G. Edward Griffin. The Fearful Master: A Second Look at the United Nations. Western Islands, 1964. See here to purchase the book.
G. Edward Griffin is affiliated with the conservative John Birch Society and has served as the Contributing Editor of its New American magazine. He is known primarily for his critique of the Federal Reserve System in The Creature from Jekyll Island, which Glenn Beck popularized. Griffin has written for decades, however, and one of the books that he wrote was The Fearful Master, published in 1964. Whereas The Creature from Jekyll Island is a second look at the Federal Reserve System, The Fearful Master is a second look at the United Nations. In Bircher fashion, Griffin depicts the UN as part of a sinister plan to create a one-world government.
Griffin starts by telling the story of Katanga, an anti-Communist country that seceded from the Congo in the early 1960’s. The UN brutally forced Katanga to reunite with the Congo. Griffin fears that we will see more of this in the future, and that the UN may even use such force against the United States.
Griffin proceeds to make other arguments about the United Nations. He contends that Communists, Communist sympathizers, and leftists possess an enormous amount of power and influence in it. That enables Communists to direct world events to their advantage and to have spies in the U.S., since the UN headquarters is on American soil.
Griffin looks at the UN charter and other UN documents and concludes that their endorsement of “rights” takes a remarkably different form from that of the United States. The U.S. sees the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as gifts from God. The UN, by contrast, fails to honor Christianity in its chapels and treats rights as the gift of the State, thereby lessening their value. Moreover, the UN recognizes rights to economic provision (i.e., food, shelter), which not only encourages socialism but may also be cited to compel the U.S. to send aid to Communist countries.
Griffin looks at UNESCO and concludes, from its documents, that it seeks to indoctrinate American schoolchildren to forsake their patriotism in favor of a globalist mindset, which is more conducive to a one-world government. He also criticizes the UN-directed mission in the Korean War. While it was ostensibly opposed to the Communist North, it was led by Communists and hampered any attempt to defeat North Korea, through bombing the Yalu or allowing anti-Communist Taiwan to provide military assistance. Although the Soviet Union outwardly opposed the Korean War, it actually wanted the U.S. to get involved in it, for American defeat would discourage anti-Communists throughout the world and waste American resources. It would also solidify the United Nations as a world police force. The Soviets protested against the Korean War but failed to show up to veto it, which they would have done had their opposition been serious and genuine.
Griffin attempts to refute the view that the UN is no threat to the U.S., since the General Assembly’s resolutions are non-binding, and the U.S. can exercise its veto in the UN Security Council. According to Griffin, a veto in the Security Council can be nullified anytime enough countries in the UN believe there is an emergency. Treaties that the UN facilitates become legally binding on the U.S. and can even supersede the Bill of Rights. The UN, notwithstanding its denials to the contrary, has even sought to interfere in the domestic affairs of member nations, as it has opposed South Africa. Prominent American officials have even claimed that domestic and foreign policy overlap, a sentiment that opens the door to allowing the UN to interfere in American affairs in the name of peace. Support has been expressed in U.S. and UN documents for global disarmament that would be facilitated by the UN, enabling the only body in the world with nuclear weaponry to be the Communist-dominated UN.
In the end, Griffin responds to common defenses of the United Nations. For Griffin, the UN is not necessary for peace. Nations can work things out through quiet diplomacy rather than bringing their disputes to a public forum, where conflict is exasperated as nations attempt to save face. Trade can encourage peace among nations. Moreover, while Griffin is critical of treating economic provision as a “right,” he maintains that a free market can uplift impoverished societies and make them more prosperous.
Here are some thoughts and impressions:
A. The greatest asset to this book is its documentation and extensive quotations. For instance, Griffin quotes American Communist publications that express support for the UN, since it undermines American hegemony, gives the U.S.S.R. a greater voice, and marginalizes non-Communist nations. U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright and even President John F. Kennedy make statements that treat the U.S. Constitution as outdated. Griffin also cites examples of what he is talking about, i.e., where treaties have undermined the economy of the United States. The book raises significant issues, but the question is whether its narrative, of an almost-successful attempt to create a one-world government, is the only way to explain the facts that Griffin presents. There are also additional facts: the U.S. government had its share of influential people who wanted American hegemony!
B. Occasionally, the reader sees glimpses of the “other side,” if you will. One reason that Congo wanted Katanga to be part of the Congo was that it provided the bulk of the Congo’s economic prosperity. The UN, at least ostensibly, claimed to be fighting Communism in its action against Katanga. The U.S.S.R., near the end of World War II, encouraged the Morgenthau plan through its Communist agents in the U.S. government because it wanted a severely weakened Germany, so that Germany would never again invade the Soviet Union as it did under Hitler; that depicts the Soviets as concerned about their security as a nation, not merely as despots trying to take over the world.
C. Griffin provides a compelling and dramatic narration about the UN’s atrocities against Katanga, Katanga’s heroic and even biracial (white and black) stance against the UN, and the mistreatment of Katanga’s anti-Communist leader, Moise Tshombe. This is all important to consider, but the fact is that anti-Communists, too, have perpetrated atrocities, and heroism can probably be found among Communists.
D. Can the UN seriously force the powerful U.S. to do something that it does not want to do? On the other side, is not the United Nations a way to give other countries a voice rather than letting the U.S. run the whole show?
E. It would be interesting to read a John Bircher critique of the UN after the end of the Cold War. For this, I may read William Jasper’s The United Nations Exposed sometime in the future. It was published in 2001.