February 20, 2008

On Day One: My Submission

Earlier this month, I interviewed Mark Goldberg from On Day One, a new effort from the Better World Fund, founded by Ted Turner. It gives everyone an opportunity to give suggestions to the next American President on what he or she should do on the first day in office. Today, I added my voice to the site and posted the following as my suggestion for either John McCain or Barack Obama.

Our representative democracy relies on strong checks and balances to ensure accountability in government. On day 1, the new American President should make clear to the UN that we will no longer fund a multilateral organization that does not have the same level of accountability. Until we see real reform in the UN, we should ensure that our money does not go towards:

* Human rights panels comprising the world's worst human-rights abusers that manipulate their work for anti-Israel sloganeering

* Peacekeeping forces that routinely victimize women and children for sexual exploitation, so far in over a dozen deployments

* Peacekeeping missions with unrealistic rules of engagement that keep soldiers from defending themselves and the civilians they supposedly protect

* Corrupt executives who twist well-meaning programs into ATMs for dictators and connected dignitaries

* Leadership which refuses to address these situations

The UN has agencies, such as UNICEF, that do good work, and we should continue to fund these efforts. Until the UN undergoes serious institutional reform, however, we should not contribute to maintaining their funding.

What do you think? You can go to the site and rate my suggestion, and comment on it here or there. It hasn't yet published to the site, but it should soon do so.

UPDATE: The first submission didn't take. It's longer than the 500-character limit and it didn't publish. I shortened it and it can now be seen at this link.


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