The U.N. Under Scrutiny


The U.N. Under Scrutiny

June 1, 1982 42 min read Download Report
Edwin J. Feulner
Edwin J. Feulner is the founder and president of The Heritage Foundation.
(Archived document, may contain errors) The U.N. Under Scrutiny Midge Decter Edwin J. Feulner, Jr. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Burton Yale Pines Leonard J. Theberge

ISSN #0272-1155 @ 1982 The Heritage Foundation

Table of Contents

Introduction ............................................ v The U.N. and the Free E nterprise System ................... I by Burton Yale Pines The U.N. and Press Freedom ............................. 9 by Leonard J. Theberge The U.N. and U.S. National Interests ...................... 19 by Midge Decter The U.N. and the U.S . ........... ....................... 22 Ambassador jeane J. Kirkpatrick The Search for a Lasting Peace ............................ 28 by Edwin J. Feulner, Jr. Are We Serious About Disarmament? ........................ 32 by Burton Yale Pines


By any stan dard, the United Nations is an imposing organiza- tion. Its 46,000-person staff and scores of agencies oversee hun- dreds of projects throughout the world. The United States supports these efforts enthusiastically and most generously-in 1980 contrib- utin g $866 million of the organization's $2.4 billion budget. Is this generosity warranted? The General Assembly chamber resounds with attacks on the free enterprise system-the very sys- tem that enables the United States to be so lavish in its support. The We s t and the private sector are vilified at every turn as Third World nations tout the bankrupt nostrums of the so-called New International Economic Order. It is no wonder, therefore, that sober and responsible critics are questioning the role of the U.S. in the U.N. To address this, The Heritage Foundation United Nations Assessment Project assem- bled in New York City a panel of experts for a half-day conference on June 7, 1982. Their remarks, reprinted here, mirror Ameri- cans' deep and growing concern over the perils and problems fac- ing the U.S. at the U.N. Reprinted also are the formal presentations to the U.N.'s Sec- ond Special Session on Disarmament by Heritage Foundation President, Dr. Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., a member of the United States delegation, and Heritage Vice President Burton Yale Pines.


The U.N. and The Free Enterprise System


By any standard, the United Nations is an imposing organiza- tion-a 1982 budget of $2.4 billion, headquarters in at least a half-dozen cities, a payroll of $46,000 and scores of agencies over- seeing hundreds of projects. The U.S., this year, will contribute about $850 million to the U.N. budget-a hefty sum even if we weren't struggling to trim federal spending. Over the years, the U.S. consisten t ly has been the most generous and one of the most enthusiastic U.N. boosters. Has such enthusiasm and generosity been warranted? The closer I look at the U.N., the more I wonder. Indeed, in rec@nt months, I've been taking a very close look as the Heritage staff studies and probes U.N. As such, I have learned, for example, ***that the Center on TransNational Corporations has a sub- sidiary created, among other things, to encourage developing countries to battle and restrict multi-national corporations; ***t h at the U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has taken action which could restrict severely the health programs in developing countries that now are carried on by pri- vate pharmaceutical companies-even though study after study shows and offici a ls in developing countries privately admit that the only functioning health care systems in their countries are those designed and maintained by the private firms; ***that the U.N. is developing for firms with international operations a Code of Conduct wh i ch would be binding and en- forceable under law and which would erase many of the long- established principles and procedures of international law that have fostered trans-national economic development. These cases are not unique, not an aberration. They a re, alarm- ingly, just a few examples of similar and increasing behavior at the U.N., in the General Assembly, at its committees, in its agen- cies. What has been happening, in fact, is that the U.N.-a body conceived and created to work for world peace-se ems to be de- claring an all-out war, a war on the free enterprise system.
Burton Yale Pines is Vice President of The Heritage Foundation and a former associate editor of Tirne magazine.

2 The U.N. Under Scrutiny

In almost every U.N. body, and almost always in the General Assembly, seldom is an opportunity lost to attack the free enter- prise system. These assaults come on many fronts: SSAs attacks directly on the Western industrial democracies, the main capitalis t nations-as last September (1981) when 93 Third World nations endorsed a document accusing the U.S. of being the only threat to world peace;, S\u223\'a7 As attacks on individual industries through increasing regu- latory efforts going under such names as Codes of C onduct, Re- strictive Practices Codes and others; SSAs attacks on the most successful of the capitalist enterprises, the corporation which has grown beyond the boundaries of the country in which it was founded and in which it is headquartered. These firms are often called multinational corporations or trans- national corporations-MNCs and TNCs. They are denounced for "flying no flag but profit" and-for causing the "decay and de- skilling of industrial economies." The pharmaceuticals are attacked, for examp l e, for being "harmful to public health and welfare" and for marketing both the "cause and cure" of illness. The international firms are blamed for causing inflation, unem- ployment, poverty and political repression in Third World coun- tries. So persisten tly vilified are the large international enterprises that the very terms MNC and TNC themselves have become tainted, burdened with opprobrium and used not unlike cuss words; \u223\'a7\u223\'a7 And there are the attacks on the very essence and philosophi- cal base of the fre e enterprise system. It is an attack which argues -almost always without supporting evidence-against the notion that the dynamo of growth and economic expansion is individual initiative, creativity and the incentive provided by profit- maximization. This k ind of attack, amazingly, typically even re- pudiates the notion of economic growth and, in its place, raises to the level of gospel a number of naive and economically suicidal precepts. For example, their argument advocates the redistribution of wealth r a ther than the creation of wealth; it endorses the omni- science of government planners rather than the efficiency of the impersonal marketplace; it champions the idea that all have an equal claim to the fruits of man's output rather than having re- wards distributed according to merit; and it rests on the naive faith that wealth-goods, crops, minerals, technology- simply exists in nature rather than being produced through creativity, risk capital and hard work.

