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UNITED STATES and the United Nations

Not even all Republicans were impressed with the hoopla of the Republican convention. Republican Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell said it was "part convention, part circus, and part flea-market." Great concern was aroused around the world by the implication that, with a strong military and the Star Wars project, the United States could go it alone. The United Nations was not mentioned, in fact the implied references to it were negative. The Economist (8/5/00) had a leader subtitled "The world and the United States need each other more than either of them realizes". There followed a long article admitting the shortcomings of the UN, which no serious person denies. Most Americans have far more confidence in NATO, but that does not diminish the potential role of the UN.

The grand design of Philip II of Spain was to rule the world from Madrid and Lisbon. He mounted the Gran Armada, an enormous enterprise, the Star Wars program of its day. It failed, opening the way for little England to emerge as a world power.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Mexico and Colombia were disputing hegemony in the Caribbean. Little did they or the world realize that hegemony there, and later over much of the globe would pass to the US.

The US exercises political and military hegemony from Washington, economic hegemony from New York. Are they destined to suffer the fate of Madrid and Lisbon? Who knows. In any case, the US should not assume that it can go it blithely alone, with the UN like a wallflower at the world ball.

Ronald Hilton - 8/06/00