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News ::
13 Oct 2003

By Fred Goldstein
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Oct. 16, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper


By Fred Goldstein

As the Bush administration's quest for empire has collapsed into a
struggle to extricate itself from a quagmire, Washington has been forced to resort to asking for aid. The White House and the Pentagon never contemplated facing significant guerrilla resistance and widespread hatred and resentment of a prolonged military occupation. It expected its campaign of "shock and awe" to deliver a passively compliant population.

"Be careful about how you treat people on the way up, because you will
meet them on the way down" now applies directly to Washington's
predicament. Having contemptuously dubbed France and Germany the "old
Europe," and having insinuated that the United Nations was "irrelevant," Bush has now been trying to seek their assistance.

This has created a debate over the role of the UN and whether it would
be progressive for it to assume a major role in Iraq. The confusion
comes partly from the refusal of the Security Council to sanction the
war back in March. This led to the false idea that France, Germany and
Russia are somehow anti-war and therefore UN inter ven tion can be
beneficial to the Iraqi people.

Simple reflection on all the death, suffering and destruction caused by the UN-sponsored Gulf War of 1991 and the 12 years of sanctions approved by the Security Council, as well as the completely permissive attitude of the Security Council towards the persistent bombings in the "no fly" zones, should be enough to end the debate over a possible UN role in Iraq.

But from the broader perspective, the UN has cultivated an image of
peace-loving humanitarianism and neutralism that has been used for years as a cover for the most one-sided imperialist interventions.


The United Nations was conceived during World War II and negotiated by
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, head of the new, rising U.S.
empire, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, head of the declining
British empire. They were compelled to bring the Soviet Union into the
negotiations. Not only had it survived the onslaught of Hitler, but the Red Army supplemented by Soviet guerrillas ultimately defeated the Nazis and chased their decimated forces back to Berlin. The French
imperialists were included in the negotiations once the Nazis were
defeated. The Chinese puppet regime of Chiang Kai-shek was also brought into the inner circle.

The UN was part of the effort to regiment the world by U.S. imperialism and its dependent junior partner in London. It was placed in New York City, a limousine ride away from Wall Street and a quick plane ride from Washington. Symbol-ically, John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated $8.5 million to buy the land for it.

Its first 50 members were mostly the victorious European powers,
dependencies of the British Commonwealth, and the U.S. and 20 of its
Latin American client states. The socialist camp had four members. There was no representation whatsoever of the anti-colonial struggle.

It was founded officially in October 1945, two months after President
Harry Truman had ordered the two atomic bombs to be dropped on Japan.
The founding of the UN was coupled with the setting up of the U.S.-
dominated International Monetary Fund and the World Development Bank.
Thus, the U.S. government entered the world stage as a nuclear and
economic super-power. Washington's aim was to use the UN organization to pressure the Soviet Union and regiment the world.


Virtually every significant military, political and economic
intervention carried out by the UN has been in the service of
imperialism. Its first major act was the partition of Palestine and the creation of the Zionist state of Israel. In fact, the first subcommittee created by the UN was the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP).

The question of Palestine was pushed into the UN in 1947 by the British, at the urging of Washington. British imperialism was retreating from its promise to set up a Zionist state because it had been weakened by World War II and was in no condition to deal with the rebellions in its own colonies. UNSCOP, which had not one Arab or African member, recommended that the British Mandate in Palestine be divided to give 55 percent of the land to a Zionist state. This was later approved by the U.S.-dominated General Assembly.

The Soviet government, unfortunately and tragically, did not block this act. It violated international solidarity and recognized Israel.

The Zionists, with U.S. financial and political support, continued their struggle on the ground to take far more than 55 percent of the land, ultimately creating 750,000 Palestinian refugees. Thus, while the oppressed peoples of the world were opening their struggle against
colonialism, the UN was being used as a cover by Washington to establish a beachhead in the oil-rich Middle East.

Shortly thereafter the UN was used as a political umbrella for the U.S.-led mobilization of world capitalism to roll back the socialist
revolution on the Korean peninsula. After World War II, the progressive and socialist forces in the south, organized in the Committees for Preparation of National Independence, were preparing for the unification of the country under a regime of national liberation. Fearing a united socialist Korea, Washington tried to permanently divide the country by setting up a puppet government in the south and holding rigged elections, after having suppressed the people's committees.

Following the Palestine example, the U.S. put the matter into the UN in 1947 and created the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea
(UNTCOK). This body promptly recognized the puppet regime in Seoul as
the only lawful government in Korea, completely rejecting the socialist government in Pyongyang. Orchestrated by U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Syngman Rhee regime carried out years of provocation against the north. Finally, war broke out in June 1950. President Truman quickly ran to get a UN mandate for a devastating invasion and war to destroy the socialist government. Five million Koreans were killed and not one building above two stories was left standing in the north.

As the anti-colonial movement was sweeping Africa, Belgium was pressured into granting the Congo its political independence on June 30, 1960. As the nationalist leader Patrice Lumumba took over as prime minister, the Belgian colonialists stimulated a mutiny in the army, promoted the detachment of mineral-rich Katanga province and in July sent in troops. Their goal was to further destabilize the new regime and retake the country on the grounds that the Congolese were "not ready" to rule themselves.

The issue was pushed into the Security Council. Lumumba at first thought he could get help from the UN. But while the UN dispatched a military force to the Congo, it refused to stop the Belgian invaders. Lumumba appealed to the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc for aid.

The UN mission in the Congo was supposedly neutral, but was directed
first by Ralph Bunche and then by Andrew Cordier, both former State
Department officials. When the Soviets and other socialist-bloc
countries prepared to send aid, the UN forces blocked the ports and
airfields to their ships and planes. Lumumba was unable to move his
troops to stop the dismembering of the Congo. He was eventually
assassinated. And when the smoke cleared, General Mobutu and pro-
imperialist forces had gained control of the country.

The only country in history that ever left the UN was Indonesia. On Jan. 1, 1965, the nationalist leader President Sukarno pulled out of the UN after it gave membership to the neocolonial regime of Malay sia, which was sponsored by British imperialism. Threatened with the loss of U.S. aid, Sukarno issued his famous rejoinder: "The U.S. can go to hell with its aid!"

With the Vietnam War raging, anti-U.S. hatred in Asia was heating up.
When Sukarno implied that there should be an anti-imperialist united
nations, Washing ton took it very seriously because it signaled the
possibility of another massive upheaval in the region. The People's
Republic of China was already in a revolutionary phase and the
Vietnamese were fighting to complete their liberation.

The prospect of an anti-imperialist break with the United Nations
intensified preparations by the CIA for the overthrow of Sukarno and the destruction of the Indonesian Communist Party, the largest communist party outside of the socialist countries. By November of that year the CIA and the right wing of the military, led by General Suharto, had struck and begun a massacre that would take the lives of a million people.

Sources for this article include "Our Roots Are Still Alive"
(Palestine), "The Cold War and Its Origins, 1917-1960" and "The End of
the American Era" (Korea); "The Soviet Union and Black Africa" (Congo); "Dilemmas of Third World Communism" and "Indonesia: Second Greatest Crime of the Century" (Indonesia).

[Next: The General Assembly, the Security Council and the anti-colonial movements. ]

- END -

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