Here’s a book I intend to acquire, (hat tip Powerline) A Stagnant Cesspool in Turtle Bay:

Is the United Nations as bad as its critics claim? Alas, it is worse–far worse. The current oil-for-food scandal, involving the diversion of billions of dollars, is merely the tip of the iceberg. A good part of what lies below is now brought to light in this remarkable memoir by Pedro Sanjuan, that rarest of creatures, an American who served on the staff of the secretary-general for more than a decade. The U.N. Gang (Doubleday, 208 pages, $24.95) is not merely a tell-all expose; it is a vivid portrait of a peculiarly dysfunctional culture–with an uncomfortably specific recital of names, facts, and figures.
The principal characteristic of the organization, in Mr. Sanjuan’s telling, is its massive waste of resources. The Secretariat alone employs 6,000 people at annual budget of more than $2 billion. What do these people do? Nobody can actually say, and it is considered bad form to ask. Its functionaries arrive at 10 a.m., take a three-hour lunch, and usually depart for their homes at 4 p.m. to avoid the evening traffic. Even during “working” hours many prefer to while away their time in a luxurious cafe-lounge on the top floor of the building.
It’s not clear, either, what useful tasks are performed by those who bother to remain on the floors below, since there is massive duplication of functions and no attempt whatever at rationalization or coordination. One example of expensive make-work is the U.N. publications department, which churns out thousands of documents that nobody reads in half a dozen languages, at a cost of $750 per page. Perhaps the most serious work being accomplished in the building takes place in the garage, where–during Mr. Sanjuan’s time at least–a very sophisticated drug-smuggling operation was under way.
During the Cold War, the most serious problem posed by the organization was infiltration of the Secretariat by Soviet intelligence. Indeed, Mr. Sanjuan writes, “the Soviets actually controlled every important aspect of the U.N. Secretariat.” Some of his anecdotes are wildly funny–though they weren’t so funny at the time.
Since the end of the Cold War, Soviet hegemony at the Secretariat has been replaced by the growing influence of the Islamic bloc. Further, before 1989 the U.N. was basically a playground for representatives of irrelevant Third World states to pretend to be important (and enjoy shopping at Bloomingdale’s), while the U.S. and the Soviet Union confronted one another in more important places. Since the collapse of the latter, however, the Secretariat has refocused on undermining the United States–and the U.N.’s other bugaboo–Israel.
Indeed, the most shocking part of this book is the unwholesome obsession of the U.N. culture with Jews real or imagined, whether in Israel or the United States. Although Israel should have roughly 15 nominees working in the Secretariat, until recently there wasn’t a single one; even now, a disproportionate number are Palestianians with Israeli passports. As for the United States, it is alleged to be wholly under the thumb of Jews. When congressional critics like Senator Nancy Kassebaum or the late Senator John Heinz raise embarrassing questions that have nothing to do with Israel–say, about the U.N.’s finances–they are blithely dismissed as Jews themselves.


I often wonder why we just don’t send these people somewhere else. They are sort of like the elephant on the living room floor. We continue to walk right by them and refuse to notice their presence. In my opinion the UN is a useless and worthless organization that only sucks up money and sucks at everything else. Until we get “Mad as Hell”, we’ll just have to put up with it.


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