Burton Yale Pines 3

The U.N.'s attacks on the free enterprise system are occuring with increasing frequency. I cite seven examples: 1) It happens at the World Health Organization, which at one time was concerned almost entirely with encouraging medical re- search and planning and executing healt h programs. In recent years, however, WHO has moved dramatically into the field of regulation and has become politicized on the all -too- familiar lines of the developed North versus undeveloped South or Third World. Thus WHO now advocates the creation of a Third World purchasers "cartel" to deal with the pharmaceutical manufac- turers. 2) There are efforts underway to regulate the international flow of data. If the Third World has its way, restriction will be placed on a company's access to information sto r ed in its subsidi- ary or its headquarters if they are in different nations. And there will be taxes imposed on the movement of data into and out @of countries. 3) The International Telecommunications Union, for decades an agency concerned only with the t e chnical problems of trans- mitting communications between nations, is becoming increasingly politicized. Within the ITU, the Third World majority is now de- manding that underdeveloped countries be granted a very large share of the world's radio frequenci e s, no matter that they do not now have and may never have the technological ability to use them. This Third World majority is also insisting that rents be paid for the geo-stationary orbital slots in which satellites are parked. Rents paid to whom? And se t by whom? Why not charge rents for ships using ocean lanes? Or for planes using air lanes? 4) The U.N. has inspired something called an "Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celes- tial Bodies." It establishes a U.N.-affiliat e d regime to govern exploration and extraction activities in outer space and endorses guidelines favoring state-owned agencies at the expense of private enterprise. 5) The U.N. has created the Center on Transnational Corpo- rations which is preparing a "re g ister" of profits as a key step towards regulating the activities of international firms. 6) The General Assembly has approved the Code of Restric- tive Business Practices (1980). When enforced, it would compel multinational corporations to sell their tec hnology and know-how at punitively low prices in Third World markets. Nowhere in the Code will you find acknowledgment of the widely recognized con-

4 The U.N. Under Scrutiny

tributions made by the multinationals in spurring the develop- ment of econom ically backward states. 7) There are moves to limit the force of patents to allow Third World nations to exploit new technology without paying for it. Much of the flavor of the U.N.'s war on the free enterprise sys- tem will be evident next month Uuly 198 2 ) in Mexico at the World Conference on Cultural Policies. The innocent sounding name of the gathering masks what Third World literature is welcoming as a major opening shot in an attack on Western-style advertising. Through international consumerist group s wielding enormous clout with U.N. agencies, a campaign is underway to regulate ad- vertising by forcing firms, primarily international companies, to include something called a "social criterion" in their ads. What this means, according to the advocates o f such a scheme, is that ads for products in Third World countries must describe, among other things, the availability of competitors' cheaper alternatives to the advertised product. Although there is no carefully coordinated or centrally,directed grand co n spiracy at the U.N. to undermine the free enterprise system, there is a well-formulated blueprint or manifesto, a kind of grand strategy enthusiastically endorsed by just about all of the 120 or so underdeveloped states and even accepted (with reserva- ti o ns) by a number of West European industrial nations. This strategy is known as the New International Economic Order and was adopted in .1974 at the plenary meeting of the main Third World body, the U.N. Council on Trade and Development-or UNCTAD. Official l y called the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, the NIEO is a blueprint for assuring that the free enter- prise system never takes root in the Third World. It is a blueprint designed to penalize not only capitalist firms and capitalist state s , but also the citizens of capitalist societies. The NIEO won power- ful champions over the years, such as key Carter Administration officials like Cyrus Vance and Andrew Young. Promoting adop- tion of the NIEO is the sole purpose of the Brandt Commission , headed by the former Chancellor of West Germany, Willy Brandt, and endorsed by a number of American groups like the ODC. In short, what NIEO wants to do is to force the transfer to undevel- oped countries of the wealth, technology and research from those industrial nations which have created this wealth, technology and research. The transfer is to be mandatory and perpetual; there

Burton Yale Pines 5

will be only limited, if any, compensation for the enormous assets involved. The NIEO is not going to be enacted in toto or enforced in toto on the industrial West. But the underlying philosophy of the NIEO provides the conceptional rationale and guidance for the U.N.'s attack on the free enterprise system. It is a blueprint pro- viding a checklist of spe c ific anti-free enterprise measures which the U.N. and its agencies individually and gradually can enact. The NIEO is a call to battle and a strategy which the defenders of the free enterprise system can ignore only at their peril. There are, in fact, at l e ast two critically important areas in which the NIEO already is close to enactment. The first is what is called the New International Information Order. It is an attempt to restrict the operations of the Western press and give legitimacy to the state -con t rolled press of the Com- munist countries and most Third World nations. You will hear more about this shortly. I But I want to stress that it is not only the matter of press free- dom at issue in the New International Information Order. The UNESCO Declara t ion advocating the New Information Order is explicitly biased against the private sector. It calls for preference to be given to non-commercial forms of mass communication. The reason for this, states the Declaration, is to "reduce the negative effects [o q the influence of market and commercial considerations." The second important area in which the NIEO is already close to enactment is in the Law of the Sea Treaty. After nearly a dec- ade of negotiations, during which the Carter Administration made some d e vastating concessions, the Treaty draft last month reached what may be its final stages. The U.S., as you know, re- fuses to sign the draft-so far. What is important for us to keep in mind is that the Law of the Sea Treaty is a statement repudiating the f r ee enterprise system. It establishes a Third World-dominated cartel; it is designed to control the marketplace; it discriminates against private deep-sea mining ventures; and it declares that those intrinsically valueless metallic nodules at the seabed, w h ich are transformed into useable and valuable resources only through the costly mining technologies developed by private firms-that these are somehow part of what is called the Common Heritage of all mankind. As such, Third World nations insist that they are en- titled to a large share of the financial proceeds of the mining. And as such, the pioneering technologies and state-of-the-art know- how of deep-sea mining are to be given to developing countries.

