“When it suits the US, it uses the UN to seek legitimacy for its actions, to build coalition and impose sanctions on 'rogue states'. When world opinion goes against the US, it treats the UN with utter contempt. [...] Throughout the history of the UN, America has consistently vetoed any resolution or declaration that did not reflect US priorities or business interests. 'With note-worthy regularity', writes William Blum in Rogue State (2001), 'Washington has found itself - often alone, sometimes joined by one or two other countries - standing in opposition to the General Assembly resolutions aimed at furthering human rights, peace, nuclear disarmament, economic justice, the struggle against South African apartheid and Israeli lawlessness and other progressive causes'. Blum lists some 150 instances between 1984 and 1987 when the US cast a solitary 'no' vote against General Assembly resolutions.
This despite the fact that the US did not pay its UN dues for decades. When it finally agreed to pay past dues in return for a reduction in its assessments, it refused to fulfil the promise. The resentment against the US at typical UN meetings is so intense that it can be felt in the air. It was this resentment that led the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to oust the US from the 53-member Human Rights Commission (HRC) in May 2001. [...] It was the vote of a number of European and 'friendly nations' that eventually ousted America. The US suffered a similar defeat in 1998 when it was ejected from, but later reinstated to, the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), a key committee that deals with funding in the whole body.”
“In 1993 [...] only eighteen countries (accounting for 16 percent of the budget of the UN) paid in full by the January 31 deadline. And by 31 October 1994, governments owed the UN a total of $2,100,000,000. [...] The United States owed the most ($687,000,000), followed by Russia ($597,000,000).”
This report continues on p300 to document how the UN does not want any single country to contribute large percentages of its income. The 1985 Palme initiative was presented to cap the maximum contribution by any member state, in particular this would have curbed the amount that the USA can contribute, especially in light on its failure to actually pay. "We believe that this was an eminently sound suggestion. The high US share, though justified by that country's wealth, has been exploited by elements hostile to the U.N."
But this proposal was opposed the USA itself! It was rejected by "the Reagan administration, anxious to maintain the leverage that its level of contribution seemed to buy". In short, the USA wanted to keep its high formal contribution levels in order to buy maximum influence (bribe the UN), and yet didn't want to actually pay any of the money it owed, either! This type of abuse leads, and Sardar & Davies pointed out examples, to contempt of the USA and the dropping of the USA from major bodies of the UN.
Abuse of the Security Council Veto
Although historically required, the Security Council veto system, often abused by unilateral interests, has broken the functioning of the Security Council and the entire wing has shrunk in importance. In particular, the USA vetoes anything which condemns Israel's illegal and aggressive activities. The USA attracts a lot of hatred, worldwide, for its wholesale support of the Israel, and as pointed out on uncountable occasions has singularly voted against any pact that would inhibit Israel, despite the many occasions when such condemnation has been otherwise completely unanimous.
“And in the notorious case of the mining of Nicaraguan Waters, the United States categorically refused to abide by the ruling of the International Court of Justice - not the best of credentials for a nation destined to lead the world into conditions of justice and peace!”
Other international treaties, especially in military ones such as:
The USA is clearly hypocritical, especially as it itself pledged full support of the Landmine Treaty! It is as if the USA wanted to pretend to support such things, so that more conscientious countries would comply, and then back out, leaving the USA in a slightly better military position. Such appalling dishonesty and immorality is not below the military interests of the Reagan or Bush administration in America.
The United States was rejected from the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 2001. This is a serious warning sign even taking into the account that many countries would have voted the USA out for petit reasons, it is telling that they expressed surprise that even amongst its allies and friends in Europe, it received very few votes.
In the 1970s the USA was a world leader on serious long-term environmental issues, and its scientists rang many of the first alarm bells regarding side-effects of industrial chemicals. The USA joined many groups in protecting endangered species, oceans and fisheries. Much of this continued into the 1980s. But, this didn't last. The USA drew worldwide criticism for failing to adopt the greatest international agreement for the reduction of some greenhouse gases, the Kyoto Protocol, which was accepted by nearly every other country. This is despite the fact that the USA is by a very wide margin the world's biggest polluter over time, and very disproportionately so for its population; in 2000, it had 4% of the world's population but produced 25% of the worlds' pollution6. Starting with President Bush, it has been Republican Party policy not to combat climate change and to deny the scale of the problem.
Despite the failure of USA politics, its scientific institutions have been effective in pursuing sustainable goals, led by high quality and serious university-led research, managing to co-operate at state and local levels to improve the USA's impact on the world.
