WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The dictionary I have on my desk defines xenophobia as "the undue contempt or fear of strangers or foreigners." The United Nations might seem to be a strange place to have an outbreak of the malady, but if a recent report by the General Accounting Office is correct, Kofi Annan and his capering commissars at the United Nations have a bad case.
It's a strange situation. There is no doubt about UN fondness for American greenbacks. We're constantly being badgered to send the globo-crats more of our hard-earned tax dollars. And when troops in blue helmets are in demand for some far-off "peacekeeping" mission, the Security Council has great affection for U.S. ships, soldiers and C-130s. But when it comes to assigning personnel to responsible posts in the UN bureaucracy, it's apparently a case of "Yankee Go Home."
Prompted by persistent reports of "under-representation" in key positions, GAO investigators found that last year, despite contributing 25 percent of the entire UN budget, Americans held only 7.2 percent of the UN's more than 56,000 jobs. And when it comes to senior decision-making assignments, it's almost as bad. The Congressional watchdogs discovered that Americans filled only 2,076 -- a mere 9.5 percent -- of the 21,941 "professional staff positions" in the UN hierarchy.
U.S. liberals and foreign friends of the international bureaucracy claim that few qualified American candidates seek to fill vacancies in the UN's far-flung ministries -- and that even when they do, Americans "often lack essential language skills." But those arguments were debunked almost a decade ago by the State Department's inspector general. A 1992 internal report prepared by Foggy Bottom's IG staff cited numerous cases where competent, language-skilled and otherwise qualified American applicants were overlooked in favor of others more empathetic to the global goals of the blue bonnets.
To illustrate the problem, the U.S. investigators described how "an American woman with impeccable credentials competed for a senior position and made the final list but was not selected. She speaks Arabic, English and French; has degrees from the University of the Pacific, Boston University and Indiana University; and has worked on international programs for the past six years."
In the nicest possible diplomatic language, the report concluded that the UN's statistics show an anti-American employment bias and propensity to hire "people from certain Western European and developing countries in numbers that matched or exceeded their (financial) contributions."
The consequences of this anti-American hiring bias are evident in almost everything the UN does or fails to do. A longstanding pattern of financial waste, fraud, abuse and national nepotism at the UN's New York headquarters is already well-documented. But in many of the organization's six core bodies, 12 international funds and programs and 14 specialized agencies, it's even worse.
For example, the GAO report notes that in the World Food Program, the United States provides more than 50 percent of the organization's funds, but Americans only hold 10 percent of the staff positions. What the congressional investigators didn't report are charges that every year tons of food intended for starving children simply turn up missing.
The effects of this long-term and extraordinary anti-American bias and job-discrimination are also evident in the multitude of virulently anti-U.S. initiatives that breed and flourish like cockroaches in the dark closets of the organization's multi-tiered international bureaucracy. In the past six months, the United States has been booted out of the UN Human Rights Commission and deprived of its seat on the UN International Narcotics Control Board.
Last month, the United States had to fight to avert a measure in the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons that would have abridged the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment. And later this month, the "Blame America First Crowd" wants to beat up on the United States on the issue of reparations for slavery at their World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.
Meanwhile, back in New York, where Kofi and his colleagues occupy prime Manhattan real estate donated by the American people, foreign bureaucrats who don't pay their parking tickets are mulling over what to do with a request from PLO leader Yassir Arafat. He wants the UN to immediately dispatch blue-helmeted troops to "protect the Palestinian people from the Israeli army." Care to hazard a guess as to who will foot the bill if this loopy idea comes to pass?
In Washington, there is a firestorm brewing over the payment of $582 million in back dues to the UN and whether U.S. servicemen will have immunity from prosecution by the UN's International Criminal Court. Yet Tom Daschle's Senate doesn't seem too concerned. It left town to go on vacation without even bothering to confirm John Negroponte as our ambassador to the UN. But even if they were here, who among them would have stood up to demand that "Club Blue" post an "Equal Opportunity Employer" sign on its front door?
Before we pony up more cash for the UN's dubious utopian schemes, President Bush ought to explain to Kofi Annan and his colleagues that We the People want more of our people looking after how all that money is spent. It's time for a subtle reminder that we have rebelled before over "Taxation Without Representation."