SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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UNITED NATIONS REFORM:
CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
MARCH 15, 2005
Serial No. 10971
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/internationalrelations
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HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey,
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
RON PAUL, Texas
DARRELL ISSA, California
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
THADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan
KATHERINE HARRIS, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
J. GRESHAM BARRETT, South Carolina
CONNIE MACK, Florida
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska
MICHAEL McCAUL, Texas
TED POE, Texas
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
BARBARA LEE, California
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDIANE E. WATSON, California
ADAM SMITH, Washington
BETTY McCOLLUM, Minnesota
BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
DENNIS A. CARDOZA, California
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., Staff Director/General Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Staff Director
RENEE AUSTELL, Professional Staff Member
JEAN CARROLL, Full Committee Hearing Coordinator
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
The Honorable Richard C. Holbrooke, Vice Chairman, Perseus, LLC
The Honorable Richard S. Williamson, Partner, Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw, LLP
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Honorable Jeane J. Kirkpatrick: Prepared statement
The Honorable Richard C. Holbrooke: Prepared statement
The Honorable Richard S. Williamson: Prepared statement
UNITED NATIONS REFORM:
CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2005
House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:37 p.m. in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Henry J. Hyde (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman HYDE. The Committee will come to order.
Ambassadors, on behalf of my colleagues, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you at this hearing. Such a distinguished panel of witnesses is evidence of the importance we attach to the reform of the United Nations. We are fortunate to be able to hear the views of such experienced diplomats on an issue of great importance to our Nation.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the months ahead, the Committee and its Subcommittees are reviewing the performance of the United Nations and its many agencies, with an eye toward introducing legislation that would seek to reform the U.N. to ensure a more effective, a more efficient and a more transparent organization that is better able to fulfill its original mandate.
Even the most steadfast of the U.N. supporters must concede that after more than half a century of operation, this many-faceted, sprawling entity is very much in need of focused scrutiny and extensive reform.
This fact has been dramatically revealed in the still unfolding scandal regarding the enormous sums of money in the Oil-for-Food Program, which we have good reason to believe were stolen, wasted or politically manipulated in a cynical, but effective manner.
In our ongoing investigation, each path we have taken has branched into many others and we have yet to see any end to the series of unwelcomed discoveries.
If abuses of this magnitude can occur in such a high profile program and over a period of years, it is impossible to conclude that mismanagement and malfeasance is an isolated phenomenon within the U.N.
Indeed, revelations of malfeasance and failures within the U.N. have hardly been restricted to just the Oil-for-Food Program.
On the one hand, reports by the press and others have brought to life instances of mismanagement, theft and other forms of crime at various U.N. operations worldwide, including horrific stories of criminal assaults by U.N. peacekeeping forces against children.
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On the other hand, certain structures and organizations within the U.N. must be reformed, such as the Commission on Human Rights, that includes members identified as notorious and well-documented human rights abusers.
These cascading revelations of U.N. failures have led to a crisis of confidence in the U.N. and call out for a meaningful and comprehensive reform.
We can point fingers in many directions, but the United States Government shares some of the blame. We cannot avoid our responsibility to ensure that the money of the American people is used wisely and responsibly and that international organizations, such as the U.N., accomplish the missions and functions for which they were created. The transgressions that occurred within the Oil-for-Food Program demonstrate the scale of abuses that can occur, when no one is watching.
It is our intention to ensure that no veil is ever again allowed to shield from view the activities of those who would use public resources for private gain or pervert the work of international institutions with impunity.
For that reason, our goal is not a one-time exposure of abuses, but the establishment of a lasting culture of transparency and accountability at the U.N., for it is only when permanent scrutiny, by outside observers, is assured that we can be confident that what we are told is true and that malfeasance is not disguised as virtue.
It is important and I stress that this endeavor is not conceived in hostility to the U.N., but instead stems from the important role we believe that it and its many agencies can play in the world, especially in the areas such as the care of refugees and promoting global health.
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To fulfill its original mandate, however, the U.N. cannot be governed by unaccountable international bureaucrats operating with little public oversight.
Those who believe in the U.N.'s capacity for doing good works should welcome this effort. To oppose stringent open and permanent examination is not to defend the organization from attack, but is instead to ensure that abuses will continue to occur, protected by a neglect borne of indifference.
We would do well to remember that here and elsewhere public transparency and accountability are neither burdens nor punishments, but an opportunity to demonstrate fidelity to the trust one has been given.
As I noted at the outset of my remarks, U.N. reform is a priority of the Committee this year. We look forward to hearing your views on the U.N. and its reform and would be especially interested in any views you may have about legislation on the subject.
I now turn to my good friend and colleague, Tom Lantos, for any remarks he may wish to offer.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing on the challenges and prospects we face in our effort to help the United Nations restore its credibility through much needed reforms.
Mr. Chairman, at the outset, we must understand that the United Nations, as an institution, is a derivative reality.
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With 191 members, the U.N. reflects a singularly imperfect international system, containing all of the virtues and all of the shortcomings of its member states.
So as we map out our Nation's strategy for the next decade at the glass edifice on the East River, we must remember that while there are some U.N. deficiencies that can be addressed through management reforms, other problems will only be fixed when more United Nations members assume their international responsibilities and represent democratic values.
Despite both managerial and systemic limitations, the U.N. has shown resourcefulness in confronting the new challenges posed by failed states, infectious diseases that transcend borders, global climate change, famine, weapons trade and terrorism.
But the U.N. still looks very much like an organization created for a different time. It is increasingly handicapped by poor staffing, an antiquated organizational structure, an entrenched bureaucracy and inadequate control over employees and contractors.
Mr. Chairman, we have seen firsthand in our investigation of the U.N.'s management of the Oil-for-Food Program just how seriously these flaws can affect U.N. operations and harm our own interests.
The breakdown in that program included a failure to detect solicited bribes, collusion with contractors, and interference with auditors who were assigned to ferret out abuse.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, it is not the only incident of scandal in the U.N. system. Reports of widespread sexual abuse of women and children by U.N. peacekeepers, contractors and employees and an embezzlement scandal at the World Meteorological Organization are also appalling and indicative of the need for a system-wide response.
The U.N.'s current Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, is a leader determined to implement serious reforms. He recognizes that the United Nations is at a critical crossroads and that it must be modernized and rationalized if it is to survive.
For over a year now, informed by the work of the High-level Panel he appointed, the Secretary-General has been working on a plan to overhaul the U.N. completely so that it is more professional and more capable of confronting global threats, challenges, and change.
The Secretary-General's much anticipated report, which is set to be released next Monday, will recommend a new U.N. architecture to fight global terrorism, a plan to update the nuclear proliferation treaty, a new vision for U.N. peace building, new controls on employee conduct and the management of U.N. contracts, and a plan to give the Secretariat the executive powers it so badly needs to rationalize and reorganize staffing, programs, and budgets.
Then, Mr. Chairman, Congress and the Executive Branch will have a momentous opportunity to help Kofi Annan restructure the U.N. in a way that will support our national interests.
As the leading power in the international system and the largest financial contributor to the U.N., we have enormous leverage in enacting meaningful reforms.
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I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, to seize this opportunity by creating legislation that directs U.S. diplomats to push for specific reforms at the U.N. in the coming months.
But I caution my colleagues to resist the temptation to withhold the payment of our U.N. dues. As you know, Mr. Chairman, the United States just recently completed a multi-year process of paying off a massive debt to the U.N. that had accumulated over many years.
During that process, we successfully reduced the percentage of the U.N. budget that U.S. taxpayers are responsible for funding.
At a time when our national debt is climbing at an alarming rate, do we really want to create another big debt to the U.N. that eventually will have to be paid?
Refusing to pay our dues in order to force reform violates our international obligations and may also be counterproductive.
In this era of new global challenges, we need the United Nations more than ever and for the most part, the U.N. does a good job at meeting these challenges.
Just in the past year, the organization conducted the first ever national election in Afghanistan from scratch and trained 150,000 Iraqis to staff elections in Iraq.
As we speak, the U.N. is coordinating a massive tsunami relief and reconstruction effort involving many governments and hundreds of NGOs. It is helping to stabilize Haiti, Sierra Leone and Liberia and is in the process of mediating the complete withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon to end 30 years of occupation.
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Mr. Chairman, today we are privileged to have three previous Permanent Representatives to the United Nations appearing before us.
I want to express my personal thanks to them for their outstanding service to our Nation and I look forward to hearing their testimony.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Lantos. We are now going to embark upon an experiment, which will permit 1-minute statements by the Members who were here when I put the gavel down.
Those who came in afterwards don't partake in this liberty, but we want people who insist on having opening statements to encapsulate them to 1 minute and limit their number to those that were here before we commenced the meeting.
I have 11 names and we will go down the list. You will do a 1-minute, if you so desire.
Mr. Smith of New Jersey.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to welcome our three highly distinguished public servants who have been great leaders on behalf of the United States of America for so many years.
Just last year I spent 3 days at the Human Rights Commission with Ambassador Williamson, Mr. Chairman. He did an outstanding job in trying to push a number of resolutions, from the China resolution, Cuba, to the resolution that dealt with Darfur, and found himself confronted by rogue states who were sitting as members of the Human Rights Commission, who did nothing but run interference.
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As a matter of fact, it was very discouraging to see language in those resolutions watered down and in the case of China, a no action resolution undertaken, whereby the Chinese Government got off scott free for their ongoing and egregious human rights abuses.
So I again want to thank our three distinguished witnesses for being here and thank you, Ambassador Williamson, for your tremendous job in Geneva.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Berman of California. Mr. Berman graciously does not have a statement.
Mr. Rohrabacher of California.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. The dream of the United Nations has turned into a nightmare of corruption and incompetence and it is time for the U.N. officials to wake up.
The United Nations needs reform and it is an historic imperative for them to conduct this reform, if the United Nations is to regain our trust.
In our hearings of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, we have heard some of the details that explained why the United Nations has lost much of its credibility.
Corruption, evident in the Oil-for-Food Program, was just the tip of the iceberg and we have learned how officials of the United Nations worked to advance their own interests, skimming money from their own agencies and they also pursued deviant behavior and also the behavior of U.N. peacekeepers is certainly in question in different parts of the world and also we have seen contracts that the U.N. has awarded in the
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Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time
Mr. ROHRABACHER [continuing]. The parties totally in contradiction to procedure. We need some reform at the U.N. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this hearing.
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Delahunt of Massachusetts.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I thank the Chair and I look forward to being educated, because when we talk about U.N. reform, I think it is a very confusing and murky subject. I dare say most of us in Congress could not describe to you what the U.N. actually is.
Is it the Secretariat? Is it the Security Council? Is it the General Assembly? Where does the real power lie? I think the controversy surrounding the Oil-for-Food Program is an excellent example of that.
According to Duelfer, while we are focused on the $1.7 billion that was manipulated from the program, simultaneously there was some $9 billion of illicit revenue that was, for all intents and purposes, given to Saddam Hussein to do with what he will, despite the fact that the Security Council took note of that reality.
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired.
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Ms. Davis of Virginia.
Ms. DAVIS. I don't have an opening statement, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, Ms. Davis.
Mr. Blumenauer of Oregon.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the courtesy in at least having a moment to reflect on our interests here.
This is the 60th anniversary of the most complex set of international relationships in history, 191 nations, as you stated in your opening statement, spanning the globe. This is a landmark in human history to have an organization of this nature.
I think clearly there are some problems and abuses and opportunity for reform and revitalization. I note with no small amount of irony, the United States has lost over $8 billion in Iraq, that are unaccountable according to Mr. Bremmer.
Let us keep this in perspective. If we didn't have the United Nations, we would be spending more in peacekeeping, in terms of money and personnel.
I look forward to this discussion and continued work, Mr. Chairman, as you try and bring these issues into focus.
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Chairman HYDE. Thank you.
Mr. McCotter of Michigan.
Mr. MCCOTTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As I have expressed through previous hearings, if one supports the principles of municipal government, one must oppose the practices of Tammany Hall.
Presently it still follows then, however, despite its lofty odes to noble goals, the U.N.'s misfeasance and malfeasance wounds the very people who most support it.
In sum, today the U.N. tiptoes upon the principles above the abyss of irrelevancy at best. I thank the Chairman of this Committee for holding this hearing in order that we might glean whether or not President Franklin Roosevelt's postwar triumphant has finally reached its tipping point.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you.
Ms. Berkley of Nevada.
Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and I want to welcome our guests. I am very excited to hear your testimony.
I share the concerns expressed by many of my colleagues regarding the effectiveness of the United Nations. Charges of corruption, bribes, kickbacks, as well as a lack of transparency are very serious problems, but I am also concerned about the ineffectiveness of the United Nations in fulfilling its Charter mission.
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The U.N., in my opinion, has been especially dysfunctional when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. From equating Zionism with racism, to the 2001 Durban conference on racism turning into an anti-Semitic love fest, to what appears to be an almost constant condemnation of Israel during the Intifada, the U.N. has done little to move the region toward peace.
