During the presidency of George W. Bush, member states of the United Nations declined to re-elect the United States to one of the seats reserved for Western States on the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
They elected, instead, France, Austria and Sweden.
The Bush Administration was unmoved by the slight, pointing out that the UN Human Rights Commission routinely elected such paragons of human rights as Rwanda, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Somalia, and Uganda.
In fact, when the UN membership elected Sudan to the human rights organization, according to MSNBC
"U.S. Ambassador Sichan Siv called the vote an "absurdity" and accused Sudan of massive human rights violations and "ethnic cleansing" in the western Darfur region before getting up from his chair and walking out of the Economic and Social Council chamber."
Old news. Got that. Here is some UN background.
There are 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly. Each gets the same number of votes: One.
That is true whether the member state is China (population 1.4 billion) or Tuvalu (population 10,698).
According to the CIA's "World Factbook" Tuvalu is the smallest member of the UN, but not the nation with the smallest population.
That honor goes to Pitcairn Islands with a total population of 48.
Oh, this is interesting! The legislature of Tuvalu is made up of 11 people which means about 23 percent of the population is involved. If the U.S. had a similar representational ratio, the U.S. Congress would be made up of 72.8 million people.
And they still wouldn't get anything done.
The U.N. Security Council is made up of just 15 members. Five permanent members are the allies from World War II: U.S., France, U.K., Russia and China.
Note, neither Germany and Japan are members of the Security Council because they lost World War II which ended about 68 years ago. The UN is not noted for moving quickly.
There are also 10 rotating member countries, which are elected by the General Assembly to serve two year terms.
According to the rules in place since 1945 each of the five Permanent Members has veto power over any decision taken by the Council. The rotating members do not possess that authority.
Last week Saudi Arabia was elected to the Security Council for the first time. The Saudis declined the honor.
The Arab Press, published in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia reported that
"In a statement carried on Friday by the official Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi Foreign Ministry says the Council has failed in its duties toward Syria.
"It says this alleged failure enabled Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime to perpetrate the killings of its people, including with chemical weapons, without facing any deterrents or punishment."
The Saudis also complained that the U.N. Security Council
"has not been able to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over the past decades and has failed to transform the Middle East into a zone free of weapons of mass destruction."
So, the Saudis think, as I do, that the United Nations is a waste of time, talent, and money.
There is an old saying in politics that goes: No matter how valid your position, there is always someone who agrees with you that you wish didn't.
Actually, that's not an old political saying. I made it up. But it was a while ago.
There are people who maintain that the United Nations is a valid organization if only to keep countries talking to one another when they would otherwise be either shooting each other, hacking limbs off one another, or starving the children and raping the women of enemy tribes.
As Uncle Si Robertson once said, "You can't fix stupid, Jack."
Here's my excellent idea du jour:
Disband the UN. It is useless at best and harmful to world peace at worst.
Replace it with a "Security Council" made up of one representative of each of the various regional organizations: Organization of American States, Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, NATO, the African Union, the Arab League, and so on.
Each of those organizations are supposed to have a unique understanding of the issues that concern their corner of the world and each would be charged with keeping the peace within that corner.
If Upper Iquana launches an attack on East Salamander then it is up to the appropriate regional organization to get it straightened out.
They can hire Donald Trump to sell the UN building for condos overlooking the East River and fund the thing for the next 150 years.
This is why I get paid the big bucks.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the UNHCR, to the UN's main page, to the CIA's listing for Tuvalu, and to the Arab News article about Saudi Arabia.
Also a Mullfoto from Marietta College last week that I am going to have enlarged and hung on my wall.