Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The UN Gang by Pedro A. Sanjuan
The subtitle of this book, "A Memoir of Incompetence, Corruption, Espionage, Anti-Semitism, and Islamic Extremism at the UN Secretariat," says it all. Mr. Sanjuan was a high-ranking US official at the UN Secretariat for about ten years, and has plenty of anecdotes about the ridiculous happenings there. The examples of incompetence and nepotism didn't shock me at all, having lived through the last few decades of UN screwups. The blatant use of the secretariat headquarters by the Soviet espionage apparatus, however, and the criminal activities there, however, did.
The central premise of this book seems to be that the UN was founded by the Soviets and the US in order to provide member states with the illusion of input and influence in world events, while the two superpowers went on about their business of the Cold War. It seems rather cynical, but may very well be true.
The book, on the whole, is interesting, but takes a rather scattershot approach to exposing the truth about the United Nations. I wish Mr. Sanjuan had told more stories about his experiences there, but I suppose I'll just have to peruse some of the references mentioned in the book in order to obtain a more thorough understanding of the UN's foibles and follies.