November 5, 1999


For months – nay, years – the editors of the Weekly Standard have been drumming Patrick J. Buchanan out of the conservative movement. In article after article, these would-be arbiters of political correctness on the Republican Right have been lecturing the conservative rank-and-file on just who qualifies as a bona fide conservative. The dwarfish editor of this subsidized rag is the liberals' favorite right-winger: whenever the New York Times wants a quote from a conservative, they invariably turn to William Kristol, whose main qualifications seem to be that he is the son of ex-Trotskyist and "neo"-conservative godfather Irving Kristol – and that he lives on the isle of Manhattan, thus saving the Times a toll call.


In addition to having the ear of the Times, Kristol the Younger has his pulpit on ABC's This Week, where he communes with Sam, Cokie and the two Georges (Will and Stephanopoulos), and all agree that Pat and those dreadful "isolationists" should just go away. But the truth is that this guy is a phony, a fake, and a fraud who has been operating, all this time, under a false flag. Recently, however, Kristol has come out of the closet, so to speak, and revealed where he is really coming from by adopting a position that completely isolates him from his conservative brethren – he wants us to pay our "debt" to the United Nations.


Now I, for one, am not surprised. After all, what kind of a respectable "conservative" would be pushing Colin Powell for President? Kristol was one of the first to jump on that stalled bandwagon. What kind of conservative cheerleads Clinton's every war of conquest? Kristol and his fellow neocons threatened to bolt the GOP if it wasn't more forthcoming in supporting Clinton's bloody rape of Serbia. What respectable right-winger would be caught dead pushing something called "national greatness conservatism"? Yet this was the subject of a pompous manifesto by Weekly Standard editorial writer David Brooks. In an infamous article, Kristol and his intellectual aide-de-camp Robert Kagan actually called for the U.S. to establish a "benevolent world hegemony" – a world government lorded over by the U.S. Whatever this crackbrained utopianism might be called, "conservative" is not a word that comes immediately to mind.


Now, all of this might have been attributed to simple eccentricity – but no longer. For now the final piece of the puzzle falls into place and the mystery of Bill Kristol is finally come unraveled in his defense of the UN, in an article entitled "Time to Pay Our Dues" [Weekly Standard, November 8, 1999], and I quote:

"For all the faults of the UN, and for all the gamesmanship that has surrounded the issue of how to force reforms on it, Republicans and Democrats in fact agree that America should pay its bills. The UN was, after all, established under American leadership after World War II."


The UN was "established under American leadership" only if one counts Soviet spy Alger Hiss, who presided as Secretary General over the first meeting of the UN General Assembly, as an American. And is it really all that convincing to argue that both parties agree on the alleged necessity of flushing millions of dollars down the UN rathole? Since bipartisan complicity in porkbarrel spending keeps most government programs safe from the budget-cutter's axe, that the same mechanism is working in this case is hardly surprising.


The Standard urges Republicans to support the plan by Jesse Helms that would pay U.S. "arrears" in return for a number of "stringent reforms" of an unspecified nature. This, they argue, "would show some political smarts," and "deprive the Clinton administration of one cheap, but sometimes effective, foreign policy debating point." Completely ignored in this cynical political calculation is the question of whether the U.S. does or does not owe the UN a "debt."


Here is the reality: the U.S. is "assessed" (i.e. taxed) by UN bureaucrats for a whopping 25 percent of the organization's general budget. That is double the assessment of any other nation. Japan pays 12.45 percent, the Brits fork up 8.93 percent, and nearly a hundred countries pay as little as .01 percent. For having dared to suggest that the bloated and arrogant UN bureaucracy be reformed and seriously trimmed, the U.S. was thrown off the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, which prepares the UN budget. Whatever happened to the good old American slogan of "no taxation without representation"? American taxpayers are robbed of over $4 billion a year to fund the salaries of UN bureaucrats who pay no taxes, flout our laws, and abuse our generosity. I say: let them kick us out of the UN, as threatened. This will give us the unmitigated pleasure of kicking them out of their New York City headquarters – an eviction that would bring cheer to any real conservative's heart.


The lie that we are "cheating" the UN out of its rightful due is the basic premise behind the Weekly Standard's sorry excuse for an argument – but it just ain't so. While the U.S. is assessed for 25 percent of the UN's general fund, the price tag goes up when it comes to the UN's "peacekeeping" (i.e. military) budget. This has expanded from $700 million in 1990 to $3.5 billion today. We are assessed 31.7 percent of the total, in spite of the fact that U.S. law limits our contribution to 25 percent. And so what it boils down to is a matter of sovereignty.


Whose law shall be supreme in the land? Clintonians and neocons together agree that the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions trumps Congress, but I have a question for them: by what authority?


The idea that it is possible to "reform" the UN is something that one expects to hear from the most earnestly naïve liberals, the kind who think that we can chant our way to World Peace: coming from the ostensible right side of the political spectrum, this kind of mush is pretty hard to swallow. The idea that a parasitic bureaucracy can possibly reform itself has been proven wrong in the case of the U.S. – what makes anyone think that it would work with an organization of international moochers who depend on U.S. largess? As Phyllis Schlafly points out: "The arrogant UN bureaucrats didn't even pay lip service to reform until Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL) introduced his bill called the 'United Nations Withdrawal Act.' It would require the United States to withdraw from the UN by the year 2000, while retaining membership in a few independent agencies." The United Nations Withdrawal Act – now there's a bill the title of which warms the cockles of my right-wing isolationist heart!


