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75 Foreign Aff. 2 (1996)
Saving the U.N.: A Challenge to the Next Secretary-General

handle is hein.journals/fora75 and id is 742 raw text is: Saving the U.N.
A Challenge to the Next Secretary-General
7esse Helms

Not long ago, while accompanying U.N.
Ambassador Madeleine Albright to an
appearance in North Carolina, I was
asked by a reporter whether the United
States should withdraw from the United
Nations. It was a valid question, to which
I responded, Not yet.
As it currently operates, the United
Nations does not deserve continued
American support. Its bureaucracy is
proliferating, its costs are spiraling, and
its mission is constantly expanding be-
yond its mandate-and beyond its capa-
bilities. Worse, with the steady growth in
the size and scope of its activities, the
United Nations is being transformed
from an institution of sovereign nations
into a quasi-sovereign entity in itself.
That transformation represents an obvi-
ous threat to U.S. national interests.
Worst of all, it is a transformation that is
being funded principally by American
taxpayers. The United States contributes
more than $3.5 billion every year to the
U.N. system as a whole, making it the
most generous benefactor of this power-
hungry and dysfunctional organization.1

This situation is untenable. The United
Nations needs to be radically overhauled.
Yet Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-
Ghali has ignored multiple warnings and
stubbornly resisted reform that gets
down to fundamentals. On the contrary,
Boutros-Ghali has pursued a well-publi-
cized campaign of what he calls U.N.
empowerment. He has protected the
bloated bureaucracy, and the number
and nature of peacekeeping operations
has vastly expanded under his tenure.
He has pressed for the establishment of
a standing U.N. army and the power to
collect direct U.N. taxes.
Now, with U.N. empowerment as
his platform, Boutros-Ghali has reversed
his pledge to serve a single term and is
seeking a second one. The Clinton admin-
istration has belatedly announced its op-
position but has failed to nominate or
even search for a replacement, just as it
has been complacent in the face of his
presumptions to power.
Rather than Boutros-Ghali's empow-
erment, the United Nations needs a stark
reassessment of its mission and its man-


SENATOR JESSE HELMS (R-N.C.) is Chairman of the U.S. Senate Com-
mittee on Foreign Relations.

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