6 The U.N. Under Scrutiny

There are many other problems with the Law of the Sea Treaty beyond its assault on the free enterprise system. But not the least of its dangers is that it is designed to serve as a model treaty for other issues, a model by which the industrial West is to b e coaxed and intimidated into surrendering a portion of its national sover- eignty and to undermine its economic system for the sake of the underdeveloped world which prefers to'strive to get a share of the West's wealth as a kind of welfare transfer paym e nt rather than to work at creating its own wealth. Why does the majority controlling the U.N. make this choice? Why does it choose the economically catastrophic model of a Tan- zania rather than the economically booming model of a Taiwan or Singapore? Why has the U.N. majority made the free enterprise system its enemy rather than embracing the one economic system with a proven record of success? In large part, I suspect, it is ignorance. Daniel Moynihan has written that many leaders of the countries which o nce were col- onies-the majority of U.N. members-were educated in West European universities, such as the London School of Economics, where they learned the economics of socialism. As leaders in their own nation's drive against colonial rule, they apparen t ly became intoxicated with the heady rhetoric of socialism, rejected much of what their colonial rulers stood for and swallowed Lenin's conten- tion that imperialism was a direct stage in the development of cap- italism-an assertion for which there is no e vidence. Indeed, the major imperialistic power of the past quarter-century has been the Soviet Union. To a great extent, therefore, the Third World knows little about how capitalism works and how capitalism succeeds. The U.N., moreover, does little to enl i ghten the Third World. The economic studies and analyses produced by U.N. agencies and departments, including the New York-based Department of Pub- lic Information, have a strong anti-free enterprise and pro- socialist bias. The U.N. majority also opposes the free enterprise system, I believe, because the Third World is influenced by the Soviet Un- ion and its clients, such as Cuba, and their often successful ma- neuvering at the U.N. Moscow's role and successes at the U.N. are inexplicable -and a topic fo r another talk and for a Heritage Foundation Study-but they are a fact. Lastly, I think that the U.N. majority wars against the free en- terprise system because the free enterprise system is rightly seen as a threat-not as a threat to a developing nation o r society, but

Burton Yale Pines 7

a threat to the authoritarianism of the regimes running these soci- eties. Capitalism is the best guarantor of liberty yet devised. About this there can be little dispute. Irving Kristol points out: "Never in human hi story has one seen a society of political liberty that was not based on a free economic system-a system based on private property, where normal economic activities consisted of commercial transactions between consenting adults. Never, never, never. No exc e ptions. " The free enterprise system permits the emergence of important centers of independent power which successfully rival and check the power of the state. To regimes whose only legitimacy is their monopoly of the state's coercive power, existence of t he indepen- dent power centers of the large corporation, the free trade union, the business association are unacceptable. The U.N. opposes the free enterprise system because a majority of U.N. members would be threatened by the political and social plural i sm concom- itant with free enterprise. What is to be done about the U.N.'s war on the free enterprise system? What can you do? First, you must insure that you remain aware of how develop- ments at international organizations can affect the free enterprise system. In some instances, these international bodies can actually legislate for us and restrict us. At the least, they provide a forum for anti-free enterprise ideas. Participating officially in U.N. pro- ceedings are such anti-free enterprise groups as t he Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, the Institute for Policy Studies, the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches and similar organizations. They swell the anti-capitalist chorus. And, as we have seen, their ideas gradual l y take hold. Do not underestimate the power of ideas; they have enormous conse- quences. Do not support those ideas. Do not fund those organiza- tions supporting those ideas. Second, you must pressure Washington to resist the ideas and arguments coming fr o m the anti-free enterprise majority at the U.N. You must support the Reagan Administration's efforts at limiting the U.N.'s technical and economic bodies to technical and economic matters. The White House needs help in its fight against the politicization of U.N. bodies. This is much more difficult than you may imagine. Few things seem to have more power within government than bureaucratic inertia. Once a process begins and a bureaucratic vested interest emerges, it is very difficult to stop the process. C yrus Vance, Andrew Young and other Carter Administration

8 The U.N. Under Scrutiny

officials endorsed the U.N.'s anti-free enterprise rhetoric. The State Department is filled with professional negotiators who seem to relish the very process of negotiat ing. And then they fight tena- ciously for the treaty or agreement which emerges as the product of their negotiations. They are a powerful lobby within govern- ment which urges compromise and accommodation when com- promise and accommodation are not warra n ted. They are a lobby which, in terms of many of the issues relating to the Third World demands, argues that, if you can't get a whole loaf, you should settle for a slice, or the crust-or a crumb. The White House al- ways needs pressure from outside to co u nter the career accommo- dators at the State Department. The place for you to start is with pressure against the Law of the Sea Treaty. You must help stop it. While it may not affect you directly, it is a model for an anti-free enterprise strategy which e v entually will affect your own industry, your own company-and certainly your nation's economy. Be aware of similar U.N. activi- ties, innocent sounding-as the cultural conference in Mexico is or the upcoming Third Decade of Development or- UNESCO's educati onal programs- innocent titles and rhetoric which may be masking a hidden anti-free enterprise system agenda. Be aware that the U.N. majority has made you its enemy. You ignore this at your peril.

The U.N. and Press Freedom

There i s no issue more contentious and potentially destructive confronting the United Nations today than UNESCO's handling of freedom of the press within the context of its New World Infor- mation and Communications Order (NWICO). The ownership and control of in f ormation networks mirror the economic and so- cial system within different countries. Three distinct models can be discerned. One model reflects the open society in the United States and other liberal democratic societies where there is a minimal in- volv e ment of the government in the affairs of the press. The oppo- site model is the Soviet Union and other totalitarian nations where there is total government control of information and communica- tions. And the third model is a hybrid which reflects societi e s that permit a free and independent press' but with considerable gov- ernment authority and intervention in directing and controlling the flow of news and information. Particular countries have chosen one model or another because that model suits their e c onomic and social system. The United Nations claims that it respects the values of pluralism in informa- tion and communications. However, UNESCO has been actively engaged in encouraging the totalitarian and authoritarian models and has been attacking the Western media and the values of Western journalism on the assertion they undermine economic and social development. My presentation today will explore the political question of whether UNESCO's efforts to bring about a NWICO poses a danger to a free press and an open society. In order to answer the question we need to understand the genesis and philosophical un- derpinning of a NWICO as it relates to the press. Also, we need to understand the charges made against the Western press and the flow and presenta t ion of news in the West. And finally, an exami- nation of UNESCO's activities during the past decade will pro- vide some insight into that organization's intent and the response it has caused. Perhaps the most difficult task is to define the NWICO, also k nown as the New World Information Order, also known as the

Leonarxi.j. Theberge is president of the Media Institute in Washington, D.C.

