Yesterday UNESCO admitted the Palestinians....
Enter Iran's Parliament. Yesterday's news flash: Iran has announced plans to build 10--yes, that's ten!--new nuclear plants for enriching uranium. The Sydney Morning Herald carried details of the announcement from the Majlis, Iran's parliament:
State television reported on its website that Ahmadinejad's cabinet overwhelmingly ordered Iran's atomic body to begin building at five new sites earmarked for uranium enrichment plants and to locate sites for another five over the next two months.
The report said the Islamic republic plans to produce 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power which would be generated by building another 10 uranium enrichment plants the size of the one in the central city of Natanz.
"In order to produce 20,000 megawatts we need 500,000 centrifuges with the current capacity. But we have designed new centrifuges which have higher capacity, so we would require less centrifuges and as soon as they become operational we will use them," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
"We have to reach the level to be able to produce between 250 and 300 tons of fuel per year in the country, and for this we need newer centrifuges with a higher speed."
A Wall Street Journal editorial notes that 500,000 centrifuges can filter enough enriched uranium to make 160 nuclear bombs per year--this is more than the size of Pakistan's entire nuclear arsenal.
Exit El-Baradei. Upon his exit from the chief position at the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Muhammad el-Baradei declared the Iran nuclear program investigation at a "dead end" after nearly a decade of probing. El-Baradei cited Iran's obstruction of IAEA efforts:
There has been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the agency to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," El-Baradei told the opening session of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors. "We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us."
Iran's idea of "engaging fully" is to reject the P 5 + 1 proposal (UN Big Five + Germany) that Iran ship 3/4 of its commercially-enriched uranium (3.5 - 5% enriched) to Russia for enriching to medical research level (19.75%, just shy of official baseline weapons-grade of 20% enrichment) and then processed in France, to be returned to Tehran. Instead, Iran wants uranium enriched outside, shipped to tehran, and THEN it will surrender and equivalent amount of its own stockpile. On Fox News, John Bolton rightly slammed el-Baradei for, in essence, covering his tail as he exits, after having aided Iran's protracted stall and evasion over the years. El-Baradei, recipient of another Nobel Peace Prize awarded for pseudo-peace efforts, has openly said he thinks it unfair that big nations have the bomb and Third World nations do not. Just what we need at the IAEA, a multiculturalist egalitarian.
Meanwhile, Iran has cracked down on schools as part of an "ideological soft war"; Iran also defends freezing financial assets of the 2003 Nobel laureate, human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi. Iranian officials have also seized Ebadi's medal. and replied to protests from the Norwegian Nobel Committee that the Norwegians should not (you guessed it) "interfere in Iran's internal affairs."
WSJ reporter Gerald F. Seib reports on the Victims of Iranian Censorship Act, which the Senate has passed, providing funding to enable Iranian dissenters to access US-controlled Internet proxy servers and thus circumvent Iranian censors; Team Obama is not happy.
Bottom Line. Iran's nuclear-aspirant, tyrannical regime marches on, the UN (as usual) dithers and The One in the White House continues to do what he does best: talk, talk & talk.
Hudson Institute scholar Anne Bayevsky has been banned from UN Headquarters. Seems she offended the Palestinians by condemning the omission of Hamas from a UN resolution on its slanderous Goldstone Report. As the WSJ editors note, this is Orwellian:
Meanwhile, a committee of the General Assembly recently passed a resolution on the so-called defamation of religion. "Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference, and has the right to freedom of expression, the exercise of which carries with it special duties and responsibilities and may therefore be subject to limitations," it says.
"Without interference" yet "subject to limitations." Orwell should be living now.
Bottom Line. Orwell's 1984 totalitarian prophecy fortunately did not come to pass. But the Ministry of Truth (Lies) in that great work exists today, and the UN's Turtle Bay HQ is one of its chