Saudi Arabia on UN’s Status of Women Panel
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Guess who won a seat on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women? This is the Commission dedicated exclusively “to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” Does the answer leap out at you when you find that the new appointee ranks 141st of the 144 nations rated by the World Economic Forum in its 2016 Global Gender Gap report? OK, quiz over. The answer is Saudi Arabia.).
The Saudi Kingdom is so dismissive of the rights of women that it’s the only country worldwide where woman can’t drive an automobile. In addition, every woman must have a male guardian who alone can approve her schooling, career, and travel, even to obtain health care. Her guardian is typically her father or her husband, but it could even be her underage son.
Only last month, a 24-year-old Saudi woman sought to flee a forced marriage by going to the Philippines in hopes of getting to Australia. She was held and then turned over to two male relatives for the trip back to Saudi Arabia where she will be dealt with. In the recent past, a Saudi princess won asylum in England when a British court granted her immigration status because she had produced a child with a man outside the reach of Saudi detectives. She was very fortunate.
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer commented, “Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist the town fire chief.” He called the election “a black day for women’s rights and for all human rights.” Add to all of this the fact that the vote to welcome the Saudi Kingdom for a seat on this UN panel was done in secrecy. Few know who approved such an appointment. Saudi Arabia will begin its four-year membership on the Commission in 2018.
One has to wonder what’s going on here. Has the UN lost its collective sanity? Why choose a country so obviously at odds with the stated purpose of the Commission?
We don’t know the answers to these questions. But consider the UN’s steady growth in power over all nations and all humans. None of this buildup toward world government is affected by the appointment. It may even cause many to dismiss the UN as a major global power that is not to be taken seriously. Critics of the world body’s powerful commissions, departments, offices, and missions will easily be led to believe that this appointment of an obvious abuser of women’s rights shows how inept the entire UN truly is.
If that’s why Saudi Arabia will get a place on this UN Commission, the UN has won by painting itself as a bumbling entity that threatens no one. Meanwhile, UN progress toward its goal of unchallenged rule over all of mankind continues.
Sensible lovers of freedom in America and elsewhere must continue to call for breaking the UN’s tightening grip on the planet. Americans who want the U.S. out of the UN are encouraged to continue spreading the whole truth about the world body. Let the cry to Get US out! grow louder and reach many more. Let an abuser of women’s rights proceed to have a seat on the Women’s Rights Commission. But don’t anyone forget what else must become more widely known about the United Nations itself. Educational tools telling the whole truth about the UN are available at shopjbs.org or call 1-800-342-6491.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.
Building the Case for Nonintervention: What’s NATO?
by JBS President John F. McManus
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was sold to the American people and the U.S. Congress in 1949 as an alliance needed to prevent the Soviet Union from gobbling up more nations to its West. With such an attitude prevailing, NATO won ratification in the Senate with only 13 negative votes. Opponents of entangling the U.S. in additional international pacts claimed correctly that membership in NATO would require U.S. involvement in disputes all over the world. Only a few knew that NATO was created as a “Regional Arrangement” authorized by Articles 51-54 of the United Nations Charter. Then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson didn’t attempt to hide this relationship and, in his March 19, 1949 speech to the U.S. Senate, he confidently proclaimed, “… it is designed to fit precisely into the framework of the United Nations” and is “an essential measure for strengthening the United Nations.”
The text of the very brief NATO Treaty, only 14 brief articles, actually mentions “the United Nations” five times. The treaty’s Article 5 pledges all signers to consider an attack on any member nation as an attack on all that must be met by all with a military response. In 1950, membership in NATO was cited by President Truman as his authority to send American forces into Korea to counter North Korea’s invasion of its southern neighbor. Later, the precedents established by NATO led to creation of a virtually identical treaty known as the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). President Lyndon Johnson pointed to it for authority to commit hundreds of thousands of U.S. forces to Vietnam. The two wars were the first waged by the United States without victory. And NATO is now the overall leader of the military action in Afghanistan where victory is seemingly impossible.
NATO has recently raised its voice in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean area of Ukraine, and to the further stationing by Russia of tens of thousands of troops near the Ukraine-Russia border. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that the Russian actions have “undermined the very foundations” of the relationship that NATO has been building with Russia. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined with officials of other NATO member nations in planning to build up air, sea and land forces for possible use in reversing Russia’s moves. Should force be employed against Russia, one can be certain that its main ingredient will consist of U.S. military might. But such a development is extremely unlikely inasmuch as it would have to stem from authorization supplied by the UN Security Council where Russia possesses a veto.
Seemingly lost in all of this headline-grabbing activity is the fact that the people in Crimea have already approved being annexed by Russia. At most, the situation involves only the two neighbors, Ukraine and Russia. In years gone by, such a low-level problem would involve only those affected by it. Now, thanks to the United Nations and its NATO subsidiary, any such dispute seems poised to become a regional or even a world conflagration. UN and NATO leaders seem desirous of injecting their organizations and their forces. And, if they succeed, existing treaty obligations will require the U.S. to participate, even lead the response.
All of which points to reasons why the United States should withdraw from NATO and its parent, the United Nations. Doing so would terminate the ongoing U.S. policy that has American forces acting as the policemen of the world. And respect for the United States would begin to rise again to heights previously enjoyed when our nation minded its own business.