If the U.N. cannot be trusted to be an impartial forum to air and resolve grievances and has to be sidestepped by the United States, when our foreign policy needs dictate that we move forward without them, it worries me about the future effectiveness and
Chairman HYDE. The gentlelady's time
Ms. BERKLEY [continuing]. Relevancy of the U.N. I look forward to hearing your comments.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, gentlelady.
Mr. Mack of Florida.
Mr. MACK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you having this important hearing today. It is important and it is timely and I also want to thank the panel for being here and taking time out of your schedule to be with us.
Mr. Chairman, in 1998, as the United States threatened to enforce several U.N. resolutions on Iraq, Secretary-General Kofi Annan negotiated another last chance deal for Saddam Hussein.
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He went so far as to state about Saddam: ''I think I can do business with him.'' In light of the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal, maybe he was talking about doing actual business.
In 2004, after the United States and our allies removed Saddam from power, Secretary Annan called the war illegal.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you and the other Members of this Committee as we look to reform of the United Nations.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you.
Mr. Schiff of California.
Mr. SCHIFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassadors, I want to thank you for being here. I had the opportunity last week to spend the day at the United Nations and I was very impressed with the need, not only for management reform, but for structural reform of the United Nations.
The key consensus behind the formation of the United Nations preventing state-on-state, massive state-on-state warfare, has broken down. That is no longer the greatest challenge facing us.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Rather, some of the challenges we face are intrastate violence, terrorism, breeding grounds for terrorism, genocide, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on an emerging consensus behind the United Nations' mission.
Also, I would be very interested to know your thoughts on the power of a democracy caucus within the United Nations, a concept I think that has a lot of merit and is a real growth area, but I think the challenge for us is to strengthen the institution.
It brings us much more value than costs us and we need to be encouraging a dramatic structural and managerial reform and I look forward to your testimony.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you.
Our last 1-minute is Ms. McCollum of Minnesota.
Ms. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I look forward to today's hearing and I hope it focuses on many of the recommendations that are in the report.
As there have been very many comments made about the need for reform and the reform display that is needed in a very negative light, my interactionsalthough limited that they may be in my short time here in Congresshas been one of hope and opportunity delivering health care, helping refugees, working to improve the lives of women and children.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to read from the report, the conclusion, Mr. Chair. Just a little bit of what Secretary-General Kofi Annan said:
''I hope the people all over the world will read this report, discuss it and urge their governments to take prompt decision on its recommendations. I believe the great majority of them will share my feelings that there is an urgent need for the nations of the world to come together and reach a new consensus, both on the future collective security and on the changes needed if the United Nations is to play a part.''
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Chairman HYDE. The gentlelady's time has expired.
All others who have a statement at this point may enter them in the record at this point.
We have a distinguished panel of experts before us today. We have, first, Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. She was the first woman appointed to serve as Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations and as a member of Ronald Reagan's Cabinet and National Security Council, she served as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, from 1985 until 1990 and the Defense Policy Review Board from 1985 to 1993. Ambassador Kirkpatrick also headed the U.S. delegation to the Human Rights Commission in 2003 and currently, she is a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
I also welcome Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. He served as United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1999 to 2001. From 1994 to 1996, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and was the Chief Architect of the 1995 Dayton Accords. Ambassador Holbrooke also served as Ambassador to Germany from 1993 to 1994 and currently, he serves as Vice President of Perseus, LLC.
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Finally, we have Ambassador Rich Williamson. Last year, Ambassador Williamson served as United States Representative to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. From 2002 to 2003, he served as the United States Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs to the U.N. Ambassador Williamson is a partner in the law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw in Chicago.
Thank you all for coming today.
Ambassador Kirkpatrick, will you proceed with your testimony? Try to confine it to 5 minutes, give or take. Your entire statement will be put in the record.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JEANE J. KIRKPATRICK, SENIOR FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. I am pleased to be here. I appreciate your invitation and I would like to say that I have many views about this subject, as I am sure you can imagine, since I spent 4 1/2 years of my life very intensively involved with the United Nations.
I will share just a few of those views and questions that I have. I want to begin with your questions, Mr. Chairman.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You asked how the United States can restore confidence in the United Nations. I would like to say very clearly and directly at the beginning that, in my opinion, neither this House Committee nor the United States Government can restore confidence in the United Nations.
Only the officers in the function areas of the programs of the United Nations can do that. They can do it by organizing themselves with transparency and functioning with integrity and obviously by making certain that all the members, all 191 members I think there still are, contribute a fair share to the services and costs of the organization.
Obviously the United States should always try to be just in our judgments and generous in our support of worthy U.N. projects. We should always try to help the poorest people, the refugees, the victims of illness and genocide.
Mr. Chairman, I have always had an especially strong interest in human rights and have had high expectations about how the United Nations could strengthen its records in the human rights field and encourage an improvement in the record of those countries who victimize their own populations, which is a very special problem that has always seemed to me that the United Nations should be able to make a special contribution for.
As everyone now understands, however, the record of the United Nations in this field has been poor. No aspect of the U.N. has a poorer record than the Commission on Human Rights, which I attended, which I headed the U.S. delegation in 2003, just 2 years ago.
I was interested in doing that and I was ready to accept the President's appointment to do that, because I had had no relationship with the Commission on Human Rights in my 4-plus years at the U.N., as Permanent Representative.
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I had a lot of contact with the Third Committee and its work on human rights, but none whatsoever with the specialized agencies, specifically the Commission on Human Rights.
I must say that I think that the record of the United Nations is worse perhaps of all in the Commission on Human Rights. I see my friend Tom Lantos shaking his head yes.
I don't say that with any pleasure, or I take no satisfaction in saying that the Commission on Human Rights is probably the worst record of anybody of the U.N.
It ought to be the best, in my opinion, but it is the worst. One of the reasons it is the worst is that the most egregious human rights violators have, in recent years, made a special point of running for election to the Commission and when they get on the Commission, they seek to twist it to their goals, which are not at all the goals that any American or any democratic country would ever expect that a Commission on Human Rights would seek, in fact. It is a very big disappointment.
Literally nothing was done by the Commission on Human Rights or anybody else or the Third Committee to assist the victims of genocide in Rwanda. I don't know how many of you may have seen Hotel Rwanda, but I hope a good many of you have. I think it is a very powerful, moving picture which is quite accurate.
I have read a good deal about the catastrophe in Rwanda and what I have learned, I think, is that literally nothing was done by the United Nations to assist the victims of genocide in Rwanda.
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Neither was anything done by the appropriate commissions and committees of the United Nations to assist the victims of mass murder and there is no other word for it, in Srebrenica and elsewhere in Bosnia, in their hour of greatest need.
Not much more is being done today, if I understand it correctly, though I am not an expert on it, to help the people of Darfur.
I believe that no help has actually been provided. Certainly no urgent help has been provided to the people of Darfur, as I understand it.
I think that clearly the problem is an urgent problem. I see my friend, Ambassador Holbrooke says yes. Well he is going to tell us about it in his turn. UNHCR. I hope UNHCR has been working on it.
In my time at the United Nations, UNHCR was easily one of the most useful and helpful organizations in the institution. The UNHCR was good and it kept alive several million people, who would otherwise be without shelter or food. I am pleased to hear that UNHCR is helping in Darfur, effectively I am happy to hear it.
No help, I would like to say so far as I know, has ever been given by a U.N. agency to the many victims of human rights created in Cuba, by the Government of Cuba.
It was a very unhappy circumstance to sit on the Human Rights Commission during the precise time that the Government of Cuba was arresting and brutally, harshly incarcerating 75 Cuban teachers and librarians and journalists, almost all of whom are still imprisoned.
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Three Cubans were even more harshly simply murdered. They were seeking to make their way to the United States and were intercepted and when they were intercepted and taken back to Cuba, they were precipitously tried in a 12-hour trial and executed, the three of them.
The other 75 are mostly still in prison, under extremely harsh conditions. Many of them are older people and the sentences that were imposed on them will amount to life sentences.
Many wives are not permitted to visit their husbands. Often husbands are not permitted to visit their wives. Children their parents.
The food is inadequate. The medicine is almost nonexistent. Doctors are not permitted to see their patients and many of these people, because they are older and because they are living under very harsh circumstances, have urgent need for medical care and for medicines.
I was most disgusted in my whole experience at the Human Rights Commission, which was a very unpleasant experience made even more unpleasant by the fact that there was not even a mention in the report or in the resolutions that the Commission passed that year of the arbitrary arrest or harsh treatment of those Cuban dissidents.
These were all peaceable people. You know I repeat, teachers, librarians. Nice people, if you will. Constructive members of their communities.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is very large room for improvement in the Human Rights Commission. That is one thing I would like to underscore. I think all of the Human Rights work of the U.N. system, with the possible exception of UNHCR, and I am willing to take Dick Holbrooke's word for the fact that they are doing very good work now and I repeat, I saw them do some good work while I was there
Chairman HYDE. Ambassador Kirkpatrick, would you permit an interruption so that Mr. Holbrooke can give a statement? He has to rush for a plane.
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. Yes, of course, I would be happy to do that. Instead of me saying what he said, let him say what he said.
Chairman HYDE. He is on his way to China. We don't want to hold him back.
Ambassador HOLBROOKE. It is a long ways.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Kirkpatrick follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JEANE J. KIRKPATRICK, SENIOR FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
Mr. Chairman: You ask how the United States can restore confidence in the United Nations. In my opinion, neither this House Committee nor the United States government can restore confidence in the United Nations. Only the officers and functionaries of the U.N. can do that. They can do it by organizing themselves with transparency and functioning with integrity. We should all contribute a fair share to services and costs.
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Obviously the United States should always try to be just in our judgments and generous in our support of worthy U.N. projects. We should help the poorest people, the refugees, the victims of illness and genocide.
I have always had an especially strong interest in human rights and have had high expectations about how the United Nations could strengthen the record on human rights of those countries who victimize their own populations.
And as almost every one now understands, the record of the U.N. in this field has been poorand that of the Commission on Human Rights especially poor.
Literally nothing was done to assist the victims of genocide in Rwanda or Bosnia in their hours of greatest need, nor most recently the people of Darfur. No help has been given by the United Nations to the 75 Cuban doctors, teachers, journalists, and librarians arrested and harshly imprisoned in the summer of 2003. The Commission on Human Rights did not even mention their arbitrary arrest or harsh treatment.
There is large room for improvement. But improvement would require the more affluent countries to contribute more assistance, to care more and to work harder to ease the condition of the victims of tyranny.
Free people in open fora should never fail to protest the brutal treatment of helpless citizens at the hands of ruthless governments. People who attend meetings of Human Rights Commissions should never forget what the meetings are for. People who testify before Congressional Committees should not forget the victims of the world's tyrantsin Cuba, China, Burma, Sudan, Vietnam, and elsewhere.
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Those of us who enjoy the benefits of freedom should never forget the millions who do not.
Chairman HYDE. Go ahead, Mr. Holbrooke.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD C. HOLBROOKE, VICE CHAIRMAN, PERSEUS, LLC
Ambassador HOLBROOKE. Mr. Chairman, you have done something I never thought I would see, allowed me to trump my esteemed friend and predecessor, Jeane Kirkpatrick.
I apologize Jeane.
Mr. Chairman, Congressman Lantos, Members of the House International Relations Committee, since this is the first Committee I ever testified before, back in 1977, it is always a special honor to be here. I actually testified here before confirmation and I am really grateful to be part of this important discussion.
I would like to introduce my first statement into the record and briefly summarize or try to be brief.
Because the United States is the U.N.'s founding nation, its host nation and its largest contributor, how we treat the organization is of profound importance and will have a profound impact.
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To put it simply, Mr. Chairman, the United Nations cannot succeed without strong American support and it cannot function effectively if it is in opposition to, or if it is perceived to be in opposition to the United States Government.
At the same time, if we continue to underfund, under support and undermine the United Nations' system, it will become progressively weaker and at the same time, it will become increasingly a center for hostility to the U.S., a combination, a trifecta if you will, that will hurt American national security interests in many ways.
Allow me to start with a personal observation. In the 42 years since I did the foreign service of the United States Department of State and was sent directly to Vietnam, there is no issue, none, on which American public perceptions are more misinformed than regard to the United Nations.
Both the U.N.'s strongest supporters and its most severe critics have often misunderstood and misrepresented the very nature of the institution.
First, the U.N.'s most idealistic misguided supporters, who often defend it without regard to its deep flaws and its limitations and some of whom still actually hope that the U.N. can somehow represent ''the conscience of the world,'' even impose its will over member states.
Ironically, this utopian dream, which Congressman Lantos has flawlessly eliminated with a very, very fine phrasewhich with his permission I intend to plagiarize in the futureis that the U.N. reflects all the virtues and shortcomings of the world itself, and I wish I had thought of that phrase, but I can't imagine it being phrased better.
