According to my morning paper, Washington is "out of touch" with the American public.
Now, this isn't exactly a revelation in a country where the President has an approval rating hovering somewhere between "is your term over yet?" and "get the fuck out of here right now!" but what was interesting is that the story was in reference to the view that the average American has towards the Useless, errrr, United Nations.
According to a poll, Americans are enthusiastic supporters of the UN even though they are suspicious of it.
60 per cent believe it should have the right to regulate the international arms trade.
72 per cent believe there should be a UN standing peacekeeping force selected, trained and commanded by the UN.
45 per cent believe the UN should be allowed to implement taxes on things such as the international sale of arms and oil.
62 per cent believe the UN should be able to use force to prevent countries from acquiring nuclear weapons.
83 per cent believe the UN should be able to use force to prevent human rights violations and genocides.
76 per cent believe the UN should be able to use force to stop countries from supporting terrorist groups.
So, my question is: how exactly does this put Americans out of step with the American government?
I'm sure Bush would have been ecstatic if the UN had lived up to its own binding resolutions on Iraq instead of watching UN members and outside corporations reaping billions of dollars in profits while Saddam thumbed his nose at the international community and the Iraqi people starved or were murdered.
I'll bet Bush would love it if the UN used force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
I've no doubt at all Bush would have been grateful if, after 9/11, the UN had sent a force into Afghanistan to hunt down and eliminate the Taliban and al-Qaida.
I can't imagine for one second that Bush would complain if the UN had a trained force that could stop the genocide in Sudan.
I'm not as sure that the White House would agree the UN should stop or regulate the international arms trade but I am willing to bet the 60 per cent of Americans in favour of that weren't thinking of their own nation's role in that when they answered the questions. My guess is they were thinking of Russia and China arming America's enemies like the Middle East thugocracies and the crackpots in Venezuela.
As for the 45 per cent of Americans who support allowing the UN to levy taxes, well, they're wrong. Perhaps they thought that would lower the US's annual contribution to that international sinkhole of finances. Or, perhaps, they're just stupid or ignorant; after all, roughly the same number of Americans reject evolution theory in favour of young Earth creationism. Obviously, there are some pretty whacked out people living south of the border with little idea what's going on in the world either now or in the billions of years that have passed on our little rock.
To me, it seems as though Americans are probably pretty much in line with their government when it comes to the UN. The thing is, the poll only asked whether people supported the ideas proposed, not whether they believed the UN could actually accomplish those goals.
The answer to that, unfortunately, is a resounding "No!" The UN, as is, is a parasitical organization sucking up American dollars while cozying up to American's enemies. As such, it should be disbanded and replaced by an alliance of nations dedicated to living in free societies with measures in place to ensure there is compliance and not just lip service.
Hopefully, almost all Americans (and Canadians) would agree with that.