One big America-bashing moment

Would New York still be New York without the UN? Probably. - New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani

Make that definitely. In fact, it would be a lot more New York. Eighteen acres more, to be exact. That's how much land UN property takes up. It isn't rent control that's driving up the rents here -it's the UN.

That's not all it drives up. The city worked double time last week to diffuse traffic the UN created as its multinational royalty descended on Manhattan for the Millennium World Peace Summit - ambassadors, bureaucrats, and about 160 heads of state, each with his own motorcade. Many of these folks exist essentially to oppress their people, destroy America, and spread dictatorship while throwing parties for themselves under the guise of solving world problems.

The festivities featured attacks on US policy by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, among others. Yet it was an American, John D. Rockefeller, who donated an $8.5 million piece of land (the equivalent of $80 million today) to build the UN headquarters here in 1945. The city added $30 million to clear tenements and slaughterhouses off the site, and the US lent an additional $65 million.

Today the UN's annual administrative budget is $1.2 billion a year, with the US responsible for 25 percent, or $300 million. Add another 30 percent for peacekeeping costs, and the annual US burden is $1 billion.

Still, the UN likes China a whole lot better. And Canada. And anyone else who isn't America. The dignitaries were all ears, laughs, and awe when Cuban dictator Fidel Castro regaled them with a comedy moment before settling into his America-bashing speech.

So if these guys dislike the US so much, why is the UN headquarters still here? Shouldn't it be in Asia, Africa, or Cuba - closer to the people it's trying to help? But no. Its dignitaries like reaping the benefits of being in the world's most prosperous democracy - as they yearn to dissolve it.

One important benefit is the view from the Secretariat building. Scenery is such a priority to the 4,900 public servants who work there that earlier this year, the UN opposed Donald Trump's new project across the street: a high-rise that will obstruct workers' view of the skyline.

While it would be comforting to think UN workers spend more time observing the New York skyline than destabilizing the universe, isn't this an admission that their work is not all that vital? Meanwhile, because they're on international soil, UN buildings aren't up to code for access for the handicapped or environmental and fire safety. The pipes are brittle and leaky, the walls and ceilings insulated with asbestos, and the roofs water-logged - an apt metaphor for the state of the organization's mission.

Today's UN breaks more than it fixes and blunders more than it relieves. Its airy do-gooders either ignore history or make historical and political analogies worthy of grade-schoolers. Actions override words, and if the UN's are any indication, the only thing we can expect to see in the future is a bigger summit with loftier resolutions.

*Julia Gorin is a contributing editor to

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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