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Ironically, this utopian dream of the United Nations, that it should play a super national role, is matched by the fear on the part of many U.N. independents on the right, that the U.N. in fact seek such a role. To be frank, both groups are equally misguided. A U.N. with super national authority is neither desirable nor policeable.
The founders, led by Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Winston Churchill, understood this completely. Their goal was to create an organization that could prevent or stop wars between sovereign states and adjudicate international disputes, before they reached the state of war.
The large number of wars since 1945 are a clear demonstration of the limits of the U.N., but this, Mr. Chairman, is a result of the actions of the member states themselves, not something called the U.N.
What happens in the U.N. is simply a reflection of the positions of the 191 sovereign governments represented there. Their Ambassadors take instructions from their capitols.
In fact, blaming the United Nations, the U.N., for what happens inside that tall, glass building on New York's East River, is like blaming Madison Square Garden for the dreadful New York Knickerbockers. I wish to choose my hometown basketball team so as to offend no other Members of Congress.
Comparing the United Nations with the original intentions of its founders, we can only conclude that rather than being too strong, it is too weak and too ineffective.
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As an American deeply concerned for over 40 years with our national security, I would suggest, knowing that some of my close friends and most respected associates on this Committee and in the Congress may take issue with me, that a stronger and more effective United Nations would be in America's national security interests.
Strengthening the United Nations does not threaten us, Mr. Chairman, for one key reason: The veto in the U.N. Security Council.
This was the intent of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and the extraordinary bipartisan American negotiating team that spent the summer and spring of 1945 in San Francisco, at the founding conference.
The veto was designed to protect us, enabling the United States Senate to ratify the U.N. Charter and avoid the fate of the League of Nations in 1919, which was rejected for this precise reason by the U.S. Senate.
In fact, the values of the U.N., the values of the interests, the policies, the Charter are American policy values. They were, after all, written by us.
This goes back to the language of the Charter, advancing freedom, human rights, refugees.
A stronger U.N. is one in which the Human Rights Commission, which has been mentioned now by Jeane Kirkpatrick and Congressman Rohrabacher and Congressman Lantos and others, quite rightly and appropriately, a stronger U.N. is one where the Human Rights Commission, for example, is one that is more aggressively pushing for human rights that the U.S. seeks to advance as part of our own national security policy on a bipartisan basis.
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A weaker U.N. is one where the Human Rights Commission is dominated by such terrible violators as Cuba and Libya.
In other words, what is wrong with the U.N., or in this case the Human Rights Commission, is not the core idea that it stands for, but the instances where due to lack of American engagement and leadership, the institution was hijacked by states whose practices are anathema to all the U.N. stands for, and I applaud Secretary-General Kofi Annan's announced intention to seek a change in the manner by which members of the Human Rights Commission are chosen, as Congressman McCollum already referred.
Mr. Chairman, even 60 years laterand we are now on the 60th anniversary of that great conference in San FranciscoI think we should pause to admire the genius of the visionaries who created the U.N.
The bipartisan team in San Francisco, led by Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, included Adlai Stevenson, Nelson Rockefeller, John Foster Dulles, Harold Stassen, John J. McCloy, Avril Harriman, Senator Arthur Vandenberg, Senator Tom Connolly, Chairman and Ranking, in reverse order, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Congressman Sol Bloom, who was then Chairman of this very Committee.
In fact, Mr. Chairman, it was your great predecessor, Chairman Bloom, who argued successfully the preamble of the U.N. Charter, which in its original draft began with boilerplate bureaucratic language, drafted by Yon Smutz of South Africa, should instead soar with rhetoric that deliberately and consciously would echo the American Constitution.
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Working closely with Virginia Gildersleeve, Dean of Barnard College and the only woman on that great bipartisan team in San Francisco, Chairman Bloom proposed that the Charter begin with the now immortal words, ''We the peoples of the United Nations, determine to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.'' It was your great predecessor who proposed that immortal beginning.
But not even the great team in San Francisco could see into the 21st century. They designed a machine for 50 countries. Today there are 191 countries.
They saw wars as something between nations, like one country crossing another, as in September 1, 1939. They couldn't foresee that most modern wars would be internal conflicts, that 90 percent of today's casualties would be civilians and result in a civil war, internal brutality by governments to some of its citizens and separatist independence movements.
Nor could they foresee worldwide terror networks, like al-Qaeda, which operate without a national government as a sovereign base and yet still threaten the established order and all civilization itself.
Thus the U.N. could not fulfill the vision of President George Herbert Walker Bush at the end of the Cold War to create a new world order, with a renewed U.N. at its core.
In fact, as we learned immediately, the U.N. wasn't up to the task. In the first few years after the Cold War, the U.N. failed, in the most costly and public manner possible, the first three tests it faced: Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda.
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The triple failure almost took the U.N. down and this was the underlying reason why the Clinton Administration, correctly in my view, vetoed a second term of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali and I know that both the Ranking Member and Chairman supported that decision.
By the time we reached the climax of Bosnia in 1995, it was clear that the old U.N. peacekeeping system was dead. The Security Council mandates were too weak. The blue helmet peacekeepers took too long to assemble. They were uneven in their skills, unevenly equipped and trained and often, as has been mentioned by many of you, simply too corrupt.
Some blue helmet forces did continue to effectively functionEl Salvador, Cyprus and elsewherebut the basic concept didn't work and that is how we evolved to what we call in jargon an MNF, multinational force.
We have a multinational force, quite simply, and this is the most critical distinction for all of us in this room, it is not a U.N.-commanded force, but national troops authorized by the U.N.
The first test case was Kosovo and East Timor in 1999. East Timor worked perfectly. There was a slaughter going on. We met around the clock at the U.N., would not go out of session until the force was authorized. Ninety-six hours later, the Australians were in East Timor.
The massacres, which had gone on for years, stopped immediately, never resumed. Today East Timor is a sovereign member state of the U.N.
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In Kosovo, the slaughter was stopped with a NATO force, but the political settlement has not yet been achieved, I regret to say.
You may conclude from what I have said so far that I came here to attack the U.N. This is, however, not the case, Mr. Chairman. I remain firmly of the belief that the U.N., despite its flaws, is indispensable to U.S. national security interests. It helps them far more than it harms them.
Our task here today should be to look for ways to strengthen it and reduce those of its actions with which we disagree.
In this regard and with the author's permission, I want to quote from a remarkable letter, dated February 17 of this year, sent by Senator Jesse Helms to his former colleague, Tim Wirth, because I believe it sums up precisely where the United States should be on this subject. This is Senator Helms, Mr. Chairman:
''I know you would agree that if the U.N. did not exist, something much like it would have to be created, because the nations of the world would have to have a place to talk through differences and support each other's noble causes.
''For that very reason, I believe that we cannot give up on the U.N., but we must do the hard work of making the U.N. live up to its original promise.''
Mr. Chairman, no one could have said it better than Senator Helms in this important letter, which he told me I could make public here today at this important hearing.
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As we well know, since the Helms-Biden legislation was the occasion for the first meeting I ever had the honor of having with you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Helms is the guiding hand behind the Helms-Biden legislation that allowed us to repay most of our arrears in return for some very important U.N. reforms.
Our efforts, supported strongly by you and Congressman Lantos, resulted in some much needed reforms, at the same time, a substantial reduction in American dues to the U.N. from 25 percent to the current 22 percent and similar reductions in other areas.
The total savings to the American taxpayerand I want to put on the record that you were an insistent supporter of this effortthe total savings to the American taxpayer on an annual basis was estimated at about $170 million a year.
I do, however, wish to agree and put in the record now that I also agree with Congressman Lantos that a similar reform effort today should not include a withholding of dues. I am all for reform. Everyone in this room is, but a repetition of that would kill the U.N. financially and have all the consequences that Congressman Lantos has mentioned.
Finally, why is the U.N. valuable? And secondly, what can we make it to do perform better? On the first point, I have submitted an answer and all I can say is, Congressman Lantos and some of your colleagues and yourself have already made the case, but one need look no further than Iraq and the current American dependence.
In Iraq, the election was due in very large part, this great election due in very large part to Brahimi convincing Ayatollah Systani to hold that election and in regard to Syria and Lebanon today, as you saw on the Sunday talk show, The National Security Advisor, President Bush said flatly we are waiting for the Secretary-General's personal representative Larson to carry out our goals.
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On the two hottest issues in the world, plus the tsunami, plus all these other issues, the U.N. is critical. When it comes to an issue like Darfur, where Ambassador Kirkpatrick and I are in fundamental agreement, I just wanted to footnote that the U.N. agency on UNICEF are in there, but it is still appallingly inadequate. That is not the U.N.'s fault. That is the member states' fault.
Finally, how do we make the U.N. more effective? The first need, quite simply, is for the United States Government, both branches, to decide its international interest to strengthen, not weaken the U.N.
While many Administration officials have spoken darkly of the challenges to and weaknesses of the U.N., of the risk of it becoming as irrelevant as the League of Nations, it is rare to hear people in authority in this Administration call for a stronger U.N. in explicit terms.
We all understand the domestic political reasons for this reticence from a proudly conservative Administration, but politics is over after the election and in the second term, nothing would be more useful than a clear statement of support for strengthening the U.N. through reform and sufficient funding.
This incidentally would be fully consistent with true conservative principles on foreign policy, as I understand them.
This would need to be followed by making such goal a policy party for the U.S. and working closely with the Congress to achieve it.
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This was the case during the period when I worked with you and your colleagues on the Senate side and I can truthfully say that during the year and a half I was privileged to serve at the U.N. as Permanent Representative, I spent far, far more time on the Hill than I ever did in the State Department, because you were the people who really mattered.
In fact, I think Congressman Lantos was going to offer me a cubby hole in his office at one point.
The specifics of what needs to be done could fill many volumes. Secretary Kofi Annan has made several major attempts at reform. Congresswoman McCollum mentioned some of them. The reform of peacekeeping in 2000, under the hanging of the sweeping financial reforms that I mentioned earlier, in which this Committee was centrally involved and the current High-level Panel, which we have already discussed.
These are recommendations worthy of close consideration, but I have cautioned my friends in the U.N. system and I repeat here today that Security Council reform will be extremely difficult to carry out.
It would require Senate ratification of a change in a treaty that has been formally approved by the Senate in 1945 and given the many conflicting ambitions of the states that seek change and the danger of deluding the Security Council to a point where it becomes even less effective, I think that we should be realistic about this. Reform is needed, but they are going to be tough to get to.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Recently Kofi Annan has embarked on an important series of high-level personnel changes that he has said publicly he will continue. He has replaced his long-serving Chief of Staff, too long-serving in my view, with a dynamic, new reform-oriented one, Mark Malloch Brown.
Some of you may have seen him in his first television interview Sunday with Chris Wallace on Fox News. A very important interview and I hope you will invite him to meet with your Committee. I know he would be delighted to do so.
Kofi Annan has belatedly, but finally removed the ineffectual head of the U.N. High Commission on Refugees. Really I can't even begin to tell you how strongly I have waited for this moment. Jeane and I both liked the UNHCR, but this man was not appropriate to lead such an important organization.
Kofi Annan has moved to revamp his outmoded press operation, which was more suited to the pre-cable age than the modern world. One might say more suited to the era of the Pony Express. And now he is looking for a senior Washington representative to improve his strained relationships with the Administration, which have to be repaired for his sake, for his institution's sake, and he has some work to do on that side as well and he knows that.
These are important actions for a man who has been under such intense personal pressure. The current Oil-for-Food investigations have made clear that that important program was mismanaged.
The full extent of the problem must await the final report of Paul Volcker's Commission, but I believe strongly that it will not produce anything that would justify the calls that some people have already made for the Secretary-General's resignation, a call which would only throw the institution into chaos, if it was carried out.
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Only last week, by the way, in an important speech in Madrid, Secretary-General Annan forcefully spoke out against terrorist sponsors and called again on the Security Council to take stronger action against them.
With 2 years left in his tenure, Mr. Chairman, Kofi Annan has made clear that he wishes to make institutional reform and revitalization one of those hallmark issues. He cannot succeed in this great endeavor unless he has the support of the leading members of the United Nations and the leading member is the United States.
Without us, the U.N. will fail and if it fails, we, the United States, will be among the many losers. I believe the Secretary-General's pledges for reform are encouraging and they should be strongly supported by all of us in the Congress, in the Administration, in the American public.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Holbrooke follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD C. HOLBROOKE, VICE CHAIRMAN, PERSEUS, LLC
Mr. Chairman, Congressman Lantos, members of the House International Relations Committee,
Since this is the first committee before which I ever testified, back in 1977, it is always a special honor to be here. I especially thank you for the opportunity to testify on such an important and timely subject.
