It is abominable that 535 people in Washington assume they have the moral authority to compel Americans to make sacrifices of their lives and property in the service of what Daniel Webster (of all people) described as “the folly and wickedness” of the wars arranged by our rulers. Although requiring Congress to declare war didn’t make those conflicts morally defensible, it did put those responsible on record. Now, however, such matters are disposed of by foreign diplomats and bureaucrats who are distant, unreachable, and beyond accountability of any kind this side of eternity.
Militarist conservatives generally denounce the UN as an impotent forum incurably devoted to pacifism and appeasement. Progressive internationalists treat the world body as an instrument for the peaceful resolution of disputes. Both of those perspectives are entirely wrong.
“American critics of the United Nations often zero in on its lack of serious military capacity … [and consider it to be little more than ] ineffective do-goodery gone wrong,” observed British journalist Simon Tisdall in a recent review of the book America, Hitler, and the UN. “Imagine their surprise, then, to learn that the UN was born amid nude scenes in a White House bathroom and that its primary purpose was as a war-fighting machine.”
On December 28, 1941, just weeks after Pearl Harbor – an attack of which FDR had detailed advance knowledge, and which he permitted in order to open the “back door to war” – FDR suggested to Winston Churchill, a guest at the White House, that the anti-Axis coalition call itself “the United Nations.” Churchill agreed. The following New Year’s Day, FDR and Churchill formally introduced that name and the concept of “collective security” when they unveiled the Atlantic Charter.
Conservative militarists invoke “National Security” to justify suspension of due process guarantees; progressive militarists appeal to “Collective Security” to sanctify aggressive war as a “multilateral” exercise. And of course, each of those collectivist factions will embrace the other’s nostrums when convenient. The result of this depraved dialectic is a domestic garrison state on a permanent war footing, with the UN Security Council serving as an instrument of Washington’s imperial ambitions. It will be interesting to see what role the War Machine on the East River will play as Washington’s power and prestige continues its precipitous decline.