"Relations Between the United States and the United Nations Are at an All-Time Low"
Not even close. One day before the U.N. General Assembly convened in 1952, Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin began hearings in New York on the loyalty of U.S. citizens employed by the United Nations. A federal grand jury then opened a competing inquiry in the same city on the same subject. (Some U.N. employees called to testify even invoked their constitutional right against self-incrimination.) The furor generated massive indignation and mutual U.S.-U.N. distrust. J.B. Mathews, chief investigator for the House Un-American Activities Committee, declared that the United Nations "could not be less of a cruel hoax if it had been organized in Hell for the sole purpose of aiding and abetting the destruction of the United States."
East-West and North-South tensions transformed the General Assembly into hostile territory through much of the 1970s and 1980s. U.S. ambassadors such as Daniel P. Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick earned combat pay rebutting the verbal pyrotechnics of delegates in the throes of anti-Semitic passions and Marxist moonbeams. The low point was the passage in 1975 of a resolution equating Zionism with racism.
In the 1990s, supporters of the Contract With America, led by Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia, lambasted U.N. peacekeeping, blocked payment of U.N. dues, and ridiculed U.N. programs. Similarly, Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina spoke for many of the far-right-minded but wrong-headed when he termed the United Nations "the nemesis of millions of Americans."
Today, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, U.S. citizens consider U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan the fourth most respected world leader (trailing, in order, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.S. President George W. Bush, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon). The United States has paid back most of its acknowledged U.N. arrears. The United Nations' agenda and core U.S. security interests have gradually converged. For example, the U.N. Charter says nothing about the importance of elected government, yet U.N. missions routinely sponsor democratic transitions, monitor elections, and promote free institutions. The charter explicitly prohibits U.N. intervention in the internal affairs of any government (save for enforcement actions), yet the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, created in 1993 at the United States' urging, exists solely to nudge governments to do the right thing by their own people. The United Nations' founders never mentioned terrorism, yet today the United Nations encourages governments to ratify antiterrorist conventions, freeze terrorist assets, and tighten security on land, in air, and at sea. Polls continue to show that a significant majority of U.S. citizens believe the United States should seek U.N. authorization before using force and should cooperate with other nations through the world body.