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Two parallel discussions are currently taking place on the United Nations, although they often get conflated in people's minds. First, there is an intense domestic argument on the role of the United Nations in our national security policy. Second, a belated, but nonetheless welcome, debate is taking place within the U.N. and here in Washington on how to improve the United Nations itself.
It is difficult to separate these issues, especially since they intersect. Because the United States is the U.N.'s founding nation, its host nation, and its largest contributor, how we treat the organization has a profound impact. To put it simply, Mr. Chairman, the United Nations cannot succeed without strong American support, and it cannot function effectively if it is in opposition, or perceived to be in opposition, to the United States. At the same time, if we continue to under fund, and undermine the U.N. system, it will become progressively weaker and at the same time, it will become increasingly a center for hostility to the United Statesa combination that will hurt American foreign policy in many ways.
Allow me to start with a personal observation. In the forty-two years since I joined the Foreign Service and was sent to Vietnam, there is no issue which American perceptions have been more misinformed than the U.N. Both the U.N.'s strongest supporters and its most severe critics have often misunderstood and misrepresented the organization. The result is that its critics blame it for events it is not responsible for, while its most fervent supporters often assign to it a role that is impossible.
Let me start with some of the U.N.'s more idealistic and misguided supporters, those who defend it without regard to its flaws and limitations, and who still hope that the United Nations can somehow represent the ''conscience of the world,'' even impose its will over its member states. Ironically, this utopian dream that the U.N. should play a supranational role is matched by the fear on the part of many U.N. opponents on the right that the U.N. in fact seeks such a role.
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To be frank, both groups are equally misinformed. A United Nations with supra-national authority is neither desirable nor possible. It would be unacceptable not only to the majority of Americans but to most of the other leading members of the U.N., including the other four permanent members of the Security Council. The foundersled by Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchillunderstood this completely: their goal was to create an organization that could prevent or stop wars between sovereign states, and adjudicate international disputes before they reached critical mass.
The large number of disputes and wars that the U.N. has been unable to prevent or solve since 1945 are a clear demonstration of the limits of the organization. But this is a result of the actions of the member states themselves, not something called ''the U.N.'' What happens in the U.N. is simply a reflection of the positions of its 191 members, whose ambassadors take positions under instructions from their capitals. In fact, as I have suggested elsewhere, blaming ''the U.N.'' for what happens inside that building on New York's East River is like blaming Madison Square Garden for the New York Knicks.
Comparing the U.N. today with the original intentions of its founders, we can only conclude that, rather than being too strong, it is too weak and ineffective. As an American deeply concerned with our national security, I would suggestknowing that some of my closest and most respected friends in this body may take issue with methat a stronger and more effective United Nations would be in America's national security interests.
Strengthening the U.N. does not threaten us, for one key reason: our veto power in the U.N. Security Council. That was the original intent of FDR and Truman and the American team that went to the founding conference in San Francisco in April 1945. The veto was designed to protect us, enabling the Senate to ratify the U.N. Charter, and avoid the fate of the League of Nations, which was rejected because of this issue by the Senate.
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U.N. values, U.N. interests, U.N. policies, in their essence, are fundamentally U.S. intereststhey were, after all, written by us. This goes back to the language of the charter, advancing freedom, defending human rights, protecting refugees etc. A stronger U.N. is one where the Human Rights Commission, for example, is one that more aggressively pushes for those human rights that the U.S. is seeking to advance as part of its national security policya weaker U.N. is one where the Human Rights Commission is dominated by Cuba, Libya etc. In other words, what's wrong with the U.N. (or in this case the Human Rights Commission) are not the core ideas that it stands for, but the instances when due to lack of American engagement, the institution is high-jacked by states whose practices are anathema to all that the U.N. stands for. I applaud Secretary-General Annan's announced intention to seek a change in the manner by which members of the Human Rights Commission are chosen.
Even sixty years after San Francisco, we should pause to admire the genius of the visionaries who devised these concepts. The bipartisan team, led by Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, included Adlai Stevenson, Nelson Rockefeller, John Foster Dulles, Harold Stassen, John McCloy, Senator Arthur Vandenberg, Senator Tom Connolly, and Congressman Sol Bloom, who was then Chairman of this very Committee. In fact, it was Chairman Bloom who argued, successfully, that the preamble of the U.N. Charter, which in its original draft began with turgid bureaucratic language, should soar with rhetoric that echoed the American Constitution. Working with Virginia Gildersleeve, the dean of Barnard College, he proposed that the Charter begin with the now-immortal words, ''We, the Peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war . . .''
But not even the great team in San Francisco could see into the Twenty-first Century. They designed a machine for fifty countries; today there are 191 member states. They described the Secretary-General merely as a ''Chief Administrative Officer,'' never foreseeing the need for a more powerful chief executive. They saw wars as something that happened between nationsone country crossing another's borders, as in Poland in 1939. What they could not foresee was that most modern wars would be internal conflicts, that ninety percent of today's war casualties (mostly civilians) are the result of civil wars (Congo, Angola, Rwanda, Sudan), internal brutality by the government toward some of its citizens (Bosnia, Sudan, East Timor, Iraq under Saddam), and separatist/independence movements (Croatia, Sri Lanka, Kosovo, Aceh, Darfur, Northern Ireland). Nor could they foresee that health crises, notably HIV/AIDS, might create security problems as massive and destabilizing as any warand would even justify the involvement of the Security Council. Nor could they foresee that worldwide terror networks like Al Qaeda could operate without a national government or a sovereign base, and yet still threaten the established order and the values of all civilized society.
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Thus, the U.N. could not fulfill the 1991 vision of President George Herbert Walker Bush to create, at the end of the Cold War, a ''new world order'' with a renewed United Nations at its core. In fact, as we soon learned, the institution was not up to the challenges of the new era. In the first few years after the Cold War era199194the U.N. failed, in the most costly and public manner possible, the first three tests it faced: Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. This triple failure almost took the United Nations down for the count, and was also the underlying reason that the Clinton Administrationcorrectly in my viewvetoed a second term as Secretary-General for Boutros Boutros Ghali in 1996.
By the time we reached the climax of the Bosnia crisis, in the middle of 1995, it was clear that the old U.N. peacekeeping system was ineffective in many cases. The U.N. ''blue helmet'' peacekeepers took too long to assemble, they were too uneven in their skills, too unevenly trained and equipped, and often simply corrupt. Their Security-Council ''mandates'' were usually too weak. After President Bush sent 30,000 American soldiers into a U.N. peacekeeping force in Somalia, we lived through the October 1993 tragedy of ''Black Hawk Down'' under President Clinton. As a result, the United States, led by Congress, made clear that there would be no more American soldiers under U.N. command. The irony of this reaction to the tragedy in Mogadishu is that the American troops in that incident were under direct American command.
While some blue helmet forces continued to function effectively in less dangerous assignments (like Cyprus), the situation required a new concept for the more difficult cases. Thus evolved the MNFthe multi-national force. It has already proved its value in East Timor, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere: when a tough, rapidly-deployable force is required, let it be authorized by the Security Council, but not put under U.N. command. Thus the concept of the ''Multi-national Force'', or MNF: soldiers in own national uniforms under national or multinational (even NATO, in Kosovo and Afghanistan) command. Take the case of East Timor. It would have taken at least four months to assemble and deploy a U.N. peacekeeping force to that distant and war-torn island in September 1999. Even as we deliberated in New York, the East Timorese were being slaughtered. After an all-night session held at American insistence, and with intense diplomatic pressure brought to bear by Secretary-General Annan in convincing the Indonesian authorities to accept the force, the U.N. authorized an Australian-led multi-national force with Philippine, Thai, New Zealand, Malaysian, and American participation. Less than 96 hours later, the first Australians landed in East Timor, and the massacres ended immediately, never to resume. Three years later, East Timor had passed through a successful, U.N.-administered transition to democracy (under the leadership of the great Sergio Vieira de Mello), and is now a proud, independent nation.
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Despite the success in East Timor and improved operations elsewhere, the U.N. remained a convenient whipping boy for anyone with a beef against the international system. This was especially true because the U.N. General Assembly, dominated by a pro-PLO bloc, continued to pass meaningless and toothlessbut nevertheless very repugnantresolutions condemning Israel for a wide variety of alleged offenses. These resolutions, while consisting of empty rhetoric, served to undermine the credibility of the entire United Nations, and in no way contributed to the purposes of the world body.
(Not that we were without success in advancing a pro-Israel agenda whenever possible. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations were ready to veto resolutions whenever necessary in the Security Council, and in 200 we succeeded in ending a forty-year trek through the U.N. wilderness for Israel, during which they were the only member nation excluded from any regional caucus of countries. There were other advances as well, but problems still remain, which I hope will diminish as progress is made in the Mideast itself.)
You may conclude from some of what I have said thus far that I came here to attack the U.N. This is not, however, the case. I remain firmly of the belief that the U.N., despite its flaws, is an indispensable organization to the United States. It serves our national security interests far more than it harms them, and our task should be to strengthen it, and reduce those of its actions with which we disagree. In this regard, and with permission, I want to quote from a remarkable letter, dated February 17 of this year, that Senator Jesse Helms sent to his former colleague Tim Wirthbecause I believe that it sums up precisely where the United States should be on the subject:
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''I know you would agree that if the United Nations did not exist, something much like it would have to be created because the nations of the world would have to have a place to talk through differences and support each other's noble causes. For that very reason, I believe that we cannot give up on the U.N., but we must do the hard work of making the United Nations live up to its original promise.''
Mr. Chairman, no one could have said it better than Senator Helms in this important letter, which he has allowed me to make public today. As we both know so wellsince his legislation was the reason for my first meeting with Chairman HydeSenator Helms was the guiding hand behind the Helms-Biden legislation that allowed the United States to repay most of its arrears in return for some important U.N. reforms. As Ambassador to the U.N. at that time, I worked closely with both Senators Helms and Biden, as well as this committee. Our mutual efforts, supported by you and this committee, resulted in some much-needed reforms, and at the same time, a substantial reduction in the American dues to the U.N., from 25% of the regular budget to 22%, and similar reductions in other areas. The total savings to the American taxpayer on an annual basis were estimated at about $170 million.
If the U.N. remains a vital part of our national security policy, there are two questions to pursue. First, why is it so valuable? Second, what can we do to make it perform better?
On the first question, the evidence is everywhere. The Administration owes the U.N. a great deal of gratitude for its central role in getting the Shiite leadership to accept the Iraqi elections. Today, they are dealing with Syria through the U.N.'s Special Envoy. When the U.N. does its job well on such issues as refugees or tsunami relief, American assistance is highly leveragedat about a four-to-one ratio. When peacekeeping works, the costs of relief and reconstruction, where the United States is almost always the world's largest donor, are reduced. When mediation is successful, and conflict avoided, the benefits are even more obvious. When the U.N. is successful or even partially successful in an effort like the fight against AIDS or malaria, or when it becomes a strong voice for women's rights or the advancement of democracy, we benefit. I could go on, but, in fact, the point is self-evident.
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Of course, sometimes we cannot get exactly what we want out of an international negotiation. That is in the very nature of relationships with other nations, as between people. In such cases, we always face a simple choice: accept less than what we seek, or walk away. In a certain sense, it is the same choice that we face as individuals on a daily basisbut with national and international consequences. But given our size and power, we enter almost any international negotiation from a position of strength. President Kennedy eloquently put it this way in his Inaugural Address, ''We should never negotiate our of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate.'' In short, the U.N. is a 'force multiplier' when it is effective, reducing American costs and becoming a focus for international support.
Let me return, finally, to the key question before youhow do we make the U.N. more effective?
The first need, quite simply, is for the United States Government to decide that it is in our national interest to strengthen, not weaken, the United Nations. While many Administration officials have spoken darkly of the challenges to and weaknesses of the U.N., of the risk that it will become as irrelevant as the League of Nations, it is very rare to hear anyone in a position of authority in this Administration call for a stronger U.N. We all understand the domestic political reasons for this reticence from a proudly conservative administration. But the time for politics is long gone, and in its second term, nothing would be more useful than a clear statement of support for strengthening the U.N. through reform and sufficient funding. It would, incidentally, be consistent with true conservative principles in foreign policy, as I see them.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This would need to be followed by making such a goal a policy priority for the United States, and working closely with Congress to achieve it. Such was the case, in fact, during the era of Helms-Biden, when we worked so closely with both Houses that I can truthfully say I spent more time in Congress than in the State Department and the White House during my tenure at the U.N.
The specifics of what needs to be done could fill many volumes. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has made several major efforts at reform: most importantly, the 2000 Brahimi Commission that reformed the Peace-keeping Department; the sweeping financial reforms of 2000 in which this committee was centrally involved; and the recent High-Level Panel that focused on the Security Council and, again, peace-keeping. Most of their recommendations are worthy of close consideration, although, as I have cautioned my friends in the U.N. system, Security Council reform will be extremely difficult to carry out, given the many conflicting ambitions of the states that seek change, and the danger of diluting the Council to the point where it becomes even less effective.