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New International Information Order. First of all, it is neither new nor an order. The debate about information, and its appro- priate use, has been going on in the United Nations since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1 9 48. The UDHR came out four square for the free flow of in- formation and for individual freedom 'of expression and use of the media. Issues involving press freedom have been with us since the first political ruler recognized the potential for "mischief" i n an inde- pendent source of criticism that could be widely disseminated. In a way, the NWICO recalls the struggles in the 17th and 18th cen- turies when Western rulers sought to control the press through taxation, alien and sedition laws and licensing of p rinters. Nor is the NWICO an order. There is no charter or document or set of international agreements that one can examine. In fact, it is an aspirational. list of what many Third World nations believe are necessary conditions to achieve economic and soc i al develop- ment. It is also closely linked with a set of overlapping aspirations contained in the New International Economic Order, another con- cept championed mainly by Third World nations. A word of caution is in order. Many of the terms used in dis- c ussing global issues are bound to be imprecise and "Third World nations" is one of them. Third World nations differ greatly in size, resources, gross national product and levels of communica- tions. We use that term advisedly, in recognition that many, bu t not all, of them share a common belief that the Western media, technological developments and the free flow of information are a hindrance rather than a help to their social and economic develop- ment. If the term NWICO is unclear, what do we mean when w e use that term? Let us examine the writings of some of the prominent spokesmen in UNESCO and the United Nations to help define, if not a clear meaning, at least their usage of the term. According to Narinder K. Aggarwala, Regional Information Of- fice, As i a and Pacific United Nations Development Programme, the NWICO embraces everything from politics to technology: The New Order deals with the totality of informa- tion, technical, political, social and economic. It covers all means of information-media, boo ks, films, data banks, documentaries and all kinds of instructional material. It encompasses all aspects of information tech-

LeonardJ. Theberge

nology-communication satellites, press cable rates, telecommunications as well as national and interna- tio nal press regulations. Media, print and electronic, are but a small-though admittedly most controversial -part of N11O which its protagonists envision as a process for "intellectual decolonization" of the Third World. I

The "totality of information" is a term that suggests that NWICO covers control of the flow of all news and information to, from and within any country. The need to control the flow of news is based on what the Third World considers "imbalances, inequalities and inequities" in that flow a s it now exists. Mr. Doudou Diene, Director of UNESCO, New York office, sees the problem in cultural terms:

A few major communication industries [read the Western communications industries] with enormous material and technical facilities under their contro l are spreading more and more generally the use of standard- ized products which make for world-wide uniformity of cultural models and consumer networks. Mass-produced messages originating from a few centers are command- ing increasing attention in all ot h er countries. This is already leading to a weakening of national and local forms of expression, and to growing repression of the potential for creative participation among peoples, who are often reduced to the role of passive recipients of messages.' The o verarching complaint of cultural and commercial domi- nance, articulated by Doudou Diene is, of course, the easiest flow to control. Since most broadcasting outlets are state controlled, even in the West, no government is compelled to purchase "stan- dard ized products" it finds objectionable. The reason they pur- chase Western programs is because that is what their people find amusing or entertaining.

1. Narinder K. Aggarwala, "An Introduction to the New International Information Order," The Crisis in Int ernational News, Columbia University Press (forthcoming book). 2. Doudou Diene, UNESCO and Communications in the Modem World, Trustees of Colum- bia University, 1982.

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On the news front, Western journalists are accused of reporting only sensational and negative news-political instability, human rights violations, natural disasters and corruption. The result, it is alleged, is a poor international image that impairs trad e and other economic relations that would stimulate development. Favorable images are considered a key to national development and have given rise to "development journalism" which we would call in the West "public relations journalism." UNESCO's call for a "responsible media" and a "balanced flow of information" is based on the belief that Western commercial media monopolize the flow of news, have a cultural bias, emphasize negative news, and thus undermine social, economic and political values essen- tial for development. The role of the media in the West as inde- pendent watchdogs and critics of government and other institutions is widely perceived as a luxury poor nations cannot afford. The four international news agencies-United Press Interna- tional, A s sociated Press, Reuters, Agence France - Presse -which circulate about 85 percent of the international news come in for the bulk of criticism. They are accused of failing to provide a truly international service because too little news about developing co u n- tries appears in the Western media. By selecting news in terms of Western attitudes and interests and by "selling" their news prod- uct as a commodity, the news agencies are accused of imposing italien perspectives" on Third World affairs. It is undoub t edly true that Western news reporting about the Third World could be improved. We know from experience that news reporting about the events with which we are familiar could be improved. But Western news sources properly deny the charges that they ignore t h e Third World. As a matter of fact, many of the assertions made by UNESCO and its supporters about imbalances in the flow of information do not bear critical scrutiny. The four world news agencies do not operate in a vacuum. In addition to Tass, the Russi a n world news agency, "there are more than 120 regional and national news agen- cies including major ones such as the Deutsche Presse Agentur, Japan's Kyodo or China's Hsinhua which all have extensive in- ternational networks. . . . '" While the four Weste rn agencies dearly outweigh the others in size, manpower and technology, there is no lack of alternate sources of information.

