There is no question the ideals of the United Nations are noble - the promotion of peace, respect for human rights, gender equality, tolerance, economic and social development and adherence to international law.
Additionally, the concept of the United Nations is too valuable to humanity to forgo. But like all things human, the devil is in the details.
If we believe the adage that the best predictor of the future is past performance, the United Nations offers little hope because its legacy is one of corruption, complacency and collusion.
The United Nations has proven itself to be a dysfunctional bureaucracy in which incompetence and self-aggrandizing agendas are hard-wired into its DNA. When we consider the number of conflicting and self-serving agendas, it's prudent to ask if it's even possible for the United Nations to meet the goals outlined in its charter.
At worst, the clubhouse atmosphere that has existed in that body for years has allowed dictators to murder their people and allow their genocidal armies to exterminate innocents with impunity. At best, it's a political organization that seeks benefit at the expense of others.
Consider the following: Each of the 193 nations in the General Assembly has one vote, including the United States. However, more than half of those nations have populations of less than 5 million.
Forty-five of have populations less than the city of Dallas, Texas; 12 have less than Pompano Beach, Fla.; and seven have fewer citizens than live in the Vail Valley. But the most disturbing statistic of all is that almost a third of the nations in the General Assembly do not recognize Israel.
Freedom House, a bi-partisan organization founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt, rates nations based on their degree of democracy. It reports that 57 percent of the world's population lives in countries that are "not free" and considers only 87 of the 193 nations in the General Assembly "free."
Raising the questions, who do the other 106 nations actually represent and what's their real agenda?
Let's look at the United Nations' position on climate change. The planet's climate is changing, but the Earth has been alternately warming and cooling for 4.5 billion years, making the real question whether it's caused by man.
So when "3,000 U.N. scientists" support the notion that man is the cause of global warming, it might be prudent to ask who these scientists are, what nations do they come from, whom do they represent, and what's really in it for them?
Do they represent their citizens or the dictators who stand to profit? Unfortunately, the corruption that pervades the United Nations makes many of the poorer nations very susceptible to carbon bribery.
Another example of "what's the real agenda?" is The Law of the Sea Treaty, which entered into force in 1994 and has been signed and ratified by 162 countries (the U.S. Senate hasn't voted to ratify or not ratify yet.)
The biggest concern Americans should have with this treaty is that it transfers sovereignty over the world's oceans and seas to the United Nations.
The treaty obliges signatories to get U.N. permission for offshore drilling and to share their royalties and technology with Third World countries. Sharing technology is one thing, but a U.S. company paying Cameroon for the right to drill in the Gulf of Mexico is little more than back-door wealth transfer.
It only makes sense that land-locked nations such as Turkmenistan and Equatorial Guinea support this treaty for the simple reason that they stand to benefit at the expense of most prosperous nations, like the United States.
Moreover, Transparency International rates the degree of integrity in each of the world's nations. In its latest report, only 50 of the 182 nations it studied rated as "honest" - that's less than 30 percent. Once again, why would anyone put his or her trust in an organization in which less than third of its members are considered honest?
Perhaps the United Nations should be reorganized with criteria for gaining entrance. A new United Nations should consist of nations with a shared understanding of the world order.
And maybe it's time to re-evaluate the composition of the permanent members of the Security Council. I mean, does France really have the economic and political clout of Germany, Japan or India, nations that are not permanent members of the Security Council?
Membership in this new organization should require a set of core principles and values that include actionable deterrents in the fight against terror in all its forms, including what's going on in Syria right now.
The Charter of the Organization of American States might be an excellent model inasmuch that it stipulates membership be restricted to countries on the basis of the exercise of representative democracy. The Organization of American States has taken its charter far seriously than the United Nations, as evinced by the fact that Castro's Cuba was suspended from voting and participating in Organization of American States activities for more than 40 years.
The United Nation is a grand notion, but until it redefines itself, genocide, pervasive censorship, human rights violations and wealth redistribution policies will continue unabated.
Quote of the day: "Never promise more than you can perform." - Publilius Syrus
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.