In addition to his more formal reform efforts, Kofi Annan has recently embarked on an important series of high-level personnel changes that he has said will continue. He has replaced his long-serving chief of staff with a dynamic new, reform-minded one, Mark Malloch-Brown. He has belatedly but finally removed the ineffectual head of the U.N. High Commission on Refugees and is engaged now in an intensive, and open, search for a more qualified successor. He has moved to revamp his outmoded press operation, which was more suited to the pre-cable age than the modern world. He is searching for a strong senior representative in Washington as his personal liaison with the Administration, having recognized that this strained relationship must be repaired.
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These are important actions for a leader who himself has been under the most intense pressure for many years. The current oil-for-food investigations have made clear that that important program was mis-managed; the full extent of the problem must await the final report of the Volker Commission, but I believe strongly that it will not produce anything that would justify the calls some have already made for the Secretary-General's resignation. Only last week, in an important speech at an Anti-terrorism conference in Madrid, the Secretary-General forcefully spoke against state sponsors of terrorism and called on the Security Council to show no hesitation in authorizing force against them.
With two years left in his tenure as Secretary-General, Kofi Annan has made clear that he wishes to make institutional reform and revitalization one of his hallmark issues. He cannot succeed in this goal unless he has the support of the leading members of the United Nations. And the leading member remains the United States. Without us the U.N. will fail. And if it fails, we will be among the many losers. I believe that Secretary-General Annan's pledges for reform are very encouraging, and should be strongly supported by the Congress and the Administration.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, Ambassador.
Ms. Kirkpatrick, would you like to finish?
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. Would I like what?
Chairman HYDE. Would you like to finish? We interrupted you to accommodate Ambassador Holbrooke. Do you have more to say?
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Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. Yes, I have more to add.
Chairman HYDE. Please.
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. There was two or three things that I was going to comment on that I did not comment on at all as a consequence of being preemptively silenced.
One was, not by you Dick, but by our Chairman, who is a good friend of mine, along with the Ranking Democratic Member, who is another good friend of mine. This is a distinguished Committee from my point of view and a friendly one.
One thing I wanted to say was that I believe that the U.N. very badly needs very significant reforms. I feel very uncertain about how these reforms are best approached actually, but I am certain they must be approached by persons who have worked with and in, in some sense, the U.N. system and who know it well.
I am certain that effective reforms cannot be undertaken by persons who do not know the system, quite simply. That is true of almost any system and almost any reforms.
I strongly feel that we have a good idea, sort of simmering, in the notion of a community of democracies. It is an idea that I have been engaged with, actually, through my membership in Freedom House and the Executive Committee of Freedom House, where I have been a member since before I went to the United Nations and when I came back.
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Freedom House has been actively engaged in the efforts to interest the world in a community of democracies. I might give some credit where credit is due. Madeleine Albright was very active on this issue, when she was Secretary of State.
Paula Dobriansky, who is Under Secretary of State in this Administration, has been very active in following up on the effort to develop a community of democracies.
It is only feasible really since the collapse of the Soviet empire, in my opinion. The collapse of the Soviet Union and its vast empire created a number of new democracies, who are enormously interested in acting to strengthen democracy in the world and I think, of course, of the Czech Republic.
Goodbye, Dick. Have a good trip to California.
Ambassador HOLBROOKE. China.
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. China. First you have to pass through California though. I think he did a splendid job, let me say, on the peace mission that he was in and the peace negotiations at the end of the Bosnia war. It was one of the successful efforts, in fact, that was undertaken in a U.N. context.
There are a number of successful efforts that have been undertaken in the U.N. context, as he has pointed out in his testimony.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There have also been a number of failures in the U.N. context and I think what we, the Committee, and what anybody who is interested in the subject needs to do, is try to distinguish between the successes and the failures, first of all, so that we don't look at the failures as an example of what we ought to continue to try to do to create successes.
I believe that it is enormously important for the United States to distinguish between the successes and the failures and strengthen the policies that have worked and are working and abandon those that haven't worked and are not working today.
I do not think we should tolerate the kind of excuses that accept, for example, the Human Rights Commission's record and behavior. That is shameful. It is not just a waste of money. It is a waste of life that is engaged in that.
I would just say one more thing in fact, besides a strong pitch for the support for the community of democracy, not just support for what exists, but support for thinking about and working with other countries who are also interested in developing a community of democracies, which will be at least as strong as the community of dictatorships, which so effectively dominates so many U.N. activities.
That is, I think, a top priority. It should be a top priority. That I want to emphasize.
Finally, I would just say that I, too, really believe that the United States should commit ourselves to trying to build a stronger United Nations, but only insofar as it is honest and committed to creating freedom and fighting dictatorships and misery in the world.
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That is difficult. That is very difficult to do, because that puts us at odds with China, for example. It puts us at odds with Cuba, both of whom say so all the time in the Human Rights Commission, but we need to do that too.
I think this Committee has to make all those distinctions and I wish you good luck at doing that.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much, Ambassador.
I would like to announce there is a vote on, Sustaining the Ruling of the Chair. I intend to stay here and waive my opportunity to participate in that important decision.
Any of you that wish to vote, please do, but hurry back. We are going to continue.
Rich, you have shown great patience. On the other hand, I think you have learned a few things, as have we all. If we could hear from you, that would be fine.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD S. WILLIAMSON, PARTNER, MAYER, BROWN, ROWE AND MAW, LLP
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for the hearing. Since Dick Holbrooke has given us a history lesson, I will avoid that and try to keep my remarks within 5 minutes.
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I think any review of the U.N. has to begin by looking at the United States today in this era of American primacy. United States military might, economic strength and cultural reach are greater than others.
The result is that we have a foreign policy toolbox with many implements. The U.N. is only one of them, but we should recognize that for many other countries with less might, less strength, less reach, fewer tools, the United Nations is more central to the exercise of their foreign policy.
We should recognize and respect their perspective, even as we do not embrace it. The United Nations, like all large bureaucracies, has waste and fraud. It needs to improve its budgeting, its accountability. It needs to ferret out corruption.
Whether it is sexual harassment by a senior U.N. official, sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers or kickbacks, sweetheart deals and subversion of mission as alleged in the Iraqi Oil-for-Food Program, there must be zero tolerance for wrongdoing.
Accountability must follow the evidence, no matter how high that trail might lead. The mission is not to protect the U.N. and its image, but to relentlessly pursue the facts and expose the truth and hold wrongdoers to account. Only then will the U.N., its image, and most importantly its mission, be well-served.
I agree with Ambassador Kirkpatrick that one key reform is to give support and energy to the democracy caucus. In that regard, I think the UNDP should launch a democracy fund, in which they give resources to fledgling democracies to establish the institutions necessary to sustain them.
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I think in the area of transitional justice, especially in light of the good work being done by the Sierra Leone special court, which is jointly founded by the U.N. and the Government of Sierra Leone, best practices should be developed for restorative justice.
In the U.N. Commission for Human Rights, I disagree with the High Panel's recommendation to expand its membership to 191. I think that would only erode its authority, further deny it legitimacy and undercut the effectiveness. It would have all the credibility of the U.N. General Assembly, which is to say, not much at all.
I think we should try instead to make membership more rigid. Any country subjected to a country-specific resolution ought not to be allowed to stand for election to the Human Rights Commission.
At the Human Rights Commission, we should eliminate agenda item eight on Israel. It is the only country subjected to a country-specific agenda item. Those who use other U.N. fora for the same purpose use the Human Rights Commission to seek to delegitimatize the State of Israel, the oldest democracy in the Middle East.
Also, at the Human Rights Commission, I think we must reign in the special rapporteurs. Too frequently they go beyond the assignment given by the Commission. They enter speculative areas.
Unfortunately, the report they produce becomes a U.N. document, with precedent on other U.N. forum. It is used by others to try to advance their individual agendas.
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By the time it is given in oral summary at the Human Rights Commission itself, the damage is already done. The document has been published.
I would suggest a reform would be to require quarterly reports to the UNCHR Secretarial composed of representative countries to make sure the rapporteurs are going in the right direction.
Regarding U.N. Security Council reform, the problem with the Security Council is that it does not reflect the power distribution in the real world. It may have, arguably, in 1945. It clearly does not today.
That disconnect weakens it and some of those whose power in the Security Council is far greater than it is in the real world seek to use the Council to restrain America.
Finally, let me echo a comment made by others. Ultimately it is the political will of member states, whether it is in the Human Rights Commission or elsewhere in the U.N. system, that will determine whether or not the U.N. can be a success.
Notable examples are the failures of the Human Rights Commission, year after year, to rebuke Zimbabwe, for one of the worst records of human rights abuse in the world. Similarly, at the Commission of Human Rights last year, regarding the ethnic cleansing which has turned into genocide in Darfur, Sudan, the members were unwilling to pass a robust resolution, even in light of this horrific genocide where over 200,000 Black Africans have been killed by a combination of the Arab Government in Khartoum and the Arab Janjaweed militia.
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Similarly, when I was sitting in the Security Council in Liberia, when Charles Taylor's abuses were extreme, a number of members of the Security Council resisted sanctions, because of their own timber economic interests.
Ultimately, the member states have to take responsibility. This is something they fail to do. Ultimately, the Secretariat has to provide meaningful management that is accountable with appropriate oversight.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Williamson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD S. WILLIAMSON, PARTNER, MAYER, BROWN, ROWE AND MAW, LLP
I want to thank Chairman Henry Hyde and the other members of the House International Relations Committee for holding this hearing on United Nations Reform. The United Nations is an institution that has serious problems. I'm sure your consideration of the United Nations and the challenges the U.N. faces can contribute to constructive reforms. An improved, reformed United Nations will benefit the United States and the entire international community.
We live in an era of American primacy. America has unrivaled military strength, economic might, and cultural reach. The United States has many ways and means to project its power and wield its influence. Our foreign policy toolbox has many implements.
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Because of America's size, its economic reach, it's values and various threats including from terrorist networks of global reach; America also has vital interests and concerns that span the globe. The United States has the power and reach to deal with many of these matters. But some issues are better addressed with others such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the terrorist threat and global norm setting. America has a web of alliances and when necessary the United States can rally a ''Coalition of the Willing'' to deal with global challenges. But there are times when the United Nations, a permanent multilateral institution with universal membership and a charter that reflects the same values as the American Declaration of Independence and our United States Constitution, is the preferred instrument for America to advance its interests. The United Nations is a useful tool in America's foreign policy toolbox.
At the same time, we should recognize that other countries with less strength, might and reach have fewer foreign policy tools. For them the United Nations is a more central instrument of foreign policy. We should respect their perspective, even when we do not embrace it.
Last October I led the International Relations Institute Election Observer Mission to Afghanistan's Presidential Election. Before election day, our delegation met with all the leading Presidential candidates including President Hamid Karzai. We met with civic leaders and Afghan Election Commission and other officials. And on election day we visited many polling stations. We saw brave people standing up to threats and intimidation. We saw people filled with hope and empowered by their vote. We witnessed the birth of a new democracy. And we saw a crushing defeat for the Taliban and the forces of evil.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This victory in the forward march of freedom was due to American leadership and, in particular, the brave men and women of the Coalition of the Willing. It was due to the help of the international community in rebuilding schools, hospitals and roads. It was due to the Germans helping rebuild the judicial system, the British working to eradicate illicit drugs, and the French working with America to train a new Afghan army. Most importantly, the successful election day was the result of millions of brave Afghan men and women. It was their victory. But also, the successful journey up to that day and for the execution of a ''free and fair election'' was due to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The contribution of Ambassador Laktar Brahimi and his United Nations colleagues were instrumental to the march of freedom in Afghanistan.
UNAMA is just one of many examples of where the U.N. has helped advance United States interests and made the world a better place. In East Timor, the Ethiopia/Eritrea border dispute, Sierra Leone, Abkhazia, Georgia, and elsewhere United Nations Peacekeepers are helping to maintain the peace and providing breathing space for fragile societies to rebuild.
The Sierra Leone Special Court, a joint venture of the United Nations and the Sierra Leone Government, is helping to provide transitional justice to a society long ravaged by a brutal, bloody civil war.
In Darfur, Sudan, the scene of unspeakable horror and the world's greatest humanitarian crisis today, the United Nations is helping to sustain nearly two million internally displaced persons and refugees, victims of the horrific genocide perpetrated by the government in Khartoum and the marauding jangaweed militias.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Even the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, despite its structural and procedural flaws and the faint heart of too many of its member sates, does some good when it holds to account Fidel Castro's repressive regime for failure to honor accepted international human rights standards.
In the war on terror, the United Nations has adopted new international norms that have been useful and helped freeze terrorists assets making it more difficult for them to execute their evil acts.
The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency continues to be a useful vehicle to put international pressure on Iran and its renegade nuclear program.