3. Rosemary Righter, Whose Navs? Politics, The Press and the Third World, Times Books, 1978, p. 50.

Leonard J. Theberge 13

The real problem is the inability to absorb and use available in- formation. Sergio Lepri of Italy's ANSA news agency believes it is a false proposition to talk about the need to increase the flow of information. As he puts it, "ANSA receives, on merely a v erage equipment working only fifteen hours a day, 220,000 words from socialist countries; 110,000 from the Third World and 250,000 from international agencies. A third of our output is foreign news. It stands to reason that most of what we receive goes in t o the rub- bish-bin ......I A recent study by Professor Wilbur Schramm, "Circulation of News in the Third World-A Study of Asia," examined Asian development news reported by the four Western agencies, and found a high output on those development issues th a t the Third World claim are not adequately reported. The problem is that lo- cal newspaper editors in the Asian papers surveyed do not use the material. Newspaper readers in the Philippines, at least their,.@edi- tors believe, are not interested in a new d am or irrigation project in India. Independent news judgments around the world tend to be similar. Another study, tided Assessment Of the New World Information Order, by Professor Kenji Kitatani, found that international affairs cov- erage by the seven ma j or television networks in Japan, Great Brit- ain and the United States was extensive. As Professor Kitatani found: Despite the widely accepted view that the First World media do not treat Third World affairs on the same level as First World affairs, there is evidence that the Western media neither inform less frequently or spend less money and effort to report the news stories about the Third World. Three findings support this conclusion: (1) the Japanese and British networks ap- pear to spend as much or p e rhaps more money and ef- fort to report on events in developing nations than on events in the developed nations; (2) the American net- works provide a higher number of news stories on the Third World than on the First World; and (3) the American networks spent as much or more money to report on events in the Third World as on events in the First World.'

4. Ibid., p. 51. 5. Kenji Kitatani, Assessment of the New World Information Order, Department of Commu- nications, Washington State University, 1981.

14 The U.N. Under Scrutiny

The charge of cultural bias is undoubtedly true to some extent, but what the effects are is not so apparent. Audiences in the Third World are not the "passive recipients of messages," Mr. Doudou Diene asserts, unless they differ completely from audiences else- where. Many development economists argue that economic and social developments will only occur, with profound shifts in atti- tudes and cultures within developing countries. Isolation from cultural developments elsewhere ma y discourage the development process. It has been tried with disastrous consequences in Burma and China. Whatever benefits those countries gained from com- plete isolation from Western information and culture was out- weighed by the destruction to their ec o nomies, which after all is what UNESCO claims its NWICO is supposed to help develop. And finally, when the Third World charges that Western news agencies are incapable of providing an objective news service either about their own development or about West e rn news, the news agencies reply that their standard must be one of objectivity if news is to be acceptable in countries of left and right with differ- ent social and legal principles, who may be at war or near war with one another. But to respond in this fashion does not meet the underlying issue of who is to direct and control news which is the essence of UNESCO's NWICO. The words one hears over and over again in UNESCO and by Third World leaders are "dominate" and "commercial." The Western media dominat e s the world. It dominates cultures; it dominates political events; it dominates all other social and eco- nomic forces at work in any society. And it does this "commer- cially" for profit and not for the "good" of society. The hollow intellectual jargon o n e finds frequently used by Western left wing radicals, one finds in abundance at UNESCO. Mr. Christopher Nascimento, former and now honorary Minister of Information in Guyana and currently a special consultant at UNESCO, has stated, "The truth is that the cherished Western concepts of media ownership and communications freedoms die hard ... but die they must." Mr. Nascimento's country followed his advice and eliminated a free, independent and commercial press. The bene- fits it has reaped are extremely dif f icult to discern. The political process within UNESCO feeds upon real and imagined inequities between developed and developing countries and contributes to the problem. UNESCO is a legitimate world forum for political discussions and a multinational agenc y for ad-

Leonardj. Theberge 15

ministering projects in education, science, culture and informa- tion. The problem in this forum is that the U.S. and other nations that share a common set of values about an independent media are in a very small minorit y. The result of this real political "im- balance" is that evidence, the analysis of issues and the testing of the truth through vigorous debate are meaningless. The majority constituency UNESCO is faithfully representing has an unshak- able, one-dimensio n al view of the Western media that is both hos- tile to liberal democratic societies and sympathetic to totalitariari and authoritarian societies of left and right. Gerald Long, former managing director of Reuters, now man- aging director of The Tirnes of L ondon, sees the problem as an extension of "two fundamentally different views of the role of in- formation in society." The first, according to Long, sees informa- tion as a carrier of freedom. The best expression of that view is the United States Constit u tion and, in particular, the First Amend- ment. The second view is that information is a carrier of power, and must be used by governments as a way of carrying out their policies. Long charges that UNESCO, and by implication, the NWICO, want to transfer m e dia technology to the countries that do not have it, while encouraging them to use that technology to control information for the purpose of government. If Long's view is correct, and I believe it is, we are getting very close to the answer to our questio n , "Does UNESCO pose a dan- ger to press freedom?" Monopoly control and direction of the content of news, whether by a government, a single corporation or a single individual, is an obvious threat to press freedom. More importantly, it poses a danger to th e pursuit of truth upon which liberal democracies are dependent. As Dr. Johnson, a hard- pressed and poverty stricken journalist for most of his adult life, observed: "If nothing may be published but what civil authorities shall have previously approved, p o wer must always be the stan- dard of truth. Rosemary Righter, a British journalist who has written a thou ght-provoking book, Whose News? Politics, the Press and the Third World, finds: Most of those who attack the existing structure insist that they do n ot seek to block the free flow of informa- tion. On the contrary, they seek to make it genuinely free-free of domination by the powerful few, free of Western "ethnocentric prejudices," free "to defend the

16 The U.N. Under Scrutiny

interests of society as a whole, and the rights of entire peoples to make known ... their preoccupations, their difficulties and their aspirations for a better life. " Free of the distortions of the market and thus able to "re- spond to the real developme nt needs of Third World countries. 116

