Jessie Helms
Speech to Security Council
Criticizing UN

January 20, 2000

Republican Sen. and Foreign Relations Chairman Jesse Helms today delivered a speech to the United Nations Security Council. Helms, one of the most persistent critics of the world body said,
"It's my hope that there can begin today a pattern of understanding and friendship between you who serve your respective countries in the United Nations, and those of us who serve not only in the United States government, but also the millions of Americans whom we represent." Helms added, "It's not my intent to offend you in any way, and I hope I will not. It is my intent to extend to you my hand of friendship and convey the hope that in the days to come and in retrospect, we can join in a mutual respect that will enable all of us to work together in an atmosphere of friendship and hope -- the hope to do everything we can to achieve world peace around the globe." Striking a more combative tone, Helms said, "It may very well be that some of the things that I feel obliged to say will not meet with your immediate approval, if ever." In that respect, Helms continued, "I want the American people to value a United Nations that recognizes and respects their interests, and for the United Nations to value the significant contributions by and of the American people. . And most not regard the United Nations as an end in and of itself. They see it as just one aspect of American's diplomatic arsenal. And to the extent that the United Nations is effective, the American people will support it. To the extent that it becomes ineffective, or worse, a burden, the American people, through its elected representatives, will cast it aside." Helms continued, "The American people see the United Nations aspiring to establish itself the central authority of a new international order of global laws and global governance. This is an international order the America people, I guarantee you, do not and will not countenance. The United Nations must respect national sovereignty in the United States and everywhere else. The United Nations serves nation-states, not the other way around. This principle is central to the legitimacy and the ultimate survival of the United Nations, and it is a principle that must be protected. Saying the American people share his criticisms of the UN, Helms said, "I have received literally thousands of communications from Americans all across the country, expressing their deep frustration with this institution. They know instinctively that the UN lives and breathes on the hard-earned money of the American taxpayers, among others. Yet, they have heard comments here in New York constantly calling the United States a dead-beat nation. I dissent from that and so do the American people. They have heard UN officials declaring absurdly that countries like Fiji and Bangladesh are carrying America's burden in peacekeeping. They've seen the majority of the UN members routinely voting against America in the General Assembly. They have read the reports of the ruckus cheering of the UN delegates in Rome when US efforts to amend the International Criminal Court Treaty to protect American soldiers were defeated. They read in the newspapers that despite all the human rights abuses taking place and dictatorships around the globe, a UN special reporter deciding that his most pressing task was to investigate human rights violations in the United States. The American people hear all of this and they resent it." Rejecting the frequent UN argument that that US has not paid their share of back dues to the UN, Helms said, "Last year, the American people contributed a total of more than $ 1.4 billion to the United Nations system in assessments and voluntary contributions. That's pretty generous. But it's only the tip of the iceberg. The American taxpayer also spent an additional $ 8.779 billion from the United States military budget to support various UN resolutions and peacekeeping operations around the world. No other nation on Earth comes even close to matching that investment." Helms added, "So you can see perhaps why many Americans reject the suggestion that their country is a deadbeat nation. And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I resent it too." Helms concluded, "A Untied Nations that focuses on helping sovereign nations work together is worth keeping; a United Nations that insists on trying to impose a utopian vision on America and the world will collapse under its own weight. If the United Nations respects the sovereign rights of the American people and serves them as an effective tool of diplomacy, it will earn their respect and support. But a United Nations that seeks to impose its presumed authority on the American people without their consent begs for confrontation and, I want to be candid, eventual US withdrawal."

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