In these ways, and many others, the United Nations helps make the world a better place and advances United States interests.
Therefore we should take the United Nations seriously. We should be cold eyed in examining its weaknesses, disappointments and failures. We should be realistic about its limitations. And we should be forward leaning in working to reform it.
It is important to recognize that the United Nations is a flawed institution. Some of its problems are those that challenge any large institution with big entrenched bureaucracies. Some of its problems are unique. All of its problems require examination. And where reforms can help, they should be pursued.
Like all large bureaucracies, the United Nations has waste and abuse. Ways and means to improve budgeting, accountability and ferret out corruption should be found.
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Whether it is sexual harassment by a senior U.N. official, sexual abuse by U.N. Peacekeepers, or kick-backs, sweetheart deals, and subversion of mission as alleged in the Iraq Oil-For-Food program, there must be zero tolerance for wrong-doing. Accountability must follow the evidence no matter how high the trail might lead. The mission of all investigations of alleged wrong-doing must not be to protect the United Nations and its image, but relentlessly to pursue the facts and expose the truth and hold any wrong doers accountable. For only then will the United Nations, its image, andmore importantlyits mission be well served.
And such investigations must lead to more vigorous oversight, more exacting accounting procedures and robust inspector general protocols to stop such illicit behavior. Then, and only then, will the United nations image properly be restored.
And, I for one, believe United States Congressional investigations of alleged abuse is not only appropriate stewardship of American taxpayer dollars, but an exercise the United Nations should welcome and with which it should fully cooperate.
Archaic and harmful U.N. practices should be eliminated such as giving undue weight to geographic distribution in hiring compared to consideration given to experience and competence. Excessive compensation should be cut. Those who pay most of the bills should have more say in how the money is spent. These sort of reforms are unassailable in principle though difficult to achieve.
Developing a strong functioning Democracy Caucus within the United Nations would be very helpful. Today the geographic caucuses yield far too much power and often are counterproductive. Their role in selecting candidates for the Security Council, ECOSOC and other U.N. bodies is often unhelpful. The U.N. Charter and the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights recognize the right to self-determination. Today a majority of U.N. members are democracies yet the current prominence of the geographic caucuses often means democratic countries, nations that respect the values of the U.N. Charter, are underrepresented. Furthermore, anomalous situations result that discredit the U.N. and impede its work such as Sudan and Zimbabwe sitting on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
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One person observed that when we are children our friends are the other children in the neighborhood, but as we grow older we seek out friends who share our values and our world view. It is time for the U.N. to stop organizing based on where a country happens to be situated geographically and to restructure to provide greater prominence to shared values.
Along the same lines, as discussed at last year's session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, the U.N. should provide more technical help and institution building assistance to countries emerging from tyrannical pasts who are struggling to stand up new democratic governments. The proposed Democracy Fund has merit. Similarly, building on the lessons of the ICTY and ICTR, the promising performance of the Sierra Leone Special Court and various Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, the U.N. could and should develop ''best practices'' and greater capacity to help torn societies achieve restorative justice as they try to move from a dark past to a liberal future.
The U.N.'s Universal Declaration on Human Rights is a noble document. I like to point out that the small committee of international diplomats that drafted the Declaration was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, a democrat, and on which sat John Foster Dulles, a Republican. That is appropriate for many reasons, among them being that human rights are not a partisan matter; human rights are an American matter. Human rights are a fundamental value of American Exceptionalism.
The U.N. Declaration of Human Rights sets forth such principles as personal freedom; freedom of thought and religion; freedom of peaceful assembly and association; freedom of speech; freedom of movement; freedom of the press; self-determination; and the rule of law. It is in America's interest to promote these values and to advance freedom and democracy.
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As President Bush said, ''The advance of freedom is the calling of our time, it is the calling of our country . . . We believe that liberty is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the direction of history . . . And we believe that freedomthe freedom we prizeis not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind.'' And respect for human rights is a crucial building block for liberty and the advance of freedom.
Unfortunately, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights often has proven to be a poor steward of these values. For example, last year human rights abuses such as Zimbabwe and China escaped rebuke. Even the brutal ethnic cleansing in Darfur has recognized by only the mildest resolution from the Commission.
What can be done? The Secretary-General's High Level Panel on Strengthening the United Nations recommends enlarging the 54 member Commission to all 191 U.N. member states. I disagree. That would give the UNCHR all the credibility and effectiveness of the U.N. General Assembly. And that would be very little. Rather than enlarge the Commission so it includes all the world's repressive regimes, I would suggest making the requirements for membership more stringent. It is absurd that Cuba, Zimbabwe and other repressive regimes sit as members of the Commission on Human Rights. It is hypocritical and cynical. Together they form an ''alliance of the repressors in the commission waging common cause to protect themselves from the rebukes they richly deserve and undermine the commission's work. Such countries subvert the values, credibility and effectiveness of the commission. They erode the authority and deny legitimacy to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'd suggest criteria be established for any nation to seek membership on the Commission. First and foremost no country that is the target of a UNCHR country specific resolution should be allowed to stand for election. While no nation has a perfect human rights record, at least the worst abusers ought not serve on the Commission entrusted to defend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A country should clean up its own act before sitting in judgment of others. As I said about one delegation last year when we tabled a resolution against them and they turned the tables to attack the United States, ''That's like being called ugly by a frog.'' The Human Rights Commission should not have frogs judging others' beauty.
Our goal should be to eliminate all repressive regimes from serving on the Commission. The reform I suggest would not accomplish that objective. For some country's such as Zimbabwe have escaped the condemnation of a country specific resolution they richly deserve. But the reform I suggest would at least diminish their number. It would be a start.
Second, I suggest the UNCHR eliminate ''item 8'' from its agenda. That agenda item only deals with alleged human rights abuses by the State of Israel. Israel is the only country for which a separate agenda item is designated. It is discriminatory. It merely provides yet another U.N. platform for the enemies of Israel to seek to delegitimize the oldest democracy in the Middle East. Just as happens in the U.N. General Assembly and elsewhere in the U.N. system, agenda item 8 unleashes harsh and vitriolic diatribes against Israel, most often untethered to facts on the ground. If a delegation wishes to raise concerns about a particular human rights situation in Israel, it should be considered under the general agenda item dealing with all country specific resolutions.
I recommend that Special Rapporteurs set up by the Commission be limited to the task assigned. Currently UNCHR Special Rapporteurs are held on a very loose rein. And often the Rapporteurs run far afield, especially on thematic issues rather than those created to examine a specified country's conduct. Sometimes such behavior is benign; but it can be mischievous and harmful. Rapporteurs' reports become official U.N. documents before the Rapporteur's formal presentation to Commission members at their annual meeting. It assumes a life and authority of its own. As U.N. documents the Rapporteur's report, whether adhering to the assignment given or not, has a standing in the United Nations System. Some use the rapporteur's report as precedent on other U.N. fora to push their own agenda. Sometimes Rapporteurs reports reflect the personal musings of the author inconsistent with prior Commission positions. Objections and concerns of member states currently only are germane at such time as the Rapporteur is assigned to give his or her supplemental oral report to the Commission. Then damage already may have been done.
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The Commission should create high guide rails to keep the rapporteurs on the road it has established. This would require the Commission to be more specific and even clearer in outlining the assignment. The Rapporteurs should be required to give periodic progress reports, perhaps quarterly, to the UNCHR secretariate composed of representative countries. Then an unauthorized excursion can be reined in prior to the written report.
A last UNCHR reform I would suggest is eliminating the small member state committee empowered to determine before the Commission convenes whether a proposed resolution should be tabled. Again repressive regimes work hard to gain membership on this elite body in an effort to protect themselves. Since the five regional groups each select their own representative to the committee, the United States and other democracies have little or no say on which countries serve. Among the five members this year were Cuba and Zimbabwe. Enough said.
Finally let me address the issue of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC). Proposals to expand the Security Council unfortunately have crowded out most discussion of other U.N. reforms. The Security Council is the seat of the U.N.'s greatest power. It is natural, therefore, that the Security Council is the focus of the most active and most spirited discussions about U.N. reform. I say this development is ''unfortunate because it is only one topic that warrants serious consideration. And if none of the various proposed Security Council reforms are adopted, as they may not be, hopefully other reforms that are necessary in the areas of budgeting, accounting, oversight, the Commission on Human Rights and others can be adopted.
With ''veto'' power, the United States already can stop UNSC actions that are particularly harmful to its interests. The U.S. usually can get the UNSC to act to advance U.S. interests when a matter is sufficiently important to Washington. (Kosovo and the 18th Iraq resolution are notable exceptions.) Any UNSC reform might complicate the diplomatic dynamic. ''Better the devil you know than the devil you do not know.'' Also, as demonstrated during the 20023 UNSC deliberations on Iraq, there are UNSC members intent on using the Council to restrain U.S. actions, to tie down the superpower.
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The formulas for UNSC reform that are widely discussed sidestep the radical restructuring required to have the council mirror real world power. They leave the P5 in place with their ''veto power,'' and enlarge the Council's membership with more permanent seats (or rotating permanent seats such as the IAEA Board of Governors). The formula most widely supported would expand the UNSC to 24 members of three tiers: the existing P5 with ''veto power''; a second tier of 7 or 8 potentially semi-permanent members elected on a regional basis for a renewable term of 4 or 5 years (Germany, Japan, India, Brazil, South Africa, etc.); and a third tier of rotating regional members elected for non-renewable two-year terms. This option raises a number of concerns. First, while easing current discontent over the UNSC, it doesn't deal with the Council's fundamental problem of not reflecting power distribution in the real world. That disconnect while, perhaps, ameliorated slightly would not be fixed. It might buy some time, but the path would continue to a weaker less relevant UNSC. Second, the UNSC already is large and debate cumbersome with deliberations painfully stilted and slow. Enlargement would make that unwieldy situation worse. Indeed re possible consequence of Security Council expansion ironically might be to lessen the current role of Member States elected to the Council. In 1988, as the UNSC was deliberating how to deal with the Iran/Iraq war, then Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar suggested the P5 begin to meet by themselves to seek agreement on how best to proceed. In that instance and on occasion since then this mechanism has proven very productive. Part of its success is that it does not meet often and has not replaced the normal informal and formal consultations of the entire UNSC membership. With an expanded Council with many more countries with seats at the table and the consequent ''increase of debate and unwieldy deliberations, one result may be more frequent P5 consultations in which not only the most serious issues are discussed but far more. The result will be less participation and less impact on issues for non-P5 Security Council members and this in turn would hurt the UNSC. And third, any enlargement would require geographic/regional group consideration that would result in further distortions between the UNSC and real world power.
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While the Security Council's membership and procedures warrant continued consideration, I remain skeptical that the proposals tabled so far would achieve their stated goals. The better scenario is for the UNSC to demonstrate its relevance and value on issues of fundamental importance to the major powers (and others) so that the bigger powers and the United States become committed to reform because they need a strong, relevant and effective Security Council.
In conclusion, the United Nations is a valuable institution that the United States and other countries should actively support. But to regain greater relevance in the world and to make a more central contribution, it must reform. It must adjust its structure and procedures to more accurately reflect the power relationships in the real world, especially the U.N, Security Council. Budgetary, accounting, auditing and other necessary oversight procedures must be adopted. To fail to make such reforms may mean that the U.N. remains of great interest to those who benefit with prerogatives and power in the U.N. they do not have in the real world. However, those disadvantaged will find the U.N. a less inviting or relevant venue. And, inevitably, the U.N.'s authority and acceptability will diminish.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much, Ambassador.
It looks like I am the only one here to question you at this moment. You are very fortunate. Ambassador Kirkpatrick, what organizational or structural reforms do you think would have the most merit? Are there organizational reforms or structural reforms? If there are, I don't know how we can effectuate them, except through persuasion.
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Ambassador Holbrooke has withdrawn our only weapon, which was the money.
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. Mr. Chairman, I would say only that I don't think that we can reform the U.N. That is what I said in my opening sentence. We can't restore confidence in the U.N. We can't reform it. We can't alone make it work better.
We can only contribute to reforms that are important and with other countries we can try to work out arrangements that will lead to reforms that will improve the operation, but that is very hard to do, Mr. Chairman. It is incredibly hard to do, because a good many countries in the U.N. don't want, really, to participate in reforms.
I was very interested in our experience when we were kicked off the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 2001. We weren't kicked off, but we didn't get reelected. Let us put it that way. It amounted to being kicked off, since we couldn't participate.
I did quite a bit of analysis of that whole experience, because it could happen to us again. If we want to be on the Human Rights CommissionI actually was not sure after my first and only term on the Human Rights Commission that we even wanted to be on the Human Rights Commissionbut if the U.N. does not have a Human Rights Commission that is sufficiently transparent and honest and honorable, then that says something worse about the organization than I have been willing to conclude so far, but I have come to the edge of doing just that.
