The first term of Bush administration truly dishonored the United Nations. The International organization had never before faced so much criticism and setbacks. The United States led a coalition that invaded a sovereign country, Iraq, ignoring the UN Security Council.

This time, the secret services of the United States and Great Britain tapped (interception of communication) the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and some delegations of the Security Council [1]. Later, the UN special representative to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Melo, was killed in Baghdad when he had just come into conflict with the Ambassador Bremer. Kofi Annan was personally accused by US Congressmen of straying (negotiated) from the «oil for food» program [2], while a neoconservative communication group close to the White House claimed the UN to get out of the United States [3] .

Recently, the Washington Post revealed that Washington had also tapped the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed el-Baradei, who was criticized for not being hard enough upon Iran with regard to its nuclear program [4] .

However, there was no doubt that the worst was yet to come. It was obvious that the Bush administration wanted to burry any opposition to its imperial plans, and came up with the project to create a «committee for democracies» within the UN. The idea was not new. It was not even neoconservative. It appeared for the first time in the book of the analyst on international issues James Huntley Pax Democratica: A Strategy for the 21st Century, published in 1996.

The author stated that in order to have a new world order based on democracy, it was necessary to establish a committee for democracy at the UN to speak only one language. In the same year, a private group, the United Nations Association of the United States of America, took up that issue to promote it within the political context of the United States. Its president was then John C. Whitehead, former senior officer of the State Department during Ronald Reagan’s administration.

It would take some time for the idea to pave its way in the diplomatic field. In June 2000, the issue was raised at the Warsaw Conference of Community of Democracies. The final declaration of the Conference urged «cooperation within international organizations» and the establishment of «coalitions and agreements to support resolutions and other international actions to foster democratic governments» [5]. This sparked off the opposition of the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, including the French Foreign Minister, Hubert Vedrine. On the other hand, France was the only one that did not sign the said document [6].

Emma Bonino

Suddenly, the project was brought out during the first term of George W. Bush. The Transnational Radical Party (TRP) was its spear-head during the 38th Congress held in Tirana, Albania. Actually, the Transnational Radical Party was no longer the international of radical parties as it was in the past. It was inactive after the right-wing radical parties joined the Liberal International and the left-wing radicals joined the Socialist International. It was revived by Emma Bonino and soon changed its name and became the Radical and Liberal Party for the United States of America and Europe. In a report published on January 1st, 2003, and submitted to the members of the Parliamentary Assembly on November 3rd, 2002, the Party adopted a number of proposals on the said subject. Apart from establishing a community of democracies, it provided the following:

 «To officially establish Fora of Democracies, in other words, groups of democratic countries within the system of the United Nations, and international and regional organizations, such as the European Council and the Organization of American States. These groups shall meet at least six times a year and ensure that the treaty establishing the said organizations is implemented effectively.

 To emphasize in International and Democracy Fora on the respect for human rights and democratic principles during the election process of the agencies and the appointment of experts in control agencies.

 To promote at the Commission on Human Rights and the UN General Assembly resolutions to establish a preparatory committee that would summit proposals to found the «World Organization of Democracy».

 To promote initiatives at the United Nations that, through the adoption of resolutions by the General Assembly, submit to the Security Council the situations in which systematic violations of human rights and principles of democracy and the rule of law be considered as a threat to international peace and security.» [7].

38th Congress of the Transnational Radical Party in Tirana.

This project could only be of the interests of the United States, where Heritage Foundation published some time later a line of argument for the Bush administration. In the text, Nile Gardiner and David B. Rivkin, explained to the President of the United States how his government shall act to weaken the role of the United Nations on post-war Iraq and, above all, how to limit his prerogatives and entrust him one duty only for humanitarian tasks [8] .

A few months later, the neoconservatives made a synthesis of those different programs through the think-tank (center for investigation, propaganda and dissemination of ideas, mainly of political nature) Freedom House that is leading the coordination between non-governmental organizations and former political leaders and intellectuals. This eterotelic conglomerate started by sending a letter to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the «pilot-group» of the Community of Democracies established after the Warsaw Conference in June 2000 [9] that urged the creation of a «group of democracies in the United Nations in the fall of 2003» on the basis of the Sates which are already members of the Community of Democracies and under the same criteria [10] .

The list of signatories included the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick, the president of the Open Society Institute George Soros, the European deputy Emma Bonino, the executive director of the Campaign for Un Reform Don Kraus, Lee Hamilton, the director of Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the director of Democracy Coalition Project, Richard C. Rowson, president of the Council for a Community of Democracies... [11]. On the other hand, such program was based on the controversy that affected the UN Commission on Human Rights that is chaired by Libya and includes Sudan, Saudi Arabia, China, Zimbabwe, Cuba and Syria, countries whose efforts on human rights have been at least questioned [12].

