GlobalSecurity.org has a complete transcript
of the speech the late senator delivered before the United States Security Council on January 20, 2000.
Early in his speech, the senator expressed his views on opinion polls:
Now I am confident you have seen the public opinion polls, commissioned by UN supporters, suggesting that the UN enjoys the support of the American public. I would caution that you not put too much confidence in those polls. Since I was first elected to the Senate in 1972, I have run for re-election four times. Each time, the pollsters have confidently predicted my defeat. Each time, I am happy to confide, they have been wrong. I am pleased that, thus far, I have never won a poll or lost an election.
Here he addresses what was then a common complaint against the United States:
They [American citizens] know instinctively that the UN lives and breathes on the hard-earned money of the American taxpayers. And yet they have heard comments here in New York constantly calling the United States a "deadbeat." They have heard UN officials declaring absurdly that countries like Fiji and Bangladesh are carrying America's burden in peacekeeping.
That common complaint was, however, baseless:
Before coming here, I asked the United States General Accounting Office to assess just how much the American taxpayers contributed to the United Nations in 1999. Here is what the GAO reported to me:
Last year, the American people contributed a total of more than $1.4 billion dollars to the U.N. system in assessments and voluntary contributions. That's pretty generous, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. The American taxpayers also spent an additional EIGHT BILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE MILLION DOLLARS from the United States' military budget to support various U.N. resolutions and peacekeeping operations around the world. Let me repeat that figure: EIGHT BILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE MILLION DOLLARS.
That means that last year (1999) alone the American people have furnished precisely TEN BILLION, ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE MILLION DOLLARS to support the work of the United Nations. No other nation on earth comes even close to matching that singular investment. So you can see why many Americans reject the suggestion that theirs is a "deadbeat" nation.
Helms discusses the goals of the Helm-Biden law, under which Congress, "the sole guardians of the American taxpayers' money," would release funds to the UN contingent on certain goals toward reform.
Here he defines one of the pillars of Western civilization...
What the Secretary General calls "rights beyond borders," we in America call "inalienable rights." We are endowed with those "inalienable rights," as Thomas Jefferson proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence, not by kings or despots, but by our Creator.
...one of whose logical conclusions is stated here:
The sovereignty of nations must be respected. But nations derive their sovereignty -- their legitimacy -- from the consent of the governed. Thus, it follows, that nations can lose their legitimacy when they rule without the consent of the governed; they deservedly discard their sovereignty by brutally oppressing their people.
Helms replaces the Divine Right of Kings with the Divine Right of Resisting Unlawful Kings:
Slobodan Milosevic cannot claim sovereignty over Kosovo when he has murdered Kosovars and piled their bodies into mass graves. Neither can Fidel Castro claim that it is his sovereign right to oppress his people. Nor can Saddam Hussein defend his oppression of the Iraqi people by hiding behind phony claims of sovereignty.
And when the oppressed peoples of the world cry out for help, the free peoples of the world have a fundamental right to respond.
How did the United States respond to global tyranny?
In some cases, America has assisted freedom fighters around the world who were seeking to overthrow corrupt regimes. We have provided weaponry, training, and intelligence. In other cases, the United States has intervened directly. In still other cases, such as in Central and Eastern Europe, we supported peaceful opposition movements with moral, financial and covert forms of support. In each case, however, it was America's clear intention to help bring down Communist regimes that were oppressing their peoples -- and thereby replace dictators with democratic governments.
What role did the United Nations play in these endeavors?
In none of these cases, however, did the United States ask for, or receive, the approval of the United Nations to "legitimize" its actions.
Helms states what the Security Council can and cannot contribute to furthering freedom - and gives examples of its spotty record in doing so:
The United Nations has no power to grant or decline legitimacy to such actions. They are inherently legitimate. What the United Nations can do is help. The Security Council can, where appropriate, be an instrument to facilitate action by "coalitions of the willing," implement sanctions regimes, and provide logistical support to states undertaking collective action.
But complete candor is imperative. The Security Council has an exceedingly mixed record in being such a facilitator. In the case of Iraq's aggression against Kuwait in the early 1990s, it performed admirably; in the more recent case of Kosovo, it was paralyzed. The UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia was a disaster, and its failure to protect the Bosnian people from Serb genocide [recall the Srebrenica massacre - AKH] is well documented in a recent UN report.
And, despite its initial success in repelling Iraqi aggression, in the years since the Gulf War, the Security Council has utterly failed to stop Saddam Hussein's drive to build instruments of mass murder. It has allowed him to play a repeated game of expelling UNSCOM inspection teams which included Americans, and has left Saddam completely free for the past year to fashion nuclear and chemical weapons of mass destruction.
Next topic - UN threats against national sovereignty:
The American people do not want the United Nations to become an "entangling alliance." That is why Americans look with alarm at UN claims to a monopoly an international moral legitimacy. They see this as a threat to the God-given freedoms of the American people, a claim of political authority over America and its elected leaders without their consent.
The effort to establish a United Nations International Criminal Court is a case-in-point. Consider: the Rome Treaty purports to hold American citizens under its jurisdiction -- even when the United States has neither signed nor ratified the treaty. In other words, it claims sovereign authority over American citizens without their consent, How can the nations of the world imagine for one instant that Americans will stand by and allow such a power-grab to take place? The Court's supporters argue that Americans should be willing to sacrifice some of their sovereignty for the noble cause of international justice.
I will nitpick with Mr. Helms over this point:
International law did not defeat Hitler, nor did it win the Cold War. What stopped the Nazi march across Europe, and the Communist march across the world, was the principled projection of power by the world's great democracies. And that principled projection of force is the only thing that will ensure the peace and security of the world in the future.
Just war is a form of application of international law. Such military enterprises parallel police activity. The Nazis fought the cops and lost. The Soviets and its Warsaw Pact lieutenants, instigating the mother of all hostage situations, eventually let their hostages go - with minimal violence (barring the Romanian example).
What Helms really meant was that international judicial activity did not stop international tyrants.
"International law" is sometimes an Orwellian contradiction in terms:
More often than not, "international law" has been used as a
make-believe justification for hindering the march of freedom. When Ronald Reagan sent American servicemen into harm's way to liberate Grenada from the hands of a communist dictatorship, the UN General Assembly responded by voting to condemn the action of the elected President of the United States as a violation of international law -- and, I am obliged to add, they did so by a larger majority than when the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was condemned by the same General Assembly!
Similarly, the U.S. effort to overthrow Nicaragua's Communist dictatorship (by supporting Nicaragua's freedom fighters and mining Nicaragua's harbors) was declared by the World Court as a violation of international law.
At that time, two-fifths of the permanent membership of the Security Council was Communist - what do you expect?
Helms called for a UN that woudl serve as an "effective tool of diplomacy" and not a self-appointed government that would "impose its presumed authority on the American people [or on the citizens of any other member nations, by implication] without their consent." Sounds like a reasonable request to me.
Labels: Politics, World