FACE TO FACE: Should Canada bow out of the United Nations?
Each game of the recent Rugby World Cup saw 30 gentlemanly ruffians in the most violent of human interplay, tightly monitored and controlled by one referee, whose whistles and admonitions they accepted as law.
Why? Simply because teams agreed to respect the legitimate authority of the referee, whether they agreed with every decision or not.
If, like rugby players, nations were willing to respect the authority of their international referee, the United Nations would be thriving instead of teetering towards collapse.
We wouldn't now have a U.S.-led discussion about leaving the UN and forming a competing organization that would include only countries that love liberty and would likely not include evil empires, axes of evil, those swarthy in complexion or anyone French or Muslim-ish.
One can whine a bit about the refereeing but, in the end, if the strongest team in the draw refuses to accept the authority of the referee, the tournament can't go on.
My colleague will discuss waste, poor decisions and overly broad goals but he won't mention the real problem the UN faces: that its strongest member only supports an international referee when the right call - its call - is made.
We don't want a North Korean leading UNESCO. Someone we don't like is on a human rights committee. You should have done more about Darfur. U.S. law (which apparently transcends international agreement) says that we can't pay fees to any organization that mentions Palestine.
So we'll drop out of UNESCO, withhold billions in UN fees, take unilateral military action and support a leading presidential candidate (Newt Gingrich) who openly advocates that the U.S. not pay United Nations fees in order to save money, presumably to better fight the "war on terror."
And so it goes. The U.S. cherry picks its support for only UN initiatives that serve U.S. self-interest. In 17 current UN peacekeeping actions, not one U.S. troop is active in support of the international community.
If we support international perspective and oversight, the IMF, international law, UNICEF and myriad other UN organizations, we can't support thumbing our nose at the referee, taking our ball and going home.
Should Canada join the U.S. and leave the United Nations? No.
Let's stick with and respect the international referee.
Face to Face columnist Jim Nelson is a retired Tri-City teacher and principal who lives in Port Moody. He has contributed a number of columns on education-related issues to The Tri-City News.