March 18, 2006

U.N. to raise its profile in Iraq (Betsy Pisik, 3/18/06, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The senior U.N. official in Iraq yesterday said that the United Nations will soon be raising its profile there, acknowledging that its “perceived absence” has been noticeable since a tragic suicide bombing after the U.S. invasion three years ago.

Might have been a good idea to help us enforce the UN Resolutions in the first place.



March 10, 2006


March 8, 2006

Annan urges overhaul of UN operations (EDITH M. LEDERER, 3/07/06, Associated Press)

United Nations — Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged U.N. member states Tuesday to approve a radical overhaul of the world body’s operations that would include a 2,500-member rapid reaction team to help millions facing hunger, violence and terrorism.

After decades of piecemeal reform, Mr. Annan told the 191 members a radical overhaul is needed because current United Nations rules and regulations “make it very hard for the organization to conduct its work efficiently or effectively.”

Since the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, he said, the United Nations has changed from an organization of conferences and meetings to a global body engaged in peacekeeping, humanitarian relief efforts, electoral assistance and human rights monitoring.

George W. Bush offered the old UN a last chance to rescue its credibility on 9/12/02 and then let Tony Blair and Colin Powell try to talk them around, before commencing regime change in Iraq without them. Now Mr. Annan has no choice but to reeform the UN enough so that it can at least be a partner, if a junior one, of the Axis of Good in humanitarian interventionism.

ROTTEN AT THE CORE (via Daniel Merriman):

February 22, 2006

UN Reform Book on Amb. John Bolton’s Reading List (PRWEB, February 21, 2006)

A new book calling for United Nations reform has attracted a surprise following among delegates to and employees of the UN, and it has now made its way onto the reading list for America’s ambassador to the global institution.

The office of John Bolton, who last year was appointed by President Bush to serve as U.S. ambassador to the UN, has accepted a copy of Joe Klein’s new book “Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom”. The book made news in December when


February 14, 2006

Larger Darfur Force Needed, Bush, Annan Say (Michael A. Fletcher, February 14, 2006, Washington Post)

President Bush and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan agreed on the need for a bigger, more mobile peacekeeping force in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region during a White House meeting yesterday, but Annan made no specific requests for U.S. military help.

Speaking to reporters after the Oval Office session, Annan said it is premature to ask for more than a general commitment from the United States until the United Nations determines what it needs for the planned peacekeeping force in Darfur.

“Once we’ve defined the requirements, then we will approach the governments to see specifically what each of them will do in terms of troops, in terms of equipment,” Annan said.

The United Nations is making plans to send as many as 20,000 troops to help stabilize the huge Darfur region, where about 7,000 peacekeepers from the African Union have been struggling to end the bloodshed being inflicted on civilians by government-backed militias.

Nice to be asked to intervene.


January 22, 2006

Syria decries Hariri probe ‘bias’ (BBC, 1/22/06)

The Syrian president has repeated criticism that the UN inquiry into the killing of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri is biased against Syria.

In Liberty’s Century there is indeed bias against you if you’re a totalitarian–get over it.


January 1, 2006

Officials at U.N. Seek Fast Action on Rights Panel (WARREN HOGE, 1/01/06, NY Times)

Officials of the United Nations, which has struggled through a period of scandal and mismanagement, have decided they must act within weeks to produce an alternative to its widely discredited Human Rights Commission to maintain hope of redeeming the United Nations’ credibility in 2006. […]

“The reason highly abusive governments flock to the commission is to prevent condemnation of themselves and their kind, and most of the time they succeed,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “If you’re a thug, you want to be on the committee that tries to condemn thugs.”

Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff to Secretary General Kofi Annan, noted that with two other crucial steps toward reform in place – a new Peacebuilding Commission to help countries emerging from war, and a biennial budget under an arrangement laying the groundwork for major management change by June – the rights commission had taken center stage.

“For the great global public, the performance or nonperformance of the Human Rights Commission has become the litmus test of U.N. renewal,” he said. “We can’t overestimate getting a clear win on this in January.”

To a remarkable extent, by redeeming the UN they mean in the eyes of George W. Bush and the United States.


December 23, 2005

U.N. Hit by a Bolt From the Right: John Bolton is seen as ‘brilliant’ or as ‘a bully.’ But the U.S. ambassador is having an impact. (Maggie Farley, December 23, 2005, LA Times)

Some call him “a bully,” and others say he is “brilliant.” But opinion is divided about whether he is effective — if he is cleaning up the mess, or adding to it.