For more, see:
The following extracts are from an article in British Army Review:
“[America] "has promoted the setting up, under United Nations auspices, of international criminal tribunals to deal with atrocities in Yugoslavia (1992), Rwanda (1994), Sierra Leone (2000) and Cambodia (2004). During the whole of this period work went on towards creating a permanent international criminal court with a full-time panel of judges. In July 1998 the Rome Statute of the ICC was adopted by an overwhelming vote of the participants, and it entered into force on 1st July 2002 after sixty states had ratified. More than half the states in the world have now joined. The crimes involved are genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes [...] But the Court can act only if national procedures have failed. And the ICC Prosecutor has no power of his own to investigate or arrest. [...].
America, in the dubious company of China and Israel (and supposedly Libya, Iraq and Yemen), voted against the Charter, preferring a more anaemic version that could be controlled politically. President Clinton signed the statute establishing the Court, but the Bush administration, since it came into office in 2001 has run what Sands calls an 'aggressive, mendacious and ill-informed campaign to undermine the ICC'. In May 2002 the Administration announced that it would 'unsign' the Rome Statute and set out ruthlessly to extinguish all possibility that any American could ever be tried by the Court. Three months later Congress passed an Act enabling the President to use 'all necessary means' to release any American national detained by the ICC. Not surprisingly this has become known as 'The Hague Invasion Act'. It forbids the use of American troops in UN peacekeeping unless guaranteed complete immunity from persecution before the ICC. It forbids the US to provide military assistance for any country that is party to the ICC (an exception being made for NATO members, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Taiwan). [...]
The United States has induced more than 75 countries to enter into bi-lateral agreements [...] not to surrender any American national to the ICC under any circumstances unless the Americans agree. Some 45 countries have refused to sign these agreements [...]. The European Union, to its credit, has come out very strongly against these agreements. [...]
In 2002 Colin Powell, then US Secretary of State, claimed that the US is a 'leader of the world with respect to bringing people to justice. We have the highest standards of accountability of any nation on the face of the earth'. How can the US reconcile this claim with its actions against the ICC? [An American concern is] that the Court could proceed against American citizens who commit crimes on the territory of a state party e.g. in Afghanistan. [...]
Britain has been and remains one of the strongest supporters of the ICC. But it has shown no sign of trying to restrain the misguided antagonism of the Americans. In March 2004 Britain signed a new extradition treaty with the US, undertaking that no person extradited from the US to the UK would ever be surrendered to the ICC. [...]
USA then tried to extend this immunity from the ICC to all UN peacekeepers, but no-one supported the move apart from Britain, and under intense criticism the US stood down. Also, "In April 2005 the Security Council voted to send any war crimes suspects from Darfur to the ICC (unless of course they were American). America, after a long blocking action, finally abstained along with Algeria, Brazil and China.”
General Sir Hugh Beach GBE KCB MC MA (2005)7
The USA has broken the UN Security Council, leading to its decreased importance and effectiveness. Repeatedly, it's done this to protect Israel, vetoing even the smallest and most reasonable measures against Israel's illegal and brutal occupations of the West Bank and Gaza. For decades, the USA abused the UN more than any other country, constantly trying to bribe and buy influence, yet is notorious for owing most to the UN, despite the USA's heavy use of it. This intolerable attitude towards world consensus causes hatred of the USA at the highest levels in all countries in the world, except in Israel. One country took note, and learnt well from this behaviour: In the past two decades, it has been Russia that copied this technique, continually vetoing even simple condemnations of atrocities, if they happen to mention Russia itself or its allies.
The USA often plays poorly on the international stage for reasons of short-term self-interest; from the Landmine Treaty, the 1972 treaty banning biological of germ warfare and Kyoto. Each of these damaged global development and destroyed long-term collaborations between developed countries that had taken a lot of effort to achieve. The USA & Israel's simultaneous rejection of the World Conference Against Racism, and USA's failure to ratify three of the six core Human Rights treaties, are often cited as reasons why people in the developed world hate whatever it is that the USA government is up to. This politics-first immorality engenders genuine hated across the world, and is seen as one of the worst aspects of American commercialism. World opinion was reflected well when the USA was voted out of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 2001.
Commerce, oil, money and power are the only values that are apparent in Washington's lead. Over the years the world has learned to hate all American intervention because it is known full well that at the bottom of every American foreign policy these four corrupting principles are immovably roosted. Even in matters of foreign aid, the USA is abusive and two-faced. The poor USA citizens do not know the extent of the damage that their countries commercialism-at-all-costs is costing the world. World peace, world economy, third world countries, the environment and international co-operation are all victims of the USA's blatant greed.