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Tom Ridge on Foreign Policy

Secretary of Homeland Defense; Former Republican Governor (PA)


UNICEF is ok, but the rest of the UN is ineffective

Early on in my political life, I was a strong supporter of the UN. Having some kind of international forum at which representatives from countries around the world can interact and collectively take action to prevent human rights abuses or avoid war or address poverty was an inspired idea.

But with notable exceptions, such as UNICEF and its response to national disasters, the organization hasn't served the purposes its founders intended. The mantra is always "Take it to the U.N." In the case of Iraq, what was the magic number of sanctions that the international body could impose on Saddam before taking more drastic action? 12, 20, 50? Like many Americans, I had grown impatient with the posturing and impotence the United Nations displayed. After all, Saddam had used poison gas against his own people, and thousands of Kurds had died as a result. The United Nations could not prevent such a disaster, nor could it adequately respond to it.

Source: The Test of our Times, by Tom Ridge, p.150 , Sep 1, 2009

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