“He is having a definite impact,” said Ambassador Mihnea Motoc of Romania, a temporary member of the Security Council. “Others wish they could do things the same way.” […]

Just as member states were brushing themselves off from the last collision Bolton precipitated, over an agreement on how to reform the U.N. before the World Summit in September, the U.S. ambassador is setting up a new showdown.

He has threatened to block the world body’s budget for 2006-07 unless diplomats commit to “real reform” by the end of 2005, a year that has seen the organization severely damaged by revelations of corruption and mismanagement in the Iraq oil-for-food program, the disclosure of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers and the U.N.’s difficulty in remaking itself.

The budget battle prompted Secretary-General Kofi Annan to cancel a trip this month to Asia and warn that Bolton’s gambit could exacerbate the very problems it is meant to solve.

“He has an agenda, and he’s pursuing it with a conviction that is uncommon here,” said Algerian Ambassador Abdallah Baali, who sometimes clashes with Bolton in the Security Council but considers him a friend. “He’s doing it his way, which is not the way we do it at the U.N. We are used to a little more compromise.”

The President has always said he beat his alcohol problem without doing a program, but it’s always been striking how his governing style borrows from 12-step ideology. One of the things they teach family members is that all too often the people around the dysfunctional person will alter their own behavior and attitudes to avoid confrontation, thereby enabling the addict or becoming co-dependent on his addiction. In effect, the illness becomes the center of gravity around which everyone sets their own orbits. Similarly, George Bush has demonstrated time and again that if he just sticks to his guns others will adapt to him, shifting the entire political debate and system in his direction. Sending John Bolton to the UN is a perfect example of applying this theory.


December 17, 2005

Annan tells Bush that Iraqi vote went well (Associated Press, Dec. 17, 2005)

UN Secretary-General Kofi ] Annan told Bush that violence in Iraq was low, voter turnout was high and that the Iraqi people had cleared another hurdle “on the road to democracy,” said Federick Jones, spokesman for the National Security Council.

Sure the Oil-for-Food scandal was a disgrace, but the beauty is we got our war anyway and now we own the Secretary-General.


December 17, 2005

UN stages rare Burma discussion (Susannah Price, 12/17/05, BBC)

The United Nations Security Council has held a rare discussion of Burma.

Council members heard a briefing from a senior UN official and held talks behind closed doors.

The UK ambassador to the UN said that despite disagreement over whether Burma was a threat to peace and security, all showed concern about the situation. […]

Denmark’s ambassador to the UN, Ellen Margrethe Loj, said the briefing was a clear signal that the world had not forgotten the suffering of Burma.

The United States and the United Kingdom, among others, have argued that Burma should be taken up by the Security Council because drugs trafficking and refugees make it a threat to international peace and security.

But other countries say its record is an internal issue.

As long as there’s an America, denial of God-given rights will never be an internal issue.

Myanmar Back on U.N. Agenda: The Security Council discusses problems in the military-run Southeast Asian country after being prodded by the U.S. and Britain. (Maggie Farley, December 17, 2005, LA Times)

[D]iplomats said the United States and Britain argued in the closed-door meeting that conditions within the country destabilized the region, as refugees, drugs and slave labor flowed across its borders.

British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said that despite disagreement about whether those problems constitute an international threat, the meeting was an important first step. […]

Additional pressure to address Myanmar came from a September report commissioned by Desmond Tutu, another Nobel peace laureate, and former Czech President Vaclav Havel. […]

President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed Asian leaders for action during a recent trip to an economic summit in South Korea.

This week, the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations authorized Malaysia’s foreign minister to visit Myanmar to push for “tangible results” in the country’s democratic reforms.

Myanmar has produced a seven-stage road map toward free elections and held a constitutional convention earlier this month, but without Suu Kyi’s opposition party.

One of the conditions imposed by China and like-minded countries was that the Security Council discussion of Myanmar be a one-time event.

Discussions regarding politically sensitive situations in Sudan and Zimbabwe faced similar resistance by China and Russia, which generally object to interference in a country’s internal affairs, as well as African countries.

But Britain and the U.S. slipped them onto the agenda, and now problems in both African countries are being addressed by the council.