The United Nations

The United Nations
The United Nations

The United Nations (UN) has become a central target of contemporary right-wing conspiracy theories. It was established on 24 October 1945 to replace the League of Nations, which had collapsed following its failure to prevent World War II.

According to its charter, the UN has four main purposes: to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.

The six main institutions of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). All of these with the exception of the ICJ are based at UN headquarters in New York. The ICJ is located at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization are linked to the UN through cooperative agreements. Together with the United Nations, these organizations make up what is known as the UN system.

One hundred and eighty-nine countries are currently members of the UN. The UN does not consider itself to be a “world government.” It does not make laws, and each member state remains a sovereign country. The United Nations has, however, been the subject of conspiracy theories almost since it was first created.

As early as 1951 the antisemitic newspaper Common Sense expressed concerns about U.S. troops who had issued proclamations in the name of the UN during training exercises in California.

The Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy investigated the existence of communist plots within the UN during the 1950s, and the far-right John Birch Society, formed by retired candy manufacturer Robert H. Welch in 1958, also saw the UN as part of a Communist conspiracy against the United States. The John Birch Society believed that plans were afoot through the UN for “the establishment of a one-world Communist tyranny over the population of the whole earth.”

U.S. armed forces would be turned over to the command of the UN, it was argued, and UN troops were actively preparing to take over the country. As a consequence Birchites campaigned vigorously, as they continue to do, to “get the United States out of the United Nations, and the United Nations out of the United States.”

The Minutemen, a paramilitary organization formed in 1960 by Robert DePugh, further contended that beginning in 1952 U.S. troops acting under UN command had been making “practice seizures” of U.S. cities as part of a communist plot to confiscate the firearms of U.S. citizens.

Although concerns about the UN’s role in the creation of a global government have been a staple of far-right politics in the United States since the 1950s, they were given renewed emphasis by members of the Patriot and militia movements during the 1990s.

Publications such as The Patriot Report, Spotlight, The Free American, Wake-Up Call America, and The Resister, and groups including the Militia of Montana, the Michigan Militia, and Police Against the New World Order all routinely denounced the UN for its conspiratorial intent.

Thousands of foreign troops were said to be training in the United States in preparation for a UN takeover of the country. Russian and German tanks had been spotted throughout the nation, as had numerous unmarked “black helicopters” operating under UN command.

Yellowstone National Park and other national parks were believed to be under UN control, and secret plans were thought to exist for the mass disarmament of America’s gun owners. Reflective stickers, it was warned, had been added to the backs of road signs to direct UN forces during the takeover and concentration camps had been constructed to house U.S. dissidents.

Many Patriots believed that in response to some kind of national emergency, either real or deliberately manufactured, the president would declare martial law and that this would be the signal for the UN occupation of the United States to begin. Some even took the view that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was the beginning of such a strategy.

Members of the Christian Right have also connected the UN to a conspiracy against the interests of the United States. One of the best examples of this is provided by Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, who published a book called The New World Order in 1991.

Tracing the conspiracy back to the Bavarian Illuminati in the late eighteenth century, Robertson argued that sinister forces had been at work throughout America’s history to make it part of a “new world order.”

The League of Nations had been formed to assist with plans to bring about a one-world government, a oneworld army, and a one-world economy, he claimed, and when this failed the United Nations was established to replace it. For Robertson, this “new world order” was close to coming to fruition.

Having noted that the UN’s authorization of military action against Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991 was the first time that the world’s nations had come together since the Tower of Babel had been built, he suggested that President George Bush was “unwittingly carrying out the mission ... of a tightly knit cabal whose goal is nothing less than a new order for the human race under the domination of Lucifer and his followers.”