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Sen. Jesse Helms
1921 -

American senator (Republican, North Carolina), influential expert on foreign affairs


A United Nations that focuses on helping sovereign states work together is worth keeping; a United Nations that insists on trying to impose a utopian vision on America and the world will collapse under its own weight.

Jan. 20, 2000 - from a speech to the United Nations General Assembly
Americans look with alarm at UN claims to a monopoly on international moral legitimacy. They see this as a threat to the God-given freedoms of the American people, a claim of political authority over America and its elected leaders without their consent. The effort to establish a United Nations International Criminal Court is a case-in-point. Consider: the Rome Treaty purports to hold American citizens under its jurisdiction - even when the United States has neither signed nor ratified the treaty. In other words, it claims sovereign authority over American citizens without their consent. How can the nations of the world imagine for one instant that Americans will stand by and allow such a power-grab to take place?

Jan. 20, 2000 - from a speech to the United Nations General Assembly
The UN serves nation-states, not the other way around. This principle is central to the legitimacy and ultimate survival of the United Nations, and it is a principle that must be protected.

Jan. 20, 2000 - from a speech to the United Nations General Assembly
The American people want the UN to serve the purpose for which it was designed: they want it to help sovereign states coordinate collective action by "coalitions of the willing,"(where the political will for such action exists); they want it to provide a forum where diplomats can meet and keep open channels of communication in times of crisis; they want it to provide to the peoples of the world important services, such as peacekeeping, weapons inspections and humanitarian relief. This is important work. It is the core of what the UN can offer to the United States and the world. If, in the coming century, the UN focuses on doing these core tasks well, it can thrive and will earn and deserve the support of the American people. But if the UN seeks to move beyond these core tasks, if it seeks to impose the UNís power and authority over nation-states, I guarantee that the United Nations will meet stiff resistance from the American people.

Jan. 20, 2000 - from a speech to the United Nations General Assembly
... thus far, I have never won a poll or lost an election.

Jan. 20, 2000 - from a speech to the United Nations General Assembly