I have participated, by the wayGeorgetown University had a session on the report of the eminent persons and a number of former Permanent Representatives to the United Nations participated. It was off-the-record and not open to the public.
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It was interesting though. There was a lot of agreement among the former Permanent Representatives who were present about, for example, the Security Council and the fact that we must not permit, really, the significant weakening of the Security Council.
Certainly we don't want a significant weakening of our role in the Security Council, since it is the only place in the U.N. system that we have any significant influence and can control its effects on us moreover.
But I would say, Mr. Chairman, that beyond that, beyond preserving the Security Council, essentially in its current form, I would say, certainly preserving the U.S. veto, which is vitally important, I believe that we should insist that organizations, such as the Human Rights Commission, reform themselves and if they don't, I am not sure what I think we should do, but maybe we should simply not.
Maybe we should resign. I don't know. I don't think it makes much sense to participate in activities and sessions, which not only don't achieve their goals, but achieve something close to the opposite of their goals.
It gives a kind of serious patina to their activities and I don't think we should do it. I think this Committee should consider such alternatives as maybe the U.S. withdrawing from the Human Rights Commission, but we certainly shouldn't pay for anything that we don't participate in. That I feel sure about too.
Chairman HYDE. That is a very important statement. We shouldn't pay for anything we don't participate in.
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Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. I believe that.
Chairman HYDE. Extrapolating from that, how about us not paying for certain activities with which we don't agree?
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. I have thought about that. I have thought a lot about it, as a matter of fact, and I think that we should consider it, because it is one of the few tools we have in which to even express the extent of our distaste for a policy
I think that the Human Rights Commission actually has such a nauseating record, if you will, in which the bad guys get the power and so I think we must reform it or get out of it probably.
I don't mean the whole U.N. I am not advocating getting out of the whole U.N., but I am advocating getting out of some notoriously bad aspects of the U.N., like the Human Rights Commission. I don't know what Rich thinks about that.
Chairman HYDE. Ambassador Williamson, my own personal problems with the U.N. are not with the concept of a worldwide organization dedicated to avoiding war and spreading peace and amity, but the structural impossibility of accomplishing that, where you have France, you have Germany, you have Russia, you have China, all with strong national interests that are not necessarily compatible. In fact, are not compatible with the United States.
To expect a statement from them, much less a resolution, that parallels our own national interests, is asking for the impossible.
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Iraq's experience with 17 resolutions from the Security Council, if there ever was a demonstration of impotence, it was that and of course we were blamed for not sitting still for an 18th resolution.
I guess what I am saying is, I think the U.N. has many uses and as Jeane Kirkpatrick says, we should stay at it, but we ought not to overemphasize its possibilities.
I find in this building a lot of people have a love affair with the U.N. They view that as a super-government and something we should defer to. I just think structurally we expect too much from the U.N. and we ought not to do that. What is your comment?
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Mr. Chairman, I guess I make three observations. The first one is that I think some people lose sight of the decisionmaking process in the U.N. Those who look at its aspirations and the degree to which the Charter embraces some of the same values as our own Declaration of Independence and Constitution and see noble intent and hope for noble action.
Winston Churchill, I think, said that you shouldn't watch legislation being made. It is like watching sausage being made. Well, as Jeane Kirkpatrick and I know, the U.N. Security Council is a sausage factory. So the outcome is influenced in that way and it should be recognized. It may or may not, on many occasions, reflect those high aspirations, Mr. Chairman.
I began by discussing the U.S. position in the world. We have to recognize that we are disadvantaged in the U.N. versus our position in the real world. There are those countries that want to utilize the U.N. to constrain the United States' actions and that properly should concern us.
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So yes, Mr. Chairman, I would agree with my good friend, Ambassador Kirkpatrick, that there are failures in the U.N. That while we should stay actively engaged, especially in the many areas where it makes a contributionwhether it is the border commission between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the special court in Sierra Leone, the invaluable job it provided in Afghanistan for the election, et ceterawe should not be seduced by its aspirations to overlook its real shortcomings and weaknesses.
Since Congressman Rohrabacher wasn't here earlier, I will repeat, I think it is very important to have an investigation that holds to account an organization where you have sexual harassment by the head of a major agency and it takes two or three instances before action is taken, where you have the type of financial shenanigans that allegedly went on in the Oil-for-Food Program, where you have sexual assault by U.N. peacekeepers.
These things deserve to be looked at. It is this Committee's responsibility, not only as stewards of U.S. taxpayers, but as those who want to affirm those aspirations that have been tarnished by the failures of the U.N., to look into these matters.
Chairman HYDE. We have some Members who have returned. Mr. Smith.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Again, I want to thank our distinguished witnesses for their testimony and for their very valuable contributions to our country and the world. It is enormous.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just a couple of questions on U.N. peacekeeping, which was discussed earlier, which I think does have a checkered past and present. Some of the achievements, like in East Timor, are real and durable.
Unfortunately, who can forget the 1994 Rwandan massacre? When Kofi Annan was the head of peacekeeping 3 months before the April bloodletting began against the Tutsis, he got a famous fax from General Delaire, which clearly delineated from his informant that there was an impending omnicloud, suggesting that there was going to be an enormous slaughter. And that was ignored and regrettably 800,000 people were killed and the bloodletting.
I remember holding hearings at that time and soon thereafter. We never got good answers. We posed, I think, the right questions, but never got good answers.
The same thing happened a year later in Srebrenica, when the peacekeepers, again poor, I think, leadership at the top, 8,000 people in the safe havenan oxymoron if ever there was oneof Srebrenica were loaded onto buses and summarily killed.
We had, at that witness tableand I chaired that hearing or series of hearingsone of the men who served as the translator when Milotich was meeting with the peacekeepers' leaders and they were negotiating terms for what turned out to be a slaughter.
A few weeks ago I held a hearing on what was going on in the Congo, where there is supposedly a zero tolerance policy, but we have had zero compliance when it comes to the rape of 13- and 14- and 15-year-old girls and other kinds of cruel exploitations of women.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We hear that there will be some changes. We did hear from a very credible U.N. diplomat, Jane Holl Lute, who I think is trying her best within the system to reform it, but it starts at the very top and then it needs to be throughout the entire. And I would appreciate any thoughts you might have on how we can get a zero tolerance. Certainly a registry of past offenders, vetting, proper vetting and training should be part of any solution.
Let me also ask you about conferences. The U.N. is notorious for holding conferences, some of which no one pays attention to. Mentioned earlier by one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that disaster known as Durban, where the bashing of Israel was commonplace. It was anything but a tolerance conference. It was just the opposite. It was a hate mongering conference.
We also have conferences that have the potential of doing a lot of good, like the Conference on Beijing+10 just completed in New York.
Our country tried to get a reiteration of what is the truth on the ground and I was at the Beijing Women's Conference. I was at the Cairo Population Conference at both of those in the mid 1990s and there was no right to abortion at all established.
If anything, it was just the opposite. There was a repudiation of an attempt to try to impose that and yet NGOs ever since have been trying, through a norming process, as they call it, to hoodwink and deceive the world that there is somehow a right to abortion, when none exists, an international right to abortion.
Our country at least got a number of countries and they wanted it, too, in their explanations of position to make it clear that no new rights were created in Beijing and there was no right to abortion.
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I hope the NGOsbecause I am, as Chairman of this new Subcommittee, going to be following this up very closely. I don't like hypocrisy and I absolutely hate dishonesty and the U.N. sometimes puts out language that then is taken by some of these NGOs and falsely used to say to countriesand they are badgeredthat somehow they need to accept this right to abortion.
Finally, which does not exist, the issue of the Commission on Human Rights. Again, Mr. Ambassador, I was there and I saw the great job you did. I know Ambassador Kirkpatrick did a great job as well when she was there.
What can we do to keep the rogue nations off? Cuba has all of these political prisoners. We just had a hearing on Cuba in our Subcommittee and this ongoing mistreatment of 25, 26, 27 years. Dr. Oscar Bichet, a great human rights leader, one of the best and the brightest of Cuba, behind bars languishing, while the Cuban Foreign Minister is now claiming in the newspapers in a press account I saw today or yesterday that none of the Latin countries are going to join the United States in trying to sensor Cuba.
That is outrageous. They are a gulag state, where political prisoners are being mistreated each and everyday. What can we do to keep rogue nations off of that Commission?
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. Congressman Smith, I don't know, frankly. I have thought quite a lot about it and I have talked to other persons, interested parties who have some experience with the Human Rights Commission.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC No one that I have talked to has had what I would call creative ideas about how to keep them off and yet I think reallythis is what I concludethat maybe it is time to destroy an agency of the U.N. I think we either need to reform it or destroy it, frankly, because it is a terrible travesty to have a Human Rights Commission which is so clearly dominated by Cuba and by China and by Zimbabwe and by all of the other tyrannies, real heavy tyrannies, engaged just now in oppressing their own people.
That is why I said, if we cannot reform it, then I would, myself, be in favor of not participating, I think. That is the conclusion I have come to at this stage. I don't like coming to that conclusion, but I don't see any other alternative, frankly.
Chairman HYDE. With the permission of our witnesses, we will continue until 4:15 and then we will adjourn, if that is satisfactory, to avoid the rush hour.
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. Yes.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you for your candor and frankness and it is refreshing to hear a witness say ''I don't know'' to an answer. That is right. The Chairman just said you never hear a Member say that. We are great with opinions.
You said something, Ambassador Kirkpatrick, that I thought was particularly telling. We need people who really understand the system to come and educate us.
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Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. We do.
Mr. DELAHUNT. They know the problems with the system.
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. You do.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I said earlier that until the Subcommittee on which I serve started to focus on the U.N. and specifically the Oil-for-Food Program, to be perfectly candid, I did not know the mechanics and the structure of the U.N.
I think sometimes we tend to personalize the United Nations as the Secretary-General, whether it be Kofi Annan or whomever it may be and yet in my own education, I am discovering, as Ambassador Kirkpatrick said, that it is truly up to the member states and that the Secretariat, to a large degree, is nothing more than hired help.
They are the staff. And I guess the issue is: Are we prepared to strengthen the authority of the Secretariat? That is a real philosophical debate.
In terms of peacekeepers and I didn't hear Ambassador Williamson's commentsbut I think it was my friend from New Jersey who mentioned that while Kofi Annan was the head of peacekeeping operations, during his tenureand let me be clear, I have never met the Secretary and I don't know if I ever willbut I didn't realize that in terms of control, the Secretary-General has very limited remedies in terms of the conduct of peacekeeping.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is my understanding that the only discipline, unless additional discipline is conferred by member states, is to repatriate, to send back the individual or the command who indulges in inappropriate behavior.
Then recently the issues of the International Meteorological Organization was brought up. There was an embezzlement of some $3 million and again, we referenced the Secretary-General Kofi Annan as having responsibility and yet, I find, to my surprise, that he has very little to do with the IMO. They have an independent board of governors. An independent secretary, with absolutely no authority, conferred on the Secretary-General of the United Nations under the Oil-for-Food Program, we talk about the Secretariat and there were clearly problems with the program itself. And yet when the original sanctions were imposed, back in 1991and I wish Ambassador Holbrooke was here to again educate methere were these so-called trade protocols, government-to-government trade relationships between Syria, between Turkey, between Jordan, where illicit and a violation of the sanctions regime occurred to the tune of some $9 billion.
Yet, when it was brought to the attention of the Security Council, the Security Council's response was, ''We will take note of it.''
That was $9 billion that went into the coffers of the Saddam Hussein regime for whatever purpose he deemed fit and it certainly was not to benefit the Iraqi people. We know that.
I guess what I am looking for in terms of a comment is: Don't we really have to examine the structure and the components and the relationship between the U.N. or among the member states?
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Maybe we can't do anything. Maybe you are right, Ambassador. If we are unhappy and the Commission on Human Rights is a farce, then let us just either withdraw it, destroy it or whatever, if we can't change it, but I think we have got to speak about the reality of what the U.N. is about.
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much and good to see both of you. You are both old friends and I remember when we were trying to save the world from Communism, during the Reagan years, and I think we can be very proud that we were part of that team that I think ended the Cold War without the great cataclysmic battle that people thought would happen between Russia and the United States.
We have challenges of course here in our own time now and that is: What role will the United Nations play in that?
I am not so sure the United Nations played such a great role in ending the Cold War. I mean, I remember when we faced that challenge. I can't think of the great contributions it made during the Cold War to help bring that to an end. I think it was more Ronald Reagan than it was any gathering of the United Nations' officials.
The United Nations may be a dream and it is a dream to many and was a dream when it was created. Like I say, it was a flawed dream however and the flaw was is thatand you will have to please remind me, isn't about a third of the membership of the United Nations, aren't these countries less than free countries?
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Plus we have a veto in the hands of the world's largest human rights abuser, Communist China. A veto over this. I think that what we need to do is to make sure the U.N. is functioning to the point that it can, but we cannot be overly optimistic, irrationally optimistic about even if we do reform the U.N. what its capabilities will be, considering that we are including all of these nations.