According to Righter, the political force behind the NWICO stems from the nations which made up the Non-Aligned Move- inent in the 1950s and 1960s. From a small group of radical, anti- colonial and socialist nations, it has grown in the 1970s to become an established force in international politics, including most of the Third World nations. At the Fourth Summit of the non-aligned governments in Al- giers in 1973, a Yugoslav initiative established a link between eco- nomic coordination and international information structures. The seventy-five heads of government in Algiers stated it to be " 'an established fact that the activities of imperialism are not confined solely to the political and economic fields, but also c o ver the cul- tural and sociological fields, thus imposing an alien ideological domination over the peoples of the developing world.' To meet 'the cultural alienation and imported civilization imposed by colo- nialismand imperialism', the non-aligned gover n ments resolved to effect a 'repersonalization by constant and determined resources to the people's own social and cultural values which define it as a sovereign people.' The search for an alternative model had begun. "I One can follow the genesis of the N W ICO in UNESCO when, in 1972, the Soviets prepared a "Draft Declaration on the Use of the Mass Media, ) ' which tacitly supported state control of the me- dia. For the first time in UNESCO, the press was being discussed as a CC tool" of the state with a po l itical agenda. In 1974, the Soviet draft declaration became a divisive issue when a number of West- ern delegates walked out in protest against anti-Israel language that had been incorporated into the increasingly politicized pro- ceedings. As a result, i n 1975 the United States cut off funds to UNESCO. By the 1976 UNESCO General Conference, U.S. funding was restored and the contentious Soviet proposal postponed until 1978. The resolution adopted by acclamation at UNESCO's 1978
6. Rosemary Righter, Whose News?, p. 99. 7. Ibid., p. 104.

Leonardj. Theberge 17

General Conference in Paris was sanitized and received a new ti- tle, "Declaration on Fundamental Principles Concerning the Contribution of the Mass Media to Strengthening Peace and In- ternational Understanding, to the Promotion of Human Rights and to Countering Racialism, Apartheid and Incitement to War." But the issues were not put to rest and a spin-off of these media debates was the creation of the UNESCO International Commission for the Study o f Communication Problems, com- monly known as the MacBride Commission after its chairman, Sean MacBride, who uncommonly holds both the Lenin and No- bel Peace Prizes. The MacBride report was noted at UNESCO's 1980 General Conference in Belgrade and none o f its 82 resolutions were adopted. The report was essentially a compromise which contained something for everyone. For example, it recommended the right of journalists to have access to news services both private,aind of- ficial; it denounced censorship an d opposed measures for pro- tection of journalists, an international code of ethics and an international right of reply and rectification. On the negative side, the MacBride report exhibits bias against private ownership of news media and suggests studies t o reduce the negative influ- ences of the marketplace. The ebb and flow of the political agenda at UNESCO took a turn for the worse in February 1981 when, in spite of its claims to the contrary, UNESCO organized a meeting to discuss plans for a new intern a tional organization for the protection of journalists. This meeting was originally a closed session limited to Eastern Bloc and Third World invitees and revealed, for anyone willing to see, UNESCO's real agenda. When the secret meeting came to the attenti o n of the U.S. State Department, our government in- sisted that Western representatives participate and the proposal for a UNESCO commission to issue identity cards was derailed. While UNESCO has been pursuing with single-minded deter- mination an avenue t o establish statist news and communications policies, the U.S. proposed a practical result-oriented program for less developed nations to improve their news and communica- tions development. Now, a part of UNESCO, the international program for the developm ent of communications (IPDC) could become a vehicle for channeling UNESCO and other resources into areas of technical training and advice and provision of equip- ment and technology and hopefully away from non-productive

18 The U.N. Under Scrutiny

ideo logical approaches. The U.S. has adopted a cautious attitude because of the past activities at UNESCO and has not committed funding directly to IPDC. It is too early to tell what the final outcome of the NWICO will be. UNESCO is committed to an ideologica l program for com- munications that separates it from the mainstream of Western values about the nature of the media. UNESCO's activities have raised deep concern in Congress and -amendments to the funding bills for UNESCO could cut off U.S. support for th a t organization. UNESCO has not, however, achieved any of its objectives for Western journalists that would put it into a direct confrontation with its Western members and the U.S. Congress. There are no identity cards, ethical rules, or commissions to enf o rce them. The NWICO continues to be an evolutionary and continuous process which could lead either to much-needed assistance and improvements in communications or to a blind alley of closed so- cieties maintaining the status quo while preaching radical ch a nge. It is clear that U.S. participation in UNESCO has helped to pre- serve the values of press freedoms that we believe are essential to free and democratic societies. It has been accomplished with some pain and compromise, but it is likely the results w ould have been worse without the effort. I believe our Department of State has earned and deserves a "well-done."

The U.N. and U.S. National Interests


The United Nations itself as an institution was an effort to sell American values, American political values, to the world. It was an invention of the United States, and one might say in admira- tion of this country, and also in despair for the quality kn o wn as American innocence, that only the United States could have in- vented such an institution as the United Nations. For it was an ef- fort to offer to the world a model of the liberal parliamentary order. A parliament of nations. And unlike earlier par l iaments of nations, this one, said its inventors, was going to be truly repre- sentative. Therefore it included a body, the General Assembly, which gave equal voice and equal representation to all the sover- eign nations. This resulted in its being unable to reflect the reali- ties of power in the world, which is undoubtedly one of the reasons why it has been unable to function really as a peacekeeping orga- nization. I am not going to go through a taxing history, but what has become of this American liber a l invention we know. It has been turned around 180 degrees into a center for the articulation and the legitirnization of tyranny, in the names of "justice," "freedom," and all those other words which we contributed and which daily in that institution get p erverted. We find ourselves now in a peculiar predicament. We are not only the founding spirit behind this organization, we are its major funder. It sits, appropriately to its initial intention, in the city of New York, the symbol in this country of the u p lifting of the formerly downtrodden (which was surely the impulse behind the creation of the institution), and it sits in the city that in this coun- try typifies that process. And yet its major role in the world now is to be the center for agitation agai n st the values by which, under which, it was created. The U.N. is a center of agitation against the democratic order, not to say American society, and certainly not to say American national interest. How have we gotten our- selves into this spot, where we are the host and the major funder of an institution most of whose deliberations, and particularly those to which the press and the public pay no attention, are inim- ical not only to our interests and not only to our survival but to the
Midge Decter is Executive Director of the Committee for the Free World in New York. 19

