An fascinating blog, "The Diplomad" (so called because its posters are current and former diplomats with the State Department), has posted an excellent article on the U.N. which dovetails nicely with the news coming out about the Oil-for-Bureaucrats scandal.
Also note the discussion taking place in the Comments section.
One idea raised in class recently, which I think has a lot of merit, is that we should attempt to set up parallel and competing international organizations, that would give nations an alternative to the increasingly sclerotic and corrupt U.N. (In particular, I believe that one of these organizations should be made up solely of liberal democracies.) The basic argument is that the United States and other nations benefit if they have a number of channels of communication, so that they could choose the most advantageous method for any given need. To lump everything together under one roof leads to bloat.
The other issue is that the U.N. presents, in theory, the danger of a true world government. (I doubt they could achieve it in practice, because the U.N. has shown itself to be breathtakingly incompetent for all of its history.) A world government would have its power completely unchecked, leading inexorably to tyranny, especially if it is begun from such flawed material as the U.N. By creating multiple parallel organizations, this threat is mitigated.
The first step, of course, is to recognize that the United Nations is truly an evil. Many people still base their views of the U.N. on its professed mission to bring about world peace and alleviate human suffering. Such goals are laudible; but we must see clearly that the U.N. is not actually working to accomplish them, and has not been for some time. It has instead become a mechanism for autocracies and illiberal democracies to gain access to world legitimacy, international (largely American) money, and a club with which to strike America.
America founded the U.N. in large part to make the rest of the world comfortable with its hegemony, by artificially constraining American power under the rules of the U.N. Charter. Now other member-nations hostile to the U.S. have been exploiting the U.N. in order to tie down the American giant with chains of paper. This in itself makes many question why we should remain a member ourselves. But for this to be compounded with such naked greed, corruption, and callous disregard for the people who need U.N. support (such as the people of Iraq during the Oil-for-Food program) is an abomination.
It is in the interest of the world to construct many, many international organizations which can compete directly with this sinkhole of evil, so that the U.N. will either be forced to reform itself or die a miserable, and richly-deserved, death.