YOU CAN SERVE THE INSTITUTION'S BUREAUCRACY OR ITS PRINCIPLES–HO CHOSE BADLY:

December 17, 2006

Kofi’s stain: UN chief wronged U.S., coddled dictators and ignored corruption (NILE GARDINER, 12/17/06, NY Daiuly News)

[A]nnan has been no friend of the American people, or of the Iraqi people. At every opportunity, he has undermined U.S. global leadership, most recently making a habit of deriding America’s decision to remove Saddam from power as “illegal.” People of good will can debate whether that decision was right or wrong – but it was Saddam, not Bush, who thumbed his nose at a dozen UN resolutions and systematically oppressed the Iraqi people.

Annan has a long track record of cozying up to dictators. He has consistently failed to condemn African tyrants such as Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe or Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan. And aside from a few perfunctory criticisms, he has been noticeably quiet about the threats against Israel posed by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Annan gave only a low-key response to Iran’s state-sponsored Holocaust denial conference, which sparked international outrage this week. To his credit, incoming Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has already strongly denounced it.

As a result of this and more, the UN’s standing as a moral authority on the world stage – not exactly stellar at the start of Annan’s tenure – has plummeted during his 10-year reign. He was forced to disband the UN Commission on Human Rights after Western complaints over human-rights abusers (Cuba, Libya, et al.) running the show. Yet his “reform” solution, the much-vaunted Human Rights Council, is just as bad. It has been unwilling even to condemn the regime in Khartoum over the crisis in Darfur.

Even worse, amid a culture of weak and permissive leadership, UN peacekeepers entrusted with protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable people have raped and abused hundreds of refugees in the Congo, Sierra Leone, Haiti and other war zones. Before he became secretary general, Annan was in charge of UN peacekeeping operations during the Rwanda slaughter and the mass killing at Srebrenica, in Bosnia. Suffice to say, in that capacity, he did not earn the top job.

The free world should not shed a tear at Annan’s departure. Rather, let New York bid good riddance to the most weak-kneed secretary general in the history of the United Nations, a shameless appeaser of despotism and tyranny. He may well be remembered as the Neville Chamberlain of our time.


CHOOSE LIFE:

August 28, 2006

The Battle for India (Robert T. McLean, 8/28/2006, American Spectator)

The Bush Administration inherited few initiatives that Washington could build on, but the president has taken advantage of some inherent qualities that both the United States and India possess and some burdens that each must address.

The United States and India are both longstanding democracies that happen to be fighting Islamic fanaticism and facing the prospect of China’s uncertain intentions that accompany its ever-expanding regional and global influence. Despite an increase in economic cooperation between Beijing and New Delhi — according to some analysts, China should become India’s largest trading partner next year — geographic and historical factors continue to contribute to mutual suspicion. Less than helpful in this situation has been the strengthening of the traditional alliance between Beijing and Islamabad. Compounding this problem is China’s construction at the Port of Gwadar in Pakistan, which essentially gives Beijing a naval presence on both sides of the Indian subcontinent.

Fortunately, a majority in Congress understand the implications of nuclear cooperation between the United States and India. On July 26, the House of Representatives passed the United States and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act of 2006 recognizing India as a nuclear weapons state. The Senate is expected to pass its own version of the bill next month, but it is imperative that excessive additional conditions are not placed on New Delhi as such an alteration of the original text of the agreement could jeopardize the entire bilateral strategic partnership. Although ties are consistently improving between Washington and New Delhi, setbacks this fall could push the Indians to conclude that the politically homogenous governments in Beijing and Moscow are more reliable partners than the politically tempestuous United States.

However, in the end it most likely that the nuclear agreement will become law and President Bush and Prime Minister Singh will continue to strengthen their relationship. While New Delhi has yet to sign on to the Proliferation Security Initiative, the biennial American led RIMPAC naval exercises held this summer included India as an observer nation for the first time. India’s desires to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council should also play to Washington’s advantage. While this is unlikely to occur in the near future, the United States could highlight the actual roadblocks in this effort as both China and Russia strongly oppose Japan’s — who along with Germany and Brazil would likely have to accompany India in any addition — request to be admitted as a permanent member.

Japan and Germany should be denied seats for the same reason they should be taken from France, Russia and China–all are dying states. China is, additionally, not a democracy and no non-democracy should have a seat. Let each continent (other than Antarctica) have one, with India getting Asia’s and Brazil getting South America’s. Africa presents the only tough call at that point. Unfortunately, Botswana is too small.


SHOULDN'T HAVE STRAYED SO FAR FROM THE LAP:

May 31, 2006

President Bush should heed Tony Blair’s advice (EJ Dionne, 5/31/06, Seattle Times)

Imagine where British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be if he hadn’t joined with President Bush in prosecuting the Iraq war. […]

You wish, at least, that the prime minister could have edited Bush’s rhetoric. More important, you wish Blair would have pushed Bush much harder to approach the rest of the world in a way that would have left us with a few more friends and allies.