On April 3, 2003, two members of the US Congress, a Democrat and a Republican, submitted the United States International Leadership Act, whose mission was to solve the problem that «since long ago, the worst enemies of human rights have manipulated the system of the United Nations to recognize its repressive kingdom and undermine the cause of democracy». The solution suggested by David Dreier and Tom Lantos was simple: to establish a «committee (working group) of democracies», which had as corollary to ban non-member countries of the committee from leading commissions at the UN [13]. In other words, Washington currently moves forward with an increasingly indiscrete undermining of the foundations even of the UN. After its refusal to accept the sovereignty of nations, it questioned the legal status of their representation. As a result of a long legislative process, the document was adopted in April 2004.

Although the United States did not want to be seen as the promoters of this new proposal, there was no doubt that this UN «reform» came directly from Washington. The novelty was that the efforts to torpedo the international organization were bipartisan.

In the past, conservative organizations were reserved to do so such as Heritage Foundation, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, and enjoyed the support of neoconservative personalities like Richard Perle, David Frum or Joshua Muravchik to focus on precise demands, particularly the relations between the UN and the United States and the strong anti-Israeli stance of the organization. Newt Gringrich and Jesse Helms had been able, in that way, to block the payment of one billion dollars owed by the government of the United States to the UN. Now, a number of responsible democrats like Madeleine Albright have joined them in their crusade, including non-governmental organizations which are considered progressive, especially Citizens for Global Solution [14] .

This approach had not been recent. It dated back to Clinton’s second term, during which Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State by then, came up with a theory on the right to ignore the San Francisco Charter ((1) a Charter that led to the foundation of the United States at the end of the Second World War) to bomb Serbia during Kosovo’s conflict. Her speech on the need to impose democratic values within international relations (without being subjected) is currently taken up by her successor Condoleeza Rice, with whom she shares the same «father», Joseph Korbell [15] .

This method reminded us the one chosen by the president Woodrow Wilson immediately after the First World War to support the European project of the League of Nations (SDN) in order to change its rules, but with no intention at all to join it. Later, he organized a false opposition in Congress not to ratify the SDN Treaty. This opposition questioned SDN’s members since it was not that democratic. Actually, Washington did not want to impose the rules that it did on others. In 1919, the United Sates preferred to make the first bombardment with airplanes against civil populations in Haiti [16] rather than joining the League of Nations.

In March 2004, State Department spokesperson, Richard Boucher, stated that the United States «supports the establishment of a committee of democracies to create a coalition of democratic countries that would work together to enhance the role of the United Nations on issues pertaining to democracy and human rights [17]». The US Ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights indicated that now it is one of the main objectives.

[1Thom Saint-Pierre: « Washington et Londres placent l’ONU sur ecoute », Voltaire, March 4, 2003

[2«Le harcelement de Kofi Annan», Voltaire, December 13, 2004

[3« Qui veut « bouter l’ONU hors des Etats-Unis » ? », Voltaire, November 23, 2004

[4Dafna Linzer: «IAEA Leader’s Phone Tapped», Washington Post

[5Final Warsaw Declaration: Toward a Community of Democracies; June 27, 2000

[6Paul Labarique: «La democratie forcee», Voltaire, January 25, 2005

[7Pour une organization mondiale de la democratie et des democraties. Report presented by the Transnational Radical Party to the members of the Parliamentarian Assembly of the European Council, January 1st, 2003

[8Nile Gardiner and David B. Rivkin: «Blueprint for Freedom: Limiting the Role of the United Nations in Post-War Iraq». Heritage Foundation, April 21st, 2003

[9The member States of the «pilot-group» are South Africa, Chile, Republic of Korea, the United States, India, Mali, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and the Czech Republic

[10Criteria for Participation and Procedures, U.S. Department of State, September 27, 2002

[11Creation of UN Democracy Group Urged, Freedom House, August 12, 2003

[12The first document is a joint report of Freedom House with the Council on Foreign Relations Enhancing US Leadership at the United Nations, joint task force Freedom-House-CFR presided by David Dreier and Lee Hamilton, drafted by Lee Feinstein and Adrian Karatnycky, October 10, 2002

[13«Dreier, Lantos Introduce Key Diplomatic Legislation», Council on Foreign Relations, April 2003

[14Laura Rozen: «Building a Better Un», American Prospect, January 7, 2004

[15Joseph Korbell is Madeleine Albright’s father. Professor of Foreign Relations at Denver University, specialist in Soviet Union issues, is introduced by Condoleeza Rice as «one of the most important persons in my life, after my parents».

[16Suzy Castor: «L’Occupation americaine d’Haiti», Henri Deschamps editorial, Port-au-Prince, 1988

[17Statement on US Participation in the 2004 U.N. Commission on Human Rights, March 12, 2004