Why Do Some People Dislike the United Nations?

The best answer to any question.
Jan. 31 2014 1:52 PM

Why Do Some People Dislike the United Nations?

The United Nations Security Council meets after a vote on a Syria resolution at U.N. headquarters in 2012 in New York City.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by John Burgess, former U.S. foreign service officer:


I think it's because there are sometimes gross differences between aspirations for the U.N. and its actual effectiveness. Of course, when the U.N. takes a stance that is in direct opposition to national policies, its utility is questioned.

For some in the U.S.—and it's not just viewers of Fox TV, contrary to what some assert—the U.N. seems to be a way to promote values other than those espoused by the U.S. Constitution. Various efforts by the U.N. to impose a global order that would, for example, prevent criticism of religions, are seen as anti-freedom. The fact that nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran would hold positions on Human Rights Commissions seems at least a joke, if not a direct insult to the concept of human rights. U.N. efforts toward an arms-trade treaty appear to threaten U.S. Second Amendment constitutional rights. That's a very hot-button issue in the U.S.—one that transcends political parties.

The U.N. is seen by some as a huge money-suck, too. The U.S. contribution to the U.N. is large—22 percent of the U.N. budget—and some think that money could be better spent, or not spent at all, given the U.S. debt.

There are indeed "black helicopter" folk who see the U.N. as part of a secret effort to force all countries into one New World Order, with a unitary government that supersedes all national governments and their laws. Like those who see the Illuminati behind everything, they can be ignored.

And yes, there are xenophobic and racist Americans who just don't like foreigners very much. They'd prefer to have nothing to do with them. These sometimes see the U.N. as a back-door way of imposing values other than their own.

More questions on United Nations:


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Why Not Just Turn Campus Rape Allegations Over to the Police? Because the Police Don't Investigate.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.