7 DECEMBER 2002, Page 36

The useless UN

From Mr Alan Anderson Sir: Hugh Thomas ('How to save the world', 23 November) argues that the current efforts to disarm Iraq should be expanded into a campaign to place all nuclear technologies under the control of a United Nations agency, with UN inspectors monitoring compliance by all member states. His reasoning is unfathomable to me.

The decade-long debacle of weapons inspections in Iraq has demonstrated both the ineffectiveness of inspection regimes and the lack of political will of the international community to enforce any meaningful prohibition. It is laughable to suggest that inspections on a global scale would be anything other than a search for the proverbial needle in the haystack.

And then there is bias. I have every confidence that the search for nuclear weapons programmes in Israel would be scrupulously executed, but what about the search in Iran? The UN's claim to impartiality is tarnished, to say the least. Do we really want to entrust our safety from nuclear weapons to an organisation dominated by a clique of Islamic and Afro-Marxist despots and their admiring crowd of effete Continental sophisticates?

It is disappointing that an organisation as ineffectual, wasteful and hypocritical as the UN continues to enjoy the confidence of myopic idealists, whose faith in internationalism overcomes all evidence and reason. For the sake of humanity, let us not burden that failing organisation with further important responsibilities until it demonstrates some capacity to fulfil those already assigned to it.

Alan Anderson

Melbourne, Australia