When Boutros-Boutros Ghali, the former UN Secretary General, dared to let the cat out of the bag by openly calling for a global income tax to support UN "peacekeeping" (i.e. warmaking), the U.S. decided to get rid of him: he had become too much of a political liability. But under Kofi Annan, BB's successor, the dream of a UN tax is about to come true – ironically thanks to none other than Senator Jesse Helms, the alleged "isolationist, whose legislation represents a major breach of American sovereignty. For if a version of the Helms bill passes the House, the arbitrary "assessments" of the UN bureaucracy have won out over American law – a precedent that future generations of Americans may one day remember as an infamous betrayal.


In the past, the debate in Congress has always been centered around the issue of abortion funding: should U.S. tax dollars go to subsidize Third World abortion mills? The answer is obviously an emphatic no, but the issue, so narrowly approached, cannot generate enough opposition. A more wide-ranging critique of foreign aid in general, including aid to the UN, could mobilize a broader coalition: pro-life forces need to join up with noninterventionists of the left and the right and expand the campaign to stop all foreign aid. Kristol and the Weekly Standard wing of the War Party support the UN because it is an instrument of Western imperialism, a useful "humanitarian" cover for the Great Powers (led, of course, by the U.S.) to assert their hegemony, while Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby use the UN to internationalize and legitimize their activities. It is time to balance out the equation.


As the UN incubates a fascist state in Kosovo, the ugly reality of an aspiring World Government is becoming apparent to more and more people all over the world. It used to be that UN-bashing was the exclusive province of the so-called Far Right, but during the Kosovo war – and especially in its aftermath – leftists are waking up to the fact that the UN is an instrument of the elites. Forget all the woozy-minded "we-are-the-world"-type propaganda you've been fed all these years – the reality is a UN-ruled Bosnia where media are closed down for criticizing the military occupation.


Conservatives, for their part, have had few illusions about the United Nations. They know full well it was founded by a bunch of Commies and socialists of one stripe or another, who banded together in San Francisco – where else? – and decided it was time to start building a world government. Ever since the UN was founded, its bureaucracy has generated an avalanche of proposals and official reports that would limit the rights to property, speech, and association, abrogate the U.S. Constitution, redistribute America's wealth on a global basis, and whittle away our sovereignty. As the founder of "Conservatives for the UN," Kristol is going to find himself a member of a very small club.


The Standard complains that "if House Republicans now throw their support to the Helms legislation, they can go a long way toward removing any taint of isolationism that would make Americans question the party's fitness to govern." I have news for Bill Kristol: foreign aid is not popular with Americans, and the failure to give in to the UN's blackmail would prove far more popular than Kristol and his cronies are willing to admit. And I have more news for Kristol & Co.: the Republicans, and conservatives in general, are turning toward what is called "isolationism" as inevitably and naturally as a flower turns its face to the sun. When the House GOP voted against supporting Clinton's war on Serbia, Kristol threatened to bolt the GOP, yet never followed through. When will he wake up to the fact that most conservatives, today, are isolationists? For then and only then will he finally take off his Halloween costume and reveal himself for what he is – just another Upper West Side liberal.


Isolationism is the post-cold war reality, at least on the right side of the political spectrum, and Kristol had better get used to it. Now that the mighty Soviet Union is imploded, conservatives see that the main danger to liberty is not in the Kremlin, or some other foreign capital, but right here in the capital city of the good old USA. On the Right, connections are being made: between a federal authority that feels free to murder dissidents at Waco and a U.S. military unleashed against the equally innocent and hapless people of Serbia, Iraq and the Sudan. This is the silver lining in the dark fabric of the past eight years, the one benefit of the crimes of Bill Clinton – who has done more to educate conservatives as to the evils of big government and global intervention than any conceivable amount of propaganda. Only time will tell if this has been too high a price to pay for enlightenment.


"By approving the Helms plan," avers Kristol, "House Republicans can make it clear that they are not the party of Pat Buchanan, now safely and appropriately relegated to the fringes of national politics." If they do that, this will help Buchanan, not hurt him: selling out on the foreign policy front will drive conservative Republican activists into the Buchanan Brigades in droves, precisely because the traditional conservative opposition to the UN finds no expression in the GOP. Instead of relegating Pat to the "fringes of American politics," as the Standard so disdainfully puts it, the continued capitulation of the Republican Congress to Clintonian demands – on such issues as the funding of the Wye Accords between Israel and the PLO, as well as the issue of UN dues – catapults him into the mainstream and swells the ranks of the Buchananites. This is why the Republican Establishment lives in mortal fear of Pitchfork Pat.


Well then, let them tremble. They are paying the full price of their arrogance. A specter is haunting Bill Kristol and his tiny band of Republican internationalists – the specter of Buchananism. So sit back, my fellow isolationists, and watch the fun – this is going to be a very interesting election year.

Check out Justin Raimondo's article, “China and the New Cold War”

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).

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