Don't Panic! March 19 2003

Your war questions answered

Why doesn't the U.S. like the U.N.?

The U.N. and the U.S. married in 1945 after meeting with lawyers in San Francisco to draft a pre-nup so elaborate they called it a Charter. The couple consummated their relationship with a romantic weekend in California's Wine Country. Today you can still find the redwood tree near Silverado Trail where they carved "UN+US 4EVER" with the foil cutter from their corkscrew.

Though the marriage seemed promising at first, there was a big problem lurking just below the surface. The U.S.'s father, George Washington, didn't want his child getting involved with foreigners. His farewell speech to the U.S. warned that foreign influence is one of the "most baneful foes of republican government." Ouch! If you look at U.S.'s dating history, you can see Daddy's words in action.

Before the U.N., the U.S. dated someone who looked a lot like her called the League of Nations. The U.S.'s romantic side, represented by President Woodrow Wilson, proposed to the League in the aftermath of World War I hoping that a great big international marriage would keep the world from fighting again. Remembering what Daddy said, Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge scuttled the relationship. He thought involvement with foreigners would damage American sovereignty and that a young nation should play the field a bit. The U.S. left the League of Nations at the altar by refusing to join. (Take heed, Ben Affleck.)

You know how it is, though. Young love is like a river; you can't stop its flow. Well, actually, you can if you build a dam, but you know what I mean. Besides, we felt kinda guilty about dumping the League.

After the U.S. and the U.N. tied the knot, they settled down at a home in Manhattan so big they call it Headquarters. They even built a vacation home in Switzerland. As the rush of young love slowed though, the relationship soured. The U.S. quickly grew annoyed with the U.N.'s little foreign friends and the big influence they seem to have on her. And even though the U.N. was nice to the U.S.'s pal Israel at first, the U.N. and her pals eventually turned on her so harshly that you'd think Israel was breaking the law or something.

The U.N. soon began an affair with the U.S.S.R. Rather than choose one lover over the other, the U.N. carried on seeing both. With its loyalty divided between hunks, the U.N. became paralyzed and ineffectual. When the U.S. wanted the U.N. to try to stop the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and Afghanistan in 1980, it did nothing. To the U.S. it seems like all the U.N. does is hang out with her foreign friends and double-park at Tiffany's.

The marriage got even worse in the 1990s. Efforts at U.S.-U.N. reconciliation, such as the Somalia peacekeeping mission, ended in disaster. The U.S. also started withholding money to pressure the U.N. to change her money-hemorrhaging ways. If not for the kids, I'm sure they would have divorced.

Now the U.N. is having an affair with France. The U.S. seems to think it's the U.N.'s way of getting out of the marriage because they keep angrily muttering the word "freedom" when they mean to say "French." We're so fed up with the U.N. that we're gonna invade Iraq even though doing so violates the pre-nup. You'd think that would upset Republicans, but they're family values-type who think it was a mistake to disobey Daddy's wishes in the first place.

If they get divorced, the U.N. will probably get to keep the Manhattan and Geneva homes. I suspect they'll change their name though. I'm gonna suggest "Untied Nations" since it'll be more accurate and they can use the letters that are already on the sign.


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