The reality is that most of the political damage that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair sustained from the war is a function of the latter’s insistence (along with Colin Powell) on trying to sell it to the international community and to do so using the WMD argument. Had the P.M. just accepted the President’s assessment that the UN wasn’t going to be any use and that it was up to enforce their resolutions for them he’d have nothing to apologize for today. Though his heart is generally in the right place, Mr. Blair continues to stumble when he makes himself believe his own backbenchers, the continental Europeans, and the UN are interested in the same causes he is. The transnationalist project is aimed at stopping men like Tony Blair as much, or more, as stopping those like Saddam.


THEY DON'T EVEN ALLOW THE INALIENABLE ONES:

May 10, 2006


UNSTALLING TALKS & INSTALLING PEACEKEEPERS:

May 7, 2006

Next steps to peace in Darfur: A peace deal signed Friday could pave the way for a UN peacekeeping force (Katharine Houreld and Claire Soares, 5/08/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

Observers say that the most important result of the deal is that it could pave the way for a UN peacekeeping force to enter Sudan. In the past few days different spokesmen for the Sudanese government have confirmed that the government would now at least consider allowing UN peacekeeping troops on the ground, something Khartoum had flatly rejected before Friday’s deal. […]

Sounding a cautiously optimistic note, US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said the agreement represented “an opportunity for peace.” He went to Nigeria after talks stalled between rebels and the government over security issues. Eventually both the Sudanese government and the largest rebel faction, the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Minni Minnawi, signed the deal on Friday.

All in a day’s work for the Crusader State…


TEXTBOOK:

May 7, 2006

Sudan agrees to UN troops for Darfur as treaty signed (Mohamed Osman, 5/07/06, Sunday Herald)

A spokesman for the Sudanese government has confirmed that United Nations peacekeepers will now be welcome in Darfur after a peace agreement between Khartoum and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the main rebel group involved in the conflict.

Bakri Mulah, secretary-general for external affairs in the information ministry, issued the invitation on behalf of the Khartoum government after the agreement was reached on Friday in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

The Sudanese government initially rejected calls for UN peacekeepers to replace the thousands of African Union peacekeepers currently in Darfur.

“We heard the appeal of the UN secretary-general Kofi Annan [for UN peacekeepers to join those of the African Union] … Now there is no problem,” a spokesman said.

The government of Sudan and the main Darfur rebel faction expressed hopes that three years of fighting could now come to an end.

A nice illustration of how the UN can be useful, following our lead.


THE WORST CASE SCENARIO IS AN IMPROVEMENT:

April 30, 2006

UN is like the Twilight Zone, says Bolton: In his first interview with a British newspaper, America’s ambassador to the United Nations tells Alec Russell why it is in dire need of reform ((Filed: 01/05/2006, Daily Telegraph)

America’s bantam cock of an ambassador is something of a cult figure at the UN.

When meetings end he is followed by a crowd of cameramen keen to capture that famous walrus moustache and his colourful asides. Rival ambassadors salute his skill as a communicator and his diligence.

He keeps Washington rather than New York hours, starting work before dawn and often going to bed by nine. While he speaks off the cuff, he assiduously takes notes of others’ speeches, the opposite of the usual UN style.

He is far less haughty than many of his predecessors.

But it is exasperation as much as envy that defines reactions to him in the UN. His undiplomatic ways have infuriated even America’s allies and UN officials pushing for reform.

Eight months after President George W Bush made his highly contentious appointment, no one could suggest he has “gone native”.

A long-term conservative hawk, in 1994 he said the UN could easily do without the top 10 of its 39 floors. He also said there was no such thing as the UN, just an international community that can be led by the US.

His language is a little more circumspect now but only a little. Has his opinion changed? “It’s exactly what I expected … an organisation that needs substantial reform,” he replied

“This atmosphere is like a bubble. It is like a twilight zone. Things that happen here don’t reflect the reality in the rest of the world.

“There are practices, attitudes and approaches here that were abandoned 30 years ago in much of the rest of the world. It’s like a time warp. I think that’s not useful for the organisation.”

UN officials mutter that far from helping to push through much-needed reforms to ensure embarrassments such as the oil-for-food scandal are never repeated, his methods have impeded the chances of agreement.

In December, he forced a six-month limit on the UN budget, infuriating the developing world, by making further funding dependent on the passage of key reforms.

America’s EU allies, especially Britain, had to negotiate a compromise – “they pulled his chest hairs from the fire” said a veteran UN observer.

Mr Bolton rolls his eyes when asked if he is combative because he is not really interested in reform. “That criticism is a complete non sequitur,” he retorts. “My stance is not combative. I would describe it as assertive.

“We feel strongly that we need reform. Condoleezza Rice said last September we want a revolution of reform. It’s not often an American secretary of state calls for revolutions.”

Revolution is only an appropriate course of action when you don’t mind the risk of completely annihilating the institution and starting from scratch. It’s appropriate at the UN.