Silver’s new movie takes on U.N. corruption
Actor/Producer joins ‘The Situation’ to discuss new film: Broken Promises
Nov. 10, 2005
A new documentary called Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60, details the U.N.’s dismal performance in promoting security, human rights, and social stability over the past six decades.
Ron Silver provides the narrative for the film and is the co-executive producer. He joined MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson on Wednesday’s ‘Situation’ to discuss the new movie.
To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below.
TUCKER CARLSON: So the United Nations, its mandate to promote stability, defend human rights, and prevent war. How is it doing?
SILVER: Not as well as the founders envisioned, unfortunately. You know, there’s a canard that it’s only right wing ideologues that kind of despise the U.N. because it threatens U.S. sovereignty, that’s simply not the case. In fact, the dishonesties and the hypocrisies and corruption should offend liberals and multilateralists more than anybody else in the world, because it’s kind of betrayed their ideals.
CARLSON: Oh, I believe it. I’ve run into left wing aide workers around the world who hate the U.N., because they think it’s ineffective and, in fact, counter – productive. But give me some examples.
SILVER: What we tried to do in the film was actually speak to peace keepers who were actually on the ground in Somalia and Rwanda, and in Bosnia, Srebrenica, speak to the victims of some of the genocides to get their take on what the U.N. did or do not do, rather than speak to diplomats and high-level officials and have a kind of arid intellectual discussion about the great idea of the organization, because it is a great idea.
SILVER: The institution that exists today, and the founders’ rhetoric and language and their expectations is pretty out there.
CARLSON: The idea the nations of the world can get together to prevent wars strikes me as a great idea. It just doesn’t seem very good at preventing wars. You think of Rwanda, you think of the mess in the Balkans. Has the United Nations… prevented a war lately?
SILVER: In some ways, it sounds like I am going to defend the organization. Once said, until the United Nations has a mind, body, bank account, of its own, you can’t hold the institution responsible accident because it’s made up of sovereign member nations, all looking after their own interests, so there’s a structural flaw in the organization, and there’s been calls for reform since its inception.
In 1993, the general assembly passed a resolution saying, over the years, since 1945, there’s been 13 different calls for reform, and in 1994, ambassador Albright, Madeleine Albright was exalting in that they created a structure within the U.N. called the internal oversight service, which was going to crack down on abuse, fraud, and corruption. That was 1994, which was the same year the oil for food program was begun.
CARLSON: Unbelievable. It seems like just from following the progress of the U.N., even in the New York Times, it seems like the United Nations exist to hate Israel and tweak the United States. What’s the obsession with Israel?
SILVER: Well, that’s very interesting. I think they think they have, and they do have a special relationship because it was created under a United Nations mandate. Britain handed it over to the U.N., and the U.N. came up with a petition plan, which Israel accepted, and the Arab population at that time did not.
And one out of every four resolutions that has passed has to do with Israel, which is very interesting. Basically slavery, in Darfur right now, there’s genocides going on in the world. One out of every four resolutions has to do with Israel.
CARLSON: That’s an amazing statistic. It’s a big world. That’s a small country. I’d say it’s disproportionate.
John Bolton, I mean, I assume you think that the U.N. is worth reforming. Is John Bolton, the acting ambassador to the United Nations…
SILVER: I think he’s exactly the right ambassador, actually. No. 1, he has the president’s confidence, and John Bolton doesn’t want to see the U.N. destroyed, but he does want to see it be reinvigorated and an effective organization.
I mean, the catalog of what’s gone wrong over the years, and the U.N.’s shameful aiding and abetting some of the worst crimes in the last 20, 30, 40 years is just shameful.
And of course, anybody who wants to see that organization be effective wants to see it reformed. It has to be reformed. It’s Orwellian. The human rights commission is Orwellian. I mean, people have heard the litany of who’s on that commission, how things are done, the oil for food, the refurbishment, their role in Srebrenica, which is obscene.
SILVER: They had Dutch peace keepers on the ground, they called it a safe haven, and they handed over 8,000 Muslim men and boys to Serbians that were slaughtered basically in front of them. … Rwanda, 800,000 to a million people on their watch.
CARLSON: Well, the title is apt, Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60. When is it out?
SILVER: It’s opening in L.A., Friday in Washington. It’s opened in Seattle. It will be in Dallas opening tonight, actually, and New York next week.
c 2005 MSNBC Interactive