20 The U.N. Under Scrutiny

very things that we and this institution itself stand for? Well, we do not have to discuss now the process by which this happened. The question is, what sh ould we do about it? Ambassador Lich- tenstein said he was not going to address himself to the question of taking the U.N. seriously because Jeane Kirkpatrick is going to do that. I think that I am undoubtedly going to preempt her and I am undoubtedly in a greement with her, when I say that one of the ways we have allowed this process to happen under our very noses is that we have not taken the United Nations seriously. We have paid for it; we have genuflected before it; we have been unfail- ingly polite to w ard it. We have sent children out with little boxes every Halloween. We have not taken it seriously. By not taking the U.N. seriously I mean we have not, certainly not as a nation, sufficiently attended to what was being said there, to what was be- ing pu t into the documents of that institution. That we now have a Mission to the United Nations which does take it seriously in this way, which exercises the right of reply, which makes the argu- ment, is unusual, possibly unique. But this cannot be counted on i n the long political future because it very much depends on who is at the Mission. And it seems to me, I hope that my friends who are members of USUN will not misunderstand the spirit in which I say this, it seems to me somewhat like locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen. The damage has been done. A m ajor damage-and it is a major damage to a democratic so- ciety-has been the corruption of language. This is also a subject about which Ambassador Kirkpatrick feels very strongly.. The corrupti o n of language, the distortion of the word.justice, even distributive justice, that lies behind the notion of the New Inter- national Economic Order, the New World Information Order- and who knows what other new world orders lie in store for us-the notion t hat the free nations of this world are to be lectured to and hectored and made demands of by some of the most tyrannical nations on Earth, in the name of justice, is a perversion of lan- guage and thought that we have permitted to happen and that has left us all in a state of deep and dangerous befuddlement. The re- sult is it takes us ages simply to sort out a question before we can even begin to address ourselves to it. Having said this, I suppose it will not surprise you to hear me offer, with all the s eriousness I can command, the proposition that it is possible that the course of peace and the course of justice, not only here but throughout the world, would be best served if the United States left the United Nations.

Midge Decter 21

Of course, as F rank Shakespeare suggested about the salutary effect on UNESCO that Elliot Abrams had when he threatened it with a shaky future, merely proposing that the U.N. should leave New York City might exercise a great and salutary disciplinary influence on the de l egates, and particularly on members of the secretariat to the United Nations, who get to live here all the time regardless of what happens in their governments. The Heritage Foundation is putting out a series of papers telling us what has been going on in this institution with our passive col- lusion over the years: among other nice things, the support for terrorism and the house room given to Soviet intelligence agents. So I am not being frivolous, nor am I being a little old lady in tennis shoes, when I s ay to you that for the sake of international relations, as well as the sanity of American thought, we ought to confess our error to ourselves and get out. I know the argument is made that there is great value for us in remaining at the U.N. and talking to its delegations and continuing to conduct dialogue with them. But I think that genuine dialogue is impossible when people do not agree even on first principles and so I have come here today to propose that it is time for us to reconsider our membership in , which is to say, the future assured existence of, what has proven to be a ghastly institution. The best example of the linguistic corruption I referred to is the invention and dissemination and complete acceptance of some- thing called the "Third World." I submit that there is no such thing as the Third World, and I submit that all our pieties toward this non-existent construct have not conduced to the welfare of the people living in the countries that are supposed to be included in it. There is really no such category. What can you say about an idea that includes Taiwan and Uganda? What you can say about it is that it is an intellectual confusion and a linguistic perversion, and that aside from what it has done to our capacity to think through our problem s has undoubtedly contributed in immeasur- able ways to the further immiseration of the world. This is not what we had in mind, and I think the time has come for us no longer to participate in the process. Thank you.

The U.N. and The U.S.


I understand that the previous speaker has just called for U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations. I disagree. I know, indeed no one knows better, that the United Nations poses a problem for the United States. It's expensive, it's often ineffectiv e, it seems particularly inclined to push policies that we do not desire to adopt, decisions from which we dissent, agreements with which we dis- agree. My analysis of the causes and the possible cures of these problems at the United Nations has undergone significant evolu- tion during my nearly 18 months now at Turtle Bay. [According to our statistical analysis, the median and average (social scientists distinguish between those two) tenures of U.S. permanent repre- sentatives to the United Nations is abo u t 18 months. I am right now in the middle of my eighteenth month.] In that eighteen months I have not become an expert on that in- stitution. Eighteen months is not long enough to become expert about any complex institution, and God knows the United Na- t i ons is a complex institution. Eighteen months, however, is long enough to have observed a full cycle of U.N. activity. It took a while to-become sufficiently acclimatized to understand a bit about what we were seeing. Eighteen months is long enough to hav e ob- served at first hand the relative powerlessness of the United States at the United Nations, to have felt in virtually all the arenas of that body our lack of influence, long enough to have watched oth- ers-the Soviets, the ASEAN states, Syria, PLO, a n d most re- cently, the British-exercise influence that we cannot even hope to approximate. We have observed in that eighteen months the operation of bloc politics, and, equally interesting, we have ob- served from time to time, the virtual paralysis of th e blocs. We have observed the power of the Soviets and their principal clients, and from time to time their inability to shape outcomes in ways that they desire. We have watched the political ineffectiveness of the Latin Americans and thought about how it compares with the effectiveness of the ASEANS. Above all, I have been occupied, preoccupied, with our own American incapacities, our inability in

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick is U.S. Permanent Representative to t@e United Nations.

