A review of Inside the Asylum. By Jed Babbin.

Regnery, 2004.

Like many ideas, the desire to set up a structure such as the UN was probably well-motivated and a legitimate concept at the time. But a strong argument can be made that the UN no longer serves its original purpose, and may in fact be acting against its founding ideals.

That is certainly the case being made by Jed Babbin, a leading American national security analyst. He argues that the UN has become a moribund, corrupt, biased and bloated bureaucracy which does little to promote the good of the world, but much to support tyrants, dictators and leftwing causes, as well as its own longevity.

Image of Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse Than You Think
Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse Than You Think by Babbin, Jed (Author) Amazon logo

When the UN was formed in 1945, it had some laudable aims. But also built into the original UN charter were some glaring defects, argues Babbin. The first error was to apply the doctrine of the equality of all men to nations. But not all nations are equal. Dictatorships, terrorist states, and Communist states are simply not on a par with free, democratic states.

Another problem is that “any nation, pseudo-nation, or thugocracy such as Iran under the mullahs” can be a member of the UN. This makes the whole exercise of peacekeeping and the promotion of human rights become counterproductive.

And the lack of accountability and a system of checks and balances makes the UN answerable to no one. Thus the opportunities for mismanagement and corruption are many.

Indeed, the Oil-for-Food scandal is a classic case in point. This debacle has yet to fully see the light of day, but we do know that the UN was implicitly involved in this. Indeed, UN officials provided Saddam Hussein with the means to “bribe politicians, to deprive his people of needed food and medicine, and to literally steal billions of dollars”.

Not only was this the biggest financial scandal of the UN, much of the money siphoned off ended up lining the pockets of UN bureaucrats, along with various politicians.

The UN has been especially impotent to deal with terrorism. But worse than that, it has tended to side with the terrorists and tyrants over-against the US and much of the West. The democratic members of the UN seek to abide by its resolutions, but rogue states regularly flaunt them. By routinely cooperating with terrorists, the UN is not making the world a safer and more peaceful place, says Babbin.

He argues that reform of the UN is probably impossible, and the wisest course for the US may be to simply pull out altogether. Indeed, given that it directly and indirectly pumps around $7 billion a year into the UN (being its largest benefactor), and gets nothing but grief and hostility in return, that may not be a bad option.

Babbin says a coalition of like minded states could seek to do what the UN was meant to do, but has been unable or unwilling to do. Such a proposal may or may not be workable. But to stay in a system that has proven to be a failure is certainly not the way to proceed.

Other books have been recently written making a similar case to Babbin’s. But if just one volume is to be consulted, this would be a good starting place indeed.

[550 words]

3 Replies to “A review of Inside the Asylum. By Jed Babbin.”

  1. In addition to Babbin’s observations re the UN’s foundational defects, Christians should be concerned that unlike most Western democracies who at least constitutionally recognise that their authority is only a delegated authority under God, the UN charter has no such clause and as such is to be considered a humanistic model having man as the ultimate authority.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  2. ‘Institutions endure’, as Frank Herbert wrote. The UN has, in many ways, undercut its charter, and needs a frank renewal and reworking (as does the Catholic Church, and just about every other institution).

    That said, what is the alternative? ‘Bella omne contra omneum’? Or perhaps the ‘Coalition of the Willing’? Just as George W Bush has failed as a president, and America has failed in its stated objective in Iraq, so any feasible alternative to the UN is bound for failure.

    Keep in mind this is a global community; if the UN has meaning, it is on the basis that all participants have something to share; after all, even Joseph Stalin contributed (in fact was the leader of the nation that carried the heaviest load) in disposing of Hitler.

    Fergus Hancock

  3. Thanks Fergus
    I have not claimed that alternatives to the UN would be a panacea. But neither is the UN a panacea.
    And I am afraid I do not share your enthusiasm for Stalin.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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