The UN Threat

by Patrick J. Buchanan – October 9, 1997

U.S. — New Target of U.N. Investigators — You don’t have to be a member of the White Mountain Militia to be a bit frosted at the latest high jinks of the boys on Turtle Bay.

Seems that one Bacre Waly Ndiaye, “a U.N. Human Rights Commission specialist on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions,” has been junketing around the United States, checking out death-row facilities and interviewing murderers — to see if their rights have been violated.

Ndiaye, who hails from Senegal, has charged that some U.S. death sentences result from legal proceedings “which fall short of international guarantees for a fair trial.” Well, he ought to know. According to a 1996 State Department human rights report, Senegal has “serious problems,” particularly “torture by police of subjects during questioning, arbitrary arrest and lengthy pretrial detention.”

Ndiaye is sorely miffed his mission has not been accorded the deference and respect to which the United Nations is entitled. His requests to interview Messrs. Clinton and Gore, Madeleine Albright, Janet Reno and some Supreme Court justices have been brushed off, and Florida prison authorities stiffed the great man completely.

America’s use of the death penalty, Ndiaye contends, goes far beyond acceptable U.N. standards, to which the United States agreed in signing the 1992 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United States “has the commitment to implement these standards, and the problem is that the commitment exists on paper but not at home,” he claims, adding that the United States “is one of the few countries with 3,000 people on death row and … has executed more people than Nigeria.”

Now, to have a gentleman from the blood-soaked continent rip us on human rights has the makings of a wonderful Peter Sellers film. But when word of the Ndiaye Mission reached the Foreign Relations Committee, the senior senator from North Carolina was not amused. In a letter to U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson, Jesse Helms demanded: “Bill, is this man confusing the United States with some other country, or is this an international insult to the United States … ?”

“An absurd U.N. charade,” Helms barked of the Ndiaye Mission.

Again, the Helms gavel has hit the nail on the head. Now that we have agreed to pony up $819 million in “back dues,” these fellows are feeling their Wheaties. Third World delegates who control the U.N. General Assembly have decided to stick it to the Americans as payback for the endless citings of human rights atrocities in their own bloody back yards.

But the Ndiaye Mission raises real questions that cannot be laughed off: Who authorized this clown to travel our country and inspect our prisons? And who is paying for this U.N. investigation of the United States?

Ndiaye says he was directed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Commission and his authority comes from that 1992 covenant. Who does he speak for? “The world.” Says Ndiaye: “I don’t know why anyone would feel threatened or insulted if they are opened to scrutiny. If they have a good reason to be proud, I would think they would welcome the world in to look and see.”

The language is instructive. Clearly, Ndiaye sees himself not as some functionary but as a representative of the world who has an authority superior to that of any nation-state and whose power was conferred upon him when nations gave up their right to resist U.N. inspections in signing that 1992 covenant.

Thus is American sovereignty subtly whittled away. In 1974, U.S. diplomat Richard Gardner suggested how the New World Order might be erected, the problem being those fiercely independent Americans: “(T)he house of world order will have to be built from the bottom up … an end run about national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault.”

Bill Clinton has rarely disguised his commitment to a world where sovereignty is diminished; but Bill Clinton was not in power when this 1992 covenant was signed. George Bush was. And the internationalist wing of the GOP has proven indispensable in the steady surrender of American sovereignty. Without overwhelming Republican support, the United States would not belong today to a supranational World Trade Organization that may yet declare U.S. sanctions on Libya and Iran illegal.

Sen. Helms could do the nation a service by providing an inventory of all sovereignty-restricting treaties to which the United States is signatory, so we can start dissolving them and sending pests like Mr. Ndiaye back to the garden spots whence they came.