jeanej. Kirkpatrick 23

this organization to find reliable allies, to make persuasive argu- ments, to put together winning combinations. To avoid possible misunderstanding, I desire to emphasize that the lack of influence of the United States in the United Nations does not repre s ent some sort of worldwide revulsion against the Reagan Administration or even against me. The fact is that we have been virtually powerless in the United Nations for more than a decade. Our friend, the senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, wrot e in his book, "A Dangerous Place," that in 1974 the U.S. was frequently reduced to voting in a bloc of three, along- side Chile and the Dominican Republic. Since then, we have lost Chile and the Dominican Republic as reliable voting allies. The analysis o f voting patterns at the U.N. reveals that the decline in U.S. influence, which began around 1966 or 1967, continued pre- cipitously for about five to seven years at which point it reached a low level around which it has stuck ever since through both Re- p u blican and Democratic administrations. This low level d influ- ence persisted through the administrations of Andrew Young and Donald McHenry as well as those of Daniel Patrick M6ynihan and jeane Kirkpatrick. That is another way of saying it has per- siste d through changes in U.S. permanent representatives, ideol- ogies and styles. Throughout, we have continued to be the largest financial contributors, paying first 30 percent, then 25 percent of the operating expenses of the organization. There was a time w h en I believed that our impotence was a kind of inevitable consequence of the changed character of the member- ship of the United Nations. Certainly that composition changed. When the United Nations was established, there were approxi- mately fifty members , and though they were not all democracies, most of the members were stable, older nation states, experienced in international affairs, democracies who had some sort of com- mitment to international law and to liberal principles. There was a degree of fals i fication introduced into the United Nations from the very beginning because of the presence of the Soviet Union, certain of its client states, and selected autocracies into an organization committed to the principles of freedom and democracy and self-dete r mination. But that degree of falsification was relatively small and the facts of the United Nations were not too far from the principles enunciated in the Charter. Today there are some 157 members of the United Nations. There have been three members admit ted during my eighteen months there. Most of the nations that have been admitted since

24 The U.N. Under Scrutiny
the U.N.'s establishment are new nations, former colonies. The big influx of the former colonies into the U.N. occurred alongside the begin ning of the decline of U.S. influence. Someone noted that 1964 was a watershed year. During that year seventeen new nations were admitted to membership, some fifteen of whom were African nations. Many of these new nations have unstable bound- aries, their whole national history has been lived out in the post- war period during which the United Nations has been an impor- tant arena of international action. They have never known a world without the U.N. Most of these nations are, to paraphrase my friend, Dic k Scammon, unrich, unpowerful and unhappy. Most are miserably poor; most of them are non-democratic, in the sense that they do not enjoy democratic political institutions. Some do but most have had a great deal of trouble establishing and maintaining democ r atic institutions. These nations have had two overriding preoccupations which have dominated the U.N. agenda since then: decolonization, since they have been involved in establishing their own national independence; and economic development. Now, in princ i ple, the United States should be the last country in the world to have problems with an organization whose agenda is dominated by de- colonization and economic development. As a former colony, we have been involved with decolonization literally all our na t ional life. We have regularly, in the period before and after World War II, supported national independence and aspirations to independence of the colonies of our best friends. We have not been a colonial nation. We have no apologies to make to the world f or our colonial past. We do not share the colo- nial guilt of many European allies. Similarly, with economic development. Many of us think we practically invented economic growth as a process of internal transformation which is continu- ally at work in ou r own society-destroying traditional barriers of class and caste, achieving a good life for all. We almost invented economic development assistance with President Truman's Point Four Program in the post-war period. (A little noticed fact, by the way, about the Point Four Program was that it was enunciated in President Truman's Inaugural Address, of which Point One was that the United Nations would serve as the foundation of Ameri- can foreign policy henceforth.) Decolonization, economic devel- opment, and d evelopment assistance are utterly consistent with our national experience, our values and our. practices. Why would we have problems with an organization most of

JeaneJ. Kirkpatrick 25

whose members are concerned with them? It is an interesting questio n on which I have been reflecting for months now, and I have concluded that it was not the influx of new nations that ac- counts for the U.S. position at the United Nations. It is not the changed composition of the United Nations that accounts for our fal l from influence to impotence. I have also examined the hypothesis that the bloc system ac- counts for the absence of American influence in the United Na- tions. Certainly it makes its contribution. The United Nations functions a lot like a legislature wit h a multi-party system and the parties in that system are the overlapping blocs, some of which are cohesive such as the Soviet bloc, the ASEAN states, and the EC-10. Some of the blocs are loose and not cohesive, such as the Non-Aligned Movement which embra c es some 96 nations, or the G-77 (once a group of 77) which is today a group of 126. Some of the blocs are based on geography like the Organization of African States, some on culture like the Islamic Conference. We are a country without a party in the Unit e d Nations and that fact, that absence of a party, certainly is relevant to our impotence in that body. But I do not think it explains the whole problem. Yet another hypothesis with which I have attempted to explain U.S. impotence is the structure of the U n ited Nations itself: the rules, especially the practice of applying in the General Assembly the principle of one-man-one-vote to an international assembly of' terribly unequal nations. Under that practice, one nation-one vote, we have one vote, Vanautu ha s one vote. Obviously, that kind of principle creates a disjunction between power and respon- sibility because some of the nations who have the power to in- fluence decisions, financial decisions for instance, or the nations who have the resources to imple m ent decisions, are not identical with those who have the power to vote to make them. An extreme example of that was the Golan Heights Resolution, passed at one of the many recent Special Sessions of the General Assembly. It was a particularly obnoxious re s olution which laid the framework for a challenge to Israel's credentials. Some 86 nations voted in fa- vor of that resolution. Though I have not verified it, I am informed by a reliable assistant that the financial contributions of all 86 of the nations w h o voted for the resolution do not equal that of the United States. It is argued that only Third World countries get a good deal from the U.N. Nonetheless, I do not believe this or any other basic structural flaw accounts for our impotence. There is, I fea r, another explanation, which was implicit in the

26 The U.N. Under Scrutiny

drama I saw acted out on the issue of the Falklands. Watching the British Permanent Representative, an enormously skillful diplo- mat, operating in relationship to the Falklands crisis was tremen- dously impressive. It was almost traumatic, because in his conduct I have seen what a Western democratic nation could do inside the United Nations. The British have done it. They have made the organization function in ways that are responsive to their interests and their policy goals, and the fact they have been a ble to do it means it can be done. Why, then, haven't we


Edwin J. Feulner
Edwin Feulner