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Improving America's Security Act of 2007

Location: Washington, DC

IMPROVING AMERICA'S SECURITY ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - March 02, 2007)


Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I rise to support the amendment. I think it is important for the people of America to understand, first, what is at stake here and, No. 2, the tremendous failure of the U.N. in terms of proliferation. The best example of that right now is the enrichment of uranium for purposes of weapons of mass destruction by Iran. The reason Iran continues to do that is because two world powers, China and Russia, through the U.N., failed to support adequate enforcement of sanctions for behavior that would otherwise not allow nuclear proliferation.

Senator Thune very thoroughly outlined the failures of the U.N., but let me outline them a little further. This country sends over $5.3 billion a year to the U.N. Our entire contribution to peacekeeping is wasted, according to the U.N. Inspector General's own reports. We don't get to find those reports because the U.N. won't be transparent on either how it spends its money or who gets the money it does spend or whether they are held accountable for it. Senator Thune outlined the effectiveness of this initiative by the State Department with 80 other countries. That is 80 countries that help us every day to interrupt, disrupt, and stop either the passage, transfer, or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I do not understand the motivation, why someone would want to take this to a bureaucracy that has proved, time and again, it fails to accomplish the very purposes for which it was set up--whether it be the rape of U.N. peacekeepers in the areas in which they are serving; whether it be the U.N. Oil for Food scandal, where only one person out of several has even been indicted in the corruption racket that was ongoing with that. The fact is the U.N. has failed in multiple areas at multiple times to accomplish the very things it set out to do.

Senator Thune mentioned that the No. 2 position on the nonproliferation committee at the U.N. is chaired by none other than Iran. What we do know is, had adequate sanctions been applied to Iran, the continued enrichment of uranium would not be there. The House has gutted one of the most effective tools we have, in terms of interdicting weapons of mass destruction from across this world.

Why is it important? Let me give an analogy. Today, when somebody comes into the emergency room and they are bleeding internally, we don't stop and have a committee meeting among doctors on what to do. What we do is look at the signs and symptoms we find--i.e., the intelligence, the actual knowledge of what is going on--and then we treat the condition on an emergent basis. This whole initiative will be gutted by bringing it to the bureaucratic process of the U.N. The thing that happens now is good intelligence, in terms of cooperation with people--the other 80 countries that are working cooperatively--institutes action. The failure to act on internal bleeding ends up with death. The same thing is going to happen if we let a bureaucracy, dominated with a veto power by China and Russia, determine whether we can intercept weapons of mass destruction.

I understand we need a world body. I understand the U.N. is that world body. But the U.N. has so many problems today in terms of being effective at what it is trying to accomplish. It is absolutely nontransparent with how it does that--nontransparent with how the money is spent and is utilized today, so that every step of the way two countries are blocking our attempts to block the development of weapons of mass destruction in Iran.

We can let the patient die, bleed to death internally, while we have a committee hearing and get the approval and then get it vetoed by China or Russia because it plays out more powerfully to their benefit, or we can continue to do what we have been doing successfully 24 times in the last year. Twenty-four times in the last year, in coordination with these eight countries, based on great intelligence, we have interrupted or disrupted the transmission of weapons of mass destruction. Why would we want to get rid of that? Why did this PSI get started in the first place? Because of problems in the U.N. If the U.N. were to work as it should, there would be no need for a PSI. It will not and it does not because it is not necessarily to everybody's advantage in the U.N. that these weapons be controlled.

I believe the House has been very shortsighted. My hope is if this is included when it comes out of conference, this bill is vetoed. It should be vetoed. It ties the hand of a President trying to do what is best for this country and instead makes the rest of the world have veto power over our ability to defend ourselves. We should never give up that right.

I am very thankful Senator Thune has put this amendment on the floor and my hope is we will have a vote on it next week. What this bill does is to violate our Constitution. We give up sovereignty to protect ourselves by giving that sovereignty to the United Nations. That is something we ought not do. It would be different if the United Nations were transparent. It would be different if a third of peacekeeping funds were not wasted every year out of the billions that are spent in the U.N. $15 to $20 billion budget. But that is not the case. That is not the real world.

Until we have cogent, realistic, proper reforms, including transparency, at the U.N, including equality at the U.N., including accountability at the U.N., we should not move any initiative affecting our own protection and that of those other 80 countries that are working with us in this regard, to give them veto power over our own security.

I yield the floor.

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