I am sorry that Mr. Holbrooke left. There were some questions I had specifically for him. Maybe you can shine light on some of the issues brought up by Mr. Delahunt and that is, we did permit, when examining the Oil-for-Food scandal, our country did permitand I have to believe Mr. Holbrooke was part of this decision or at least knew about it, because it happened, or most of the time that this happened was during the Clinton Administrationwe permitted Turkey and Jordan to go around the sanctions and the oil embargo and that was a conscious decision during the Clinton Administration and from in the beginning of this Administration as well, to let that happen.
I don't find that to be comparable to the Oil-for-Food scandal, because that was a policy decision made honestly to achieve other policy goals as compared to the Oil-for-Food scandal, which is a total rip-off and people's self-enrichment by people in authority.
But it still deserves an answer and I was wondering if either one of you or both of you could shed light on why that decision was made, and if you know anything about the decision to permit Turkey and Jordan to go around those restrictions, and was that the right decision?
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Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. Congressman, if I may say just briefly, I understand that it was a decision that was made. It was made in the U.S. Government.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Right.
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. As well as in the U.N., some part of the U.N. system. It is true it was in other Administrations and I wasn't part of it and I don't know why they made that decision, frankly.
Do you, Rich?
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. No. Mr. Chairman, can I?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes. Go right ahead.
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. A couple quick observations, because I think a very important point has been brought up about the balance of responsibility between the member states and the Secretariat.
I do think that a lot of those who are critical of the U.N. fail to give enough responsibility to member states who fail to behave in a way consistent with the Charter they have agreed to uphold.
Let me go through a couple of those that have been raised. It is true in Rwanda, as the U.N.'s own internal investigation showed, that some of the peacekeeping mission messages from General Delaire to New York were not given as required to the Security Council. So they weren't told the full situation on the ground.
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I also would fault some member states personally for not wanting to confront that genocide. But it is also a fact that a U.N. investigation of itself came out with findings that the Director of Peacekeeping did not pass certain messages General Delaire sent to New York on to the Security Council, and that Director of Peacekeeping is, today, the Secretary-General of the U.N.
Two, I think when I was Assistant Secretary of State for international organizations I dealt with the whole U.N. family. It is a fact that there are specialized agencies with a high degree of autonomy, some more than others. But as we saw with the head of the refugees organization being fired for repeated sexual harassment, they are not immune from some management in New York.
Again, the member states should be more vigorous, but it was the Secretary-General who asked the gentleman to resign in this case.
On the Oil-for-Food Program, there are difficulties, unquestionably, in the conflicting policies
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Before you go on to this next point
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. You do have to differentiate between when the United Nations acts to eliminate this person who had that sexual abuse and the fact that they knew about it beforehand and didn't act until other people made it public.
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Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Right.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Even now, one of the things that we are talking about is the fact that there were audits that were done of Oil-for-Food that the United Nations' leadership was trying to keep within the body and not even let the members know about it.
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Right. Congressman Rohrabacher, as I went through that, it was going to be my second point, which I think is important.
There is no question a number of states made various policy decisions, which seem more-or-less wise in retrospect, but it was the Secretary-General who picked Mr. Sevan to run the program.
It was Mr. Sevan, one of the Secretary-General's closest associates, who established the bureaucracy that allowed what appears to be a pattern of sweetheart deals, kickbacks and other things that eroded the program.
I am sympathetic and supportive of the view that member states fail their responsibility, but it is not solely the member states. Furthermore, I think when we talk about member states, and I think this is something the Committee should reflect on, the United States is equal in all ways to the three member states who have a population smaller than can fit in the MCI Center. That is a structural issue.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Chairman HYDE. Mr. Royce.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Today's Financial Times contains an article, ''White House Quiet As Darfur Killing Goes On,'' and I recently returned from Darfur, Sudan. I saw the evidence, the genocide, talked to the victims and saw cities like Tinay, Sudan, which have been obliterated by the bombing.
What perplexes me is that as the United States, as this Administration makes a finding of genocide, as we did in Congress and tried to push the Security Council to action and as this is pointed out, still the story in the Financial Times is ''White House Quiet,'' not ''U.N. Takes a Pass at the Question of Genocide,'' which the U.N. was asked to do an assessment and, of course, with its Commission on Inquiry it neatly ducked the question.
The headline does not read, ''China Blocks Action at the Security Council in Order to Avoid Crimping Their Weapons Sales or Their Receipt of Oil,'' nor does it mention Russia's efforts to do so.
So to me it seems very easy to blame the United States, when the United States is the only actor that I see on the world's stage right now pushing for a resolution in Sudan.
I was going to ask Ambassador Kirkpatrick about this, this phenomenon, which I have had a hard time understanding. As we tried to rally some support to get the United Nations to speak out about Darfur, Sudan and to get at least the Commission on Inquiry to come out with a decision that indicates genocide so that the U.N. will act, and I have that question.
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Is this body so dysfunctional that even in the face of another genocide, 10 years after Rwanda, it cannot bring itself to call a genocide a genocide, because it might force some of the member states to face the truth?
Ambassador KIRKPATRICK. I think the answer may be yes, frankly. Let me just say, I hope that is wrong. Two years ago when I was chairing the Human Rights Commission delegation, United States delegation, I arrived in Geneva on the night that a report was being presented by the special rapporteur of the Human Rights Commission on Sudan. He had just about half finished his report when I arrived. It was very clear, very quickly to me, that France was opposing.
The issue was whether the special rapporteur should be appointed for another term. France was clearly opposing it. Germany seemed to be supporting it. The rapporteur was saying that he thought it was a matter of life and death, not that he be returned at all, but that another rapporteur even be appointed or be doubled moreover, because the situation was worse and having a rapporteur on the spot did seem to slow down the destruction and murder that was underway.
I found this nauseating, if I may say so, just revolting that not only the French were opposing the reappointment of the rapporteur, but that several other countries, who were associated with them and not taking as active a role as France was in opposing it, but still in all joining France in opposing it.
Now, we did, in fact, end by getting another rapporteur appointed that year, but it was difficult, very, very, very difficult.
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I have to say that any time I say I don't believe we should ever leave the U.N. and I don't believe we should diminish an institution in the U.N., that I don't really believe that. I led the U.S. decision, frankly, to withdraw from UNESCO, because I became so revolted by the level of corruption in UNESCO. This was whenI have forgotten his name now suddenlythe Governor General of UNESCO was a well-known major crook in Paris. He was a major crook in Paris. He had two top floors of the UNESCO building as his personal headquarters, his personal living quarters and he had six Mercedes. Embo. This was Mr. Embo.
He was incredible and he was running an operation that 15 months after the French policethe French police are quite good I might say, they are effective peopleand the French police had identified and raided a group, a band, if you will, of spies, Soviet spies, who were engaged in technology espionage, industrial espionage. They had arrested 1525 of these spies and they had said to Embo that they should all be deported. They should all be deported out of France and the French Government had actually given such an order, but 15 months later, they were still there.
That was just one of many, many kinds of examples of corruption, that and worse, that led me finally, personally, to the decision that I thought we ought to withdraw from UNESCO and I recommended it to President Reagan and President Reagan decided.
As a matter of fact, there were people who wanted to withdraw as soon as President Reagan was inaugurated. They wanted to withdraw from UNESCO, which already had a very bad reputation.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I did conclude, I said let us see if we can improve it. You know, let us see if we can have an impact. Give me a year. And I concluded that I couldn't have an impact. Nobody I was associated with could have an impact. And I concluded that I recommend to President Reagan that we should withdraw from UNESCO and President Reagan, there were a lot of people besides me who were involved in that, but the whole Reagan Cabinet virtually was involved in it and I certainly was involved in it.
But I think that was the right decision. Mrs. Thatcher decided to join us and the Danes also joined us in withdrawing from UNESCO.
I think that was a warranted decision and I also supported the U.S. decision to reenter UNESCO 2 years ago or 1 year ago and I think that there is today a very serious, competent Japanese Governor General, who is doing his very best to do a very good job in UNESCO, moving it back under, sort of, and pursuing some of the goals that UNESCO initially had.
I really think we have to stay flexible in some of these issues, but I don't know if we stay in forever just pouring good money after bad, but I think that we ought to be flexible. When we can achieve a goal, we ought to try to achieve it.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. McCotter.
Mr. MCCOTTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks to our witnesses for their service to our country.
We heard earlier about the New York Knickerbockers and how if they performed badly you can't blame the stadium. It kind of reminded me of the Peter Sellers movie, The Pink Panther, where a man is checking into a hotel and he looks at the innkeeper and he says, ''Does your dog bite?'' The man says, ''No.'' So the guest reaches down to pet the dog and the dog bites his hand. He looks back at the innkeeper and said, ''I thought you told me your dog didn't bite?'' He said, ''He doesn't, but that is not my dog.''
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In the end, it doesn't matter who is biting your hand, be it the sovereign states or the U.N. bureaucracy itself. Most American taxpayers believe that their hands are being bitten by the very people that our hands feed, and to hear talk about strengthening this organization strikes me as particularly odd.
It strikes me as odd because I don't know who tries to give more power to a broken lamp. At the U.N., they have to deal internally with their reform.
We do not control the world. We do not control the U.N., but we do control the purse strings of the American taxpayers, which I would think would be a great inducement for the people at the U.N. to reform themselves and then after a trial period, they can come back to us and tell us what they did.
I am very afraid to hear about people saying that we should strengthen a dysfunctional organization, because as a parent, my view is that when you reward bad behavior, you get more bad behavior. If you reward corruption by strengthening it, you will therefore reinforce corruption. There will be no impetus to reform. At present, many people believe that the attempts of the U.N. are simply cosmetic endeavors to try to get them past this, to ride out the storm of the Oil-for-Food scandal. I would hate to see us buy into that.
I think we need to take concrete action to force them to reform internally. We should not even talk of strengthening an organization that appears not to be able to control itself or manage itself, let alone police itself.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think we should wait and see what they do. It is akin to a drunken sailor. You can't make the drunken sailor better, but you don't give him any money. You let him hit rock bottom and see if he cleans himself up.
Well right now I have seen no evidence that they are prepared to do that, and as I said in this Committee before, I came from Wayne County, Michigan and I know machine politics when I see it.
Everything the U.N. is doing now, as I said in my earlier remarks, reminds me of a global Tammany Hall. You get your brutal, your honest graft and if you get caught, you defend, defend, defend, defend, obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate and then hope that the press loses interest and the public loses interest and you go right back to your honest graft.
I think the U.N. needs to show us more. I do agree with what our Ambassadors have said, that the U.N. has the highest lofty purposes in the world, but until they put their morality where their mouth is, it is very difficult to have the American taxpayers put any more money where their mouth is, especially when their mouth is generally aimed at the United States.
Further, I do agree with what I think one of our colleagues referenced, is that I worry about the encroaching upon the United States sovereignty by this international organization.
I reference particularly Mr. Annan's behavior during the United States' elections, in which he injected himselfand I don't know if he is an international lawyer or notto declaim that the United States' invasion of Iraq was illegal, yet I don't see him citing any precedence.
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I viewed that as an act, as a sovereign citizen of the United States, I viewed that as an encroachment upon my sovereignty and those of my fellow citizens.
I would like to see reforms aimed at curbing that sort of behavior, which is why, finally, I would just like to point out that I am very concerned, too, with the attitude that we should strengthen the United Nations to the point where we will only be protected by a sole Security Council vote, because if we do that, as was suggested, you will have one sole Security Council vote standing between the United States sovereignty and U.N. supremacy.
I do not support that proposition. The U.N. must start living up to the goals it professes for us and for itself before we continue to pour more money in it.
I was just wondering in the time left if you could tell me what specific reforms can happen internally and whether or not the United States purse strings can help spur those reforms?
Chairman HYDE. The Chair would like to intervene and suggest we are long past the time we were pledged to adjourn. I would ask our two remaining witnesses, who have done a marvelous job and made a great contribution to this important issueand this is the beginning of the beginning on thisif we might write you questions that we didn't get a chance to ask and you might consider answering them for us.
Would that be possible? The Chair notes an affirmative nod of the head by both witnesses.
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I apologize to the Members who did not get a chance to ask questions, but
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Chairman?
Chairman HYDE [continuing]. There is going to be a vote imminently.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. But you don't know how scintillating, how intellectually stimulating our questions would have been.
Chairman HYDE. I have an idea and you can only stand so much emotion.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I just want to especially thank, Mr. Chairman, Ambassador Kirkpatrick for the wonderful work that she did during her stint as our U.S. Ambassador, as well as Ambassador Williamson, but for her remarkable work on Cuba policy and furthering the cause of democracy and freedom to that enslaved nation. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you. Of course Rich Williamson similarly deserves accolades.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you both very much.
The Committee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:35 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]