Should we move the UN?

What has happened to "the West"? Where did it go? Was it always an America-dominated illusion patched together after World War II as a military hedge against the Soviet Union where Joseph Stalin remained alive and in power into the post-war era?


Presumptive GOP nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE says NATO is "obsolete." If he is elected, what will become of organization, formed in 1949 and centered inconspicuously in Brussels? And more important, perhaps, what will become of the United Nations? How does Trump feel about that? Both are legacies of the U.S.-led astonishing victory of World War II, a victory that swept the world from China and Japan to the edge of Russia, beyond the wildest dreams of Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great. Possibly only Genghis Khan had greater reach and span.

And truth be told, the European Union, a political union of 28 member states that are located mostly in Europe and founded only in 1993, is its afterglow, a contrived Hamiltonian manifestation of one-world America — that sensory, innocent, McLuhanist post-war Everywhere America of Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, Calvin Klein and DreamWorks, Bill, Hillary, Ellen and Diet Pepsi. If NATO goes and the EU goes, what will happen to the U.N.?

Britain votes on June 23 on whether to stay in the EU or leave. Today, polls are running about even. "Brexit" could spark a wave of anti-EU referendums across Europe. Britain's dilemma is our dilemma as Britain is our intro to Europe and the EU. And if Britain leaves, our status in the EU is challenged. Especially if NATO goes as well. My guess is that France and Germany will begin to huddle with Russia.

But we might find closer friendship with Britain as a Prime Minister Boris Johnson — if elected in the swell of a rising Trumpism after pulling Britain free from Europe — advances the suggestion of his avatar, Winston Churchill, to nurture and empower the fledgling civilization of the "English-speaking people." And in place of Europe, he seeks to substitute closer alliance with the 53 Commonwealth nations, one of which has more than a billion people.

But the question remains, how does he feel about his cousins here in the 50 U.S. states? Johnson says he is a "one-nation Tory." He was born in Manhattan but recently dropped his U.S. dual citizenship, ostensibly to avoid paying American taxes and perhaps to appear more fully British as he runs for prime minister. Maybe he just doesn't like being American anymore. Current Prime Minister David Cameron's move last year to join China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in dead opposition to American wishes begs the question: What are the British up to? Are they still our friends? As President Obama's recent trip to Britain made very clear, America repudiates Brexit. Trump does not. Trump supports it.

Possibly it is time to bring it all back home and start again from scratch.

I've long proposed that the U.N. should have been understood in its early days to be in a transitional post-war operation, and although its founders were visionary and honorable in their intent, it should have adjusted later to the more free and stable prosperity which would arise in time from the Pax Americana, adopt a new profile and move away from its perch in the domineering symbolism of implacable world economic power that is New York City.

By now, it should have moved to a more benign location and to a place centrally balanced between the varied powers that have arisen to the world in more recent times. It should be someplace relative to the East/West dynamics which have arisen since World War II, as the century-long awakening and industrialization of the Orient, come to maturity well after founding of the U.N. and its Europeanized visualization of the world, must be understood to be among the greatest events in modern history.

At a U.N. summit in 2005, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez proposed that the U.N. should move out of New York. He was right; it should. Some of us in New England made that same case just before at the beginning of the war on Iraq.

"A nation's capital or a world economic capital is, or should be, a mandala — a benign vortex of varied and different countervailing forces which in their entirety make up that world," I claimed in The Hill in 2009. "Washington was the perfect 'benign center' between the industrial North and the pastoral and agricultural South in the colonial period but lost that [dynamic] positioning with the opening of the West."

The clever new senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse (R), suggested in a "thought balloon" in one of his first campaign ads that Nebraska might be the better center for the nation's capital today.

Where today is "the circle of the nation's hoop" that the great Lakota shaman Black Elk found in a vision, "for there all power shall be one power in the people without end"? Possibly Detroit would be a good place to which to move the U.N., as it is at the center of the new, global East/West world coming now to fullness of expression. It is a very great city, but it needs a new job. It needs to start again from the beginning and possibly so do we. And that is perhaps what Trump is trying to suggest in getting rid of NATO and supporting the British on Brexit, that we need to start again from scratch and maybe we do.

Or how about Windsor, Ontario, just across the river, or Ottawa or Toronto? Canada has shown itself to be a better world citizen than the United States or Britain in many ways; it is brave and responsible to those who know it intimately and its banks are the envy of the world.

And if we Americans are about to enter a breach with Britain, our blood ancestor, Canada is the half-cousin of both which can seal the breach and connect the two halves to make us one whole; there we find the "circle of the hoop" of the "English-speaking people."

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at