Why am I skeptical? Just look at the record. We think this is the first such great gasbag summit. It isn’t. The first such confab took place in San Francisco in 1946. The United Nations Charter was launched with lots of champagne, lots of canapés, and oceans of rhetoric. That was a nuclear summit, too. The U.S. had just dropped two nuclear weapons on Japan to end the Second World War. Britain would soon become a nuclear power, sharing secrets with the U.S. And, as we now know, British nuclear physicist Klaus Fuchs, a Communist, was happy to share nuclear know-how with the Soviets, as well. The UN Charter was announced as if it was the Second Coming. (Actually it was a second coming, of sorts, for the UN’s birth also heralded the quiet interment of the first coming of world peace utopianism, the unlamented League of Nations.)
Here’s what it said:
To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace [UN Charter, 1946]
Read over those glowing words and consider the history of the world since 1946. Nothing mentioned in there about the Gulag in Russia. Nothing, of course, about the coming horrors of the Chinese, Cuban, and Cambodian Communist revolutions. The UN did nothing there. Nothing about the coming genocide in Rwanda or a dozen other states unborn in 1946. The UN did nothing about any of these.
Then cast your eyes on these glowing encomiums to peace and justice. They are part of the Preamble to the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968-70:
Recalling that, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, States must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations, and that the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security are to be promoted with the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources. [Preamble to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, signed July 1, 1968 and ratified March 5, 1970.]
Since that treaty was ratified, India and Pakistan have “gone nuclear,” and North Korea and Iran have launched nuclear research programs. Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons.
Iran and North Korea are forging ahead. The clock is ticking. Israel may be forced to use tactical nuclear weapons to defend herself from an Iranian regime that seems not to have been as inspired as Western liberals have been by the siren song of “international cooperation.”
Even in the heady days of the UN Conference, Harry Truman was careful to keep America’s nuclear arsenal up-to-date and ready and our rights to self defense uninfringed. Even as he fathered NATO and waged war under the UN banner in Korea, President Truman was also the man who extended diplomatic recognition to a newborn Israel, menaced then as today by militant, aggressive neighbors.
We shall see what comes of this week’s conference. Is it too early to say it will probably be a Copenhagen II?