The Alliance of Liberty

Meet the U.N.'s replacement

10 February 2003
By Evan Coyne Maloney

Would the McDonald's Corporation make an appropriate sponsor for a seminar on obesity?

Should Bacardi be providing refreshments at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings?

If Bill Clinton offered you marital advice, would you take it?

Unless you're a fat, drunk adulterer or a former president, I assume your answer to each of those questions is no. I also assume you wouldn't let Iraq run a conference on disarmament, or let Libya lead a human rights commission.

You might not. But the United Nations would.

Yes, the United Nations--whose purported purpose is "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person" and "to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom"--decided that Iraq would make an appropriate leader for its U.N. Disarmament Conference, and that the U.N. Commission on Human Rights should be entrusted to Libya.

The U.N. pays lip service to human rights and freedom, but then lets countries like Libya and Iraq drive the discussions where these concepts are debated and defined. Is it any wonder, then, that the U.N.--for all of its inconsequential finger-waving and resolution-passing--has been unable to achieve any of the aims set out in its own charter?

Flawed By Design

The real problem isn't that the U.N. is weak and morally blind, the real problem is that it is built to be this way. As a result, the U.N. is structurally incapable of fulfilling its own goals:

The United Nations makes no distinction between democracies and dictatorships. Libya, Syria and Iraq have the same voice and the same vote as countries like Canada, Iceland and Japan. Because much of the world is not free, any serious effort to liberate the oppressed would be stifled by the sizable bloc of nations that freedom threatens.

The United Nations can't enforce its own resolutions. It has neither the brawn nor the backbone to do so. Without a fighting force, resolutions can't be enforced unless members commit their own troops. But, because other nations rarely put their resources where their rhetoric is, violators correctly calculate that enforcement will never come. Emboldened by years of U.N. inaction, the Saddam Husseins of the world now understand that continual stonewalling is the formula for escaping punishment.

Powder-blue helmets. Like Rodney Dangerfield, U.N. peacekeepers get no respect. This may have something to do with the fact that they wear powder-blue helmets in the middle of war zones. Or maybe it's because the U.N.--hamstrung by an institutional fear of force--discourages its peacekeepers from taking action, even in self-defense. Whatever the reason, peacekeepers are able to maintain tenuous peace only when combatants are willing to grant it. How effective are they? Not very: in a few brutal days during the summer of 1995, as U.N. peacekeepers stood by, some 8,000 people were massacred in Srebrenica, Yugoslavia, a city designated a "safe haven" by the United Nations.

Because these flaws are inherent in the design and culture of the U.N., they won't go away without rebuilding the U.N. from the ground up. That's not going to happen, so we must recognize the U.N. for what it is: a terminal patient, an abject failure, a latter-day League of Nations. And, like its precursor, its time--if it ever came--has come and gone. It's time for a replacement.

The Alliance of Liberty

What we need instead is an Alliance of Liberty, whose purpose is to ensure the eventual freedom of every person on the planet. It would state its mission as follows:

We, the free people of the world, in recognition of the fact that freedom is a gift given to us through the selfless sacrifice of our ancestors, and in agreement on the belief that it is our moral obligation to share this gift with those who were not fortunate enough to be born into it, declare ourselves united in an Alliance of Liberty, whose purpose is to secure the freedom of every human everywhere.

The Alliance would have two main objectives: to free the unfree, and to bring about long-term peace. When it must, the Alliance would use force to topple tyrants. But, by defeating tyranny--even when war is required to so do--the Alliance will be working towards an ultimate peace, a goal touted but unattained by the United Nations and the League before it.

What Is Peace?

Paradoxically, conflict is sometimes required to secure peace. In World War II, peace in Europe was achieved through the exercise of military muscle. But let's say the pacifists had been successful at convincing the allies that--to use the words of Jacques Chirac--"war always means failure and therefore everything must be done to avoid war." If Hitler gobbled up Europe and satiated his appetite for expansion, the fighting in Europe would be over. Pacifists would declare success, because by allowing Hitler to roll over Europe, war was avoided. In the minds of those who believe that peace is the absence of war, a war-free Europe living under the thumb of the Nazis would be a Europe living in peace. Talk about doublespeak.

Of course, peace is not merely the absence of war. Peace is the absence of threat. That's why the Cold War--a conflict containing much threat but no direct fighting--is referred to as a war; for forty years, the world lived under a frightening threat, and we rightly recognized that state of threat as a state of war.

Only by eliminating the threats that the world faces today will we achieve meaningful, lasting peace. Given that such threats invariably come from repressive regimes--how often do you find free countries at war with each other?--bringing freedom to those without it will eliminate these threats, and will lessen the likelihood of new ones emerging in the future. In other words, we may need to fight wars now if we want peace in the future. Or, we can let threats fester, and leave future generations even less secure than we are today. But, remember: threats do not go away simply because one side wishes to avoid conflict. There is no such thing as a unilateral peace.

The Future of the U.N.

In the coming weeks and months, we will hear much debate about the future of the United Nations. Such talk is futile. The United Nations is a world body in rigor mortis. It is not, as it set out to be, a body for promoting progress. Instead, the U.N. promotes stasis. And it has not, as it set out to do, brought about larger freedom. Instead, the U.N. winks at dictatorships by granting them the same consideration as democracies. The U.N. may truly desire world peace, it just doesn't know how to get there.

History gave the gift of freedom to many, but it overlooked many more. Is it right that we enjoy this gift without sharing it? What we now call a coalition of the willing should band together in a permanent alliance to replace groups that--like the U.N. and NATO--find themselves struggling for relevance. Those free nations that agree to fulfill the mission of the Alliance are welcome to help the United States carry the light of liberty to the darkest parts of the globe. And to those other free countries, the stingy ones that seem to think freedom is finite and must be hoarded, I ask: is the only freedom worth fighting for your own?

Used by Permission.

About the Author
Evan Coyne Maloney is a political commentator based in New York City. More of his work can be found on the website Brain Terminal, at www.brain-terminal.com.