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Poll: Americans Give Thumbs Down to UN

Posted by kinchendavid on September 13, 2006

By  Jim Kouri

Special to DavidKinchen.com

In a new poll, the American people, by and large, are giving the United Nations and it’s immense bureaucracy a thumbs down, with many saying the entire institution should be scrapped.

The Oil-for-Food scandal, serious financial scandals, the mediocre performances in Rwanda, Darfur, Somalia, and the Middle East, the confusing bureaucratic structure of the UN, the lack of serious effort against terrorism and terrorist nations, the rape of children by UN peacekeepers — all these and more contribute to Americans’ view that the United Nations is in need of drastic reform, realignment, and a reality-check.

Unless the UN can show marked improvement in accountability and performance, Americans will not hesitate to demand the US government pull the plug on the UN.

A majority of Americans (57%) now believe the United Nations should be scrapped and replaced if it cannot be reformed and made more effective. That result is from an extensive national benchmark survey about the UN on the 5th anniversary of 9/11, conducted by Luntz Maslansky Strategic Research. The survey was released Sept. 12, 2006 at a Hudson Institute conference, “The UN and Beyond: United Democratic Nations.”

The American people express serious reservations about UN objectives, results and activities. Overall, the country is evenly split when asked to evaluate the UN: 48% favorable, 45% unfavorable. And while a large majority (73%) want the United States to “take a more active role in the UN” because “it is the best way for us to influence world affairs,” consider the following:

— 75% believe the UN is no longer “effective” and “needs to be held more

— 71% believe the UN “needs to be considerably reformed.”

— 67% believe “there are too many undemocratic nations in the UN that do
not care about promoting democracy and freedom.”

— Only 37% believe the UN is “effective in PREVENTING wars and military

— Only 32% believe the UN is “effective in ENDING wars and military

— It is therefore not surprising that 71% of the population want America
to cut its financial contribution to the UN.  A majority from every
geographic, demographic, attitudinal and political subgroup wants to
see reductions in American funding.

The rejection of the UN is bipartisan. Democrats expressed negative evaluations of the UN performance only slightly below the national average, while Republicans were slightly above.

“We live in an era of disappointment and dismay towards our governing institutions, but the hostility towards the UN goes even deeper,” said Dr. Frank Luntz, author of the survey.

America is a politically polarized country, but when Republicans and Democrats alike both agree that the UN has failed, that’s not only instructive, it’s significant.”

The prognosis for opinion and credibility improvement is not good, either. Consider the following:

— Only 27% of Americans have a more favorable opinion of the United
Nations since 9/11.  By comparison, a majority (52%) now have less
favorable impression of the international organization — a significant
2 to 1 negative ratio.

— Just 24% believe the UN played an effective role in the Darfur

— Less than a majority (44%) think the UN handled the current Israeli-Hezbollah conflict effectively.

“The problem for the UN isn’t just perception, it’s actual performance,” said pollster Luntz. “Whether it’s failure to protect human rights, stop a war, or even just prevent one, the American people are simply giving up on the UN. What happens with Iran may well be the UN’s last opportunity to restore any sense of credibility. An unsuccessful outcome could promote widespread calls for a new international organization.”

There are several immediate policy questions and implications that the poll touched on — and all of them indicate an overwhelmingly unified public response. They include:

— Only 26% of the population believes America gets “good value for all
the money we contribute to the United Nations every year.”

— Asked a slightly different way, a still strikingly low 31% believes
the US gets good value for the five billion dollar annual US
contribution to the UN.

Luntz offered the following conclusion: “The calls of UN Ambassador Bolton for fundamental reform at the UN have near-universal support in America.”


                                 * * * *

Jim Kouri is fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). He’s a former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. Kouri has appeared as on-air commentator for more than 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc.  Kouri’s own website is   http://jimkouri.U.S.




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