despite its nuclear arsenal."
To restore French self-esteem after the United States and Great Britain liberated France from its World War II Vichy accommodation with Germany, I explained, we gave France its Security Council seat and veto.
"France has a strange way of showing gratitude," said Mork.
And now, I explained, France and Germany and Russia are trying to turn Europe again into a superpower that can restrain and rival the power of the United States…the old dream of Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin.
That, I continued, is why this Troika has said they will block a U.S.-led war against oil-rich Iraq even if every other nation on Earth supports the United States. They probably made this declaration out of fear that other nations were going to vote with America….nations that might not expend such political capital if they knew France or Russia, both of whom could do them harm, in the end would veto America’s resolution.
"But these other nations temporarily on the Security Council also have been threatening to withhold support from the United States," said Mork.
More than a century ago the German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck had said that people should never see two things being made – laws and sausages, I told Mork. Both are made in a bloody mess of unsavory ingredients. It is customary, I explained, that when an issue is to be decided by one vote, those with a vote will threaten to withhold it unless concessions or money are offered to buy their support.
Each, I said, has its own desires. The dictatorship in Syria, for example, wants no legal precedent for removing dictators. Turkey wants not only money but also U.S. help in controlling the region’s countryless Kurds – remembering as Turks do that the great anti-crusader military leader Saladin, Sultan of Egypt, was a Kurd.
By making this vote over Iraq uncertain, France and Germany and Russia have tempted every little nation possessing a vote to demand what amount to bribes from the United States in exchange for their support.
"And this puzzles me," said Mork, "because this vote is supposed to confer legitimacy for American action – an action that under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, the self-defense clause, the United States could take without U.N. permission anyway in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001." I nodded agreement.
"But already, America’s critics are saying that if it wins the nine required votes for its new resolution this will mean nothing – because these votes have merely been bought. So if the vote means nothing, why bother taking it at all?"
He had a point, I told Mork. The United Nations has put mockery in its democracy. And it’s clear that France, Russia and Germany are voting in support of a nation that is paying them – the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Many nations, encouraged by that Troika, have put this vote up for sale to the highest bidder.
Those saying they want peace and no war are coyly ignoring the evidence that Hussein, who fancies himself the reincarnation of Babylonian dictator Nebuchadnezzar, has already boasted of his plan to conquer all his neighbors and become oil dictator of the world.
"How illogical it is," said Mork, "that liberal peace marchers who demand the imposition of gun control on ordinary Americans are perfectly happy to see this lunatic Hussein acquiring chemical, biological and nuclear weapons."
And how irrational it is, I replied, that whatever they are smoking in their peace pipes gives a hallucination that a planet of atom-armed megalomaniacs like Hussein will be peaceful or secure for living things.
We have, as President Bush said on Thursday night, left the world in which such dictators can be "contained," as Communist nations were for five decades. The reason is that now weapons capable of killing millions of people can be wielded by terrorists. Such terrorists, used as weapon delivery systems by Saddam Hussein, could strike New York City not with a missile but with a bomb in a Volkswagen van.
In the wake of September 11, 2001, said President Bush, "We’re now a battlefield." We can no longer assume that wars will be fought in distant lands.
"During 12 years of defiance," said Mork, "Saddam Hussein refused to disarm. Only now, with 300,000 American troops mobilized on his border, does he even make a token pretense by destroying a handful of illicit missiles. But it is obvious that the moment American troop deployments end, Saddam will again defy the United Nations. Those marching in the name of peace and thereby bolstering Hussein’s propaganda are thus marching the world not away from but into nuclear, chemical and germ warfare."
I asked Mork what this situation had taught him about human Earthlings. His non-human objectivity gave chilling answers.
"If America fails or loses the will to disarm Hussein, you can kiss humanity’s aspirations for peace, freedom, and global order goodbye," said Mork, his green skin adding luster to his large hazel eyes.
"President Bush has a clear vision of where humankind needs to go – replacing dictatorships and terror with states that honor freedom and individual rights and are ruled through the will of the governed," said Mork.
"The United States and Great Britain are noble attempts to create such nations," said Mork. "Look at the fruits of their systems – Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush.
"But unless your world can rid itself of what President Bush called terrorism-spawning "cancers" like Hussein’s Iraq, your planet is at risk of sinking into a new dark age of defensive police states. The Statue of Liberty’s lamp could go dark for a thousand years.
"It’s too bad," Mork concluded, "that your United Nations has a long way to go before it can reach the needed level of enlightenment. The U.N. should be a source of light, however faint. Today, instead, the U.N. is defending dictatorship, megalomania and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in an U.N.-democratic way. Sadly, nations such as Russia, Germany and France still think their size and greatness is defined not by how much light but by how big a shadow they can cast."