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By Geoff Metcalf

January 3, 2005

Hence, the less government we have, the better, the fewer laws, and the less confided power. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The former International Development Secretary of the UN, Clare Short, threw a hissy fit when the U.S. announced it was establishing a four-country coalition to coordinate relief efforts in the wake of the Asian tsunami disaster. I said, "Hooah!"

The president has been accused of trying to undermine the United Nations by putting together what is perceived as a 'rival coalition'. Cool! What took so long?

The UN is a dysfunctional gaggle of anti-American pampered bureaucrats who have routinely and chronically mucked up any and all projects over which they assume control.

Beyond the most recent and obvious 'Oil-for-Food' scandal, let's not forget Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia etc..

When the president announced that the US, Japan, India and Australia would coordinate the world's response Short and the usual suspects developed a sonic wedgie.

"I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up," she said.

She is both right and wrong. Yeah, it IS another effort to undermine the UN�kinda like the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) which accomplished more to stem the tide of nuclear weapons proliferation in six to nine months than the UN has in half a century. "Building up"(which translates to throwing money at the UN) is like feeding crack cocaine to the NBA.

PSI is a better and ideal model for dealing with the alleged objectives of a variety of UN entities. It is bewildering that the Bush administration has not and is not bragging about the remarkable successes of PSI.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about this underreported gem a year ago. [Read: The New Multilateralism] Jed Babbin writes about it in his book 'Inside the Asylum'. However otherwise the silence has been deafening.

There are a number of significant attributes to the PSI model.

  • It is not an 'organization'. It is not an office or building with an executive and a labyrinth of bureaucrats.
  • It is a mission oriented task force drawing on available resources from participating coalition members as needed.
  • It is not impeded by 'process' or extraneous agenda or ego vetoes.
  • It is coordinated by, run by, and controlled by the U.S.

Ms Short's concern of "the US trying to have a separate operation and not work with the rest of the world through the UN system," is precisely what this model has and can work�and be effective (which is the antithesis of the UN).

The Wall Street Journal called it "mix-and-match multilateralism".

Rather than throw more money at the terminally corrupt dyspepsia of the UN we could, should, (and arguably ARE) sidestep UN incompetence and just do what needs to be done better.

PSI has done that. The new disaster relief coalition can do that. AND, the potential exists (and should be exploited) to develop subsequent 'coalitions' and 'task forces' to deal (efficiently and effectively) with tasks the UN has demonstrated an inability to handle.

There is one school of thought (Congressman Ron Paul) contending we should "Get out of the UN and get the UN out of the U.S." I used to subscribe to that position but have since changed�kinda.

I now embrace the counsel of Don Corleone that "you keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Make no mistake about it�the UN is an enemy notwithstanding protestations and stroke to the contrary.

We cannot and should not just walk away from the UN. However, we should continue to lay the groundwork for replacing them with an organization of countries that subscribe to common principles of liberty, freedom and representative government.

Smarter folks than I can figure out the details but basically it is a three-step process:

1. Continue to 'undermine' UN inefficiency by doing their job better and more effectively.
2. Attrite UN financial resources by 'redirecting' Multinational resources to non-UN entities that perform better. Encourage other 'coalition' members to do likewise.
3. As the UN becomes an unfunded empty shell of diplomats, walk away and establish a new formal 'coalition'. The new entity still would not be an 'organization'. It would not require a 'Grand Exalted Secretary General Poobah'. It would be grounded on 'new multinationalism' focused on solving problems rather than creating or exacerbating problems.

It could and should work.

Confucius said, "To see what is right, and not do it, it want of courage, or of principle." This administration has routinely demonstrated it does not suffer from a "want of courage". The challenge is therefore, one of "principle".

� 2005 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site: While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!  E-mail:









The UN is a dysfunctional gaggle of anti-American pampered bureaucrats who have routinely and chronically mucked up any and all projects over which they assume control.