American public sours on the UN

UN flag"GET IT TOGETHER OR GET OUT" is the eye-catching headline on a new poll for the conservative Hudson Institute on U.S. attitudes toward the United Nations. The poll confirms that since 9/11, Americans have become more skeptical of the global body. Fifty-two percent of respondents feel more unfavorable toward the United Nations and just 27 percent feel more favorable. Just 4 percent are much more favorable to it, which should act as a reality check to those who expect that in the post-Bolton-Bush era, the global hegemon will be sending bouquets, not brickbats to Turtle Bay.

A plurality—44 to 37 percent—feels that the United Nations generally opposes U.S. interests. Fifty-seven percent of respondents think that if the United Nations can't be "reformed and made more effective, it should be scrapped altogether". The poll, though, is far from all bad news for those who support greater U.S. engagement with the United Nations. A whopping 73 percent favor the United States taking a "a more active role in the UN" as it is "the best way for us to influence world affairs."

The other people who'll be pleasantly surprised with the results are the French. Despite the survey phrasing the question on France's membership on the Security Council like this: "France has not been a world power for almost a century. They shouldn't be a permanent member of the Security Council – holding a powerful veto over world and American interests," 44 percent of respondents still disagree. One final thing worth noting: Democrats and Republicans hold nearly identical views of the global body.  


What hasn't changed?




FP's September/October cover story argues provocatively that what's remarkable five years after the attacks of September 11 is how little the world has changed. Globalization, trade, the movement of goods and people have not come to a screeching halt. In fact, in many cases, economic and social forces that we expected to suffer have actually grown.

  • Just 40 market days after 9/11, the Dow Jones closed above its September 10 mark.
  • Global trade in 2001 amounted to $8 trillion. Last year, it was $12 trillion.
  • In 2001, 688 million tourists traveled internationally. Last year, more than 800 million did.
  • Fourteen buildings taller than the World Trade Center have either been built, proposed, or began construction since 9/11.
  • Last year, the U.S. rejected fewer foreigners for H1B visas - the work permit for those who possess a special occupational expertise in, say, medicine, engineering, or science - than it did in 2001.

And then there are some indicators that perhaps aren't so surprising given the dawn of the war on terror:

  • Growth in America's budgeted defense spending between 2001 and 2006: 39 percent.
  • In 2001, the Pentagon was spending the same as the next 14 biggest militaries combined. By 2005, it was outspending the next 14 by $116 billion.