A suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria. Denials by the usual suspects, howls by the usual suspects, and our President promising an armed response. Is any of this remotely surprising? More germanely, is the promised response likely to accomplish anything productive?

Already, talk that this could lead to World War III is flooding the news pages. Already, brinkmanship and escalating rhetoric is joining it. Haven’t we seen all this before? Why would we expect a different outcome this time?

The use of chemical weapons against civilians is an affront to the world and a war crime. Fortunately, we have an international organization that, on paper at least, seems purpose-built for responding to this atrocity. Thus, allow me to propose a shit-or-get-off-the-pot proposal, that would finally address the farce that this organization currently is.

I speak, of course, of the United Nations.

Here’s what I suggest.

America calls on the United Nations to investigate the allegation. As an incentive, America points out that she provides 22% of the UN’s budget, and 29% of the UN’s peacekeeping expenditures. If the UN actually does something about the matter, America will continue in her financial support. If, however, the UN does as expected, I suggest that America determine fair market rent for the 17 acres of prime Manhattan real estate that the UN currently occupies, add in all the government outlays made at all levels to support the population of diplomats et al, and for good measure fold in all the monies member states owe to New York in terms of unpaid fines, etc. America’s contribution should then be adjusted downward by this figure. America gives $8 billion a year to the UN. Seventeen acres of prime Manhattan real estate ain’t peanuts, and depending on zoning, best-use, etc, could put a serious dent the money American taxpayers funnel to a useless and often counterproductive organization.

Meanwhile, as we sit and wait for the UN to do nothing, it would behoove us to demand that the President get Congressional authorization before acting any further in Syria – as the law of the land requires. It’s well past time that the balance of power between the Congress and the Presidency be restored when it comes to waging war – especially foreign wars.

Of course, I’m not going to hold my breath. Despite a yeoman’s job by Nikki Haley at the UN, I figure business will continue, mostly as usual, there, with the world’s elites using that organization as an excuse to indulge in New York City’s arts, culture, and restaurant scenes (plus, Russia would surely veto any UN involvement, anyway, with no one but us caring). And, I cannot imagine this feckless Congress (or the next one, or the next one) actually putting itself on the record regarding war. Better to let the President – whoever it is – take the heat should things go wrong.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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