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Posted: 2/26/2002 12:22:38 PM EDT
I wish we got to vote on a referendum for US involvement in the UN. This article is pretty bias (it is an English company), but is an article nonetheless. February 26, 2002 [b]Swiss Right fights UN 'threat' to neutrality[/b] From Martin Fletcher in Berne, Switzerland OUTSIDE the yuppy Splendid Palace bar in central Berne, cacophonous bands are marching through the streets as people dressed as grotesque hags and monstrous birds prepare for the Swiss capital?s annual carnival. Inside the bar an equally curious event is taking place. It is a rally of two dozen young Conservatives fighting a rearguard action to prevent Switzerland voting to become the 190th member of the United Nations in a referendum next Sunday. They are undaunted by the fact that since the tiny Pacific atoll of Tuvalu joined the UN two years ago, Switzerland and the Vatican state are the world?s only non-members. Neither does it matter that another Swiss city, Geneva, hosts the UN?s European headquarters and eight of its agencies; that Switzerland already pays Fr500 million (£200 million) a year to support the UN?s humanitarian work; or that its Government invariably follows the UN?s lead on global issues. The young Conservatives are determined to preserve Switzerland?s legendary neutrality, whatever the cost. ?We put the freedom and independence of our country before everything else,? said Toni Brunner, a member of Christoph Blocher?s populist, right-wing Swiss People?s Party (SPP) and, at 27, his country?s youngest MP. ?If we join the UN, we have to sign a binding charter whereby we have to do what the big powers want.? Monika Lienert, another speaker, said: ?We are told to show courage and join. Isn?t it more courageous to be the only country that stands aside?? The rally ends with a unanimous vote against membership of an organisation whose five-member, US-dominated Security Council would compel Switzerland to implement UN sanctions and embargoes. The Swiss rejected UN membership overwhelmingly in 1986, when 75.7 per cent of its seven million people and all 26 cantons voted against. But that was when the UN was still polarised and paralysed by the Cold War?s East-West enmities and there was good reason to stay out. Today the circumstances are very different: the Cold War is over; the UN is functioning again; Switzerland?s multiparty Government argues that in a fast-changing world there is no longer an international role for an independent outsider. The country?s self-imposed isolation is also beginning to hurt it politically and economically. Full article at: [url]www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,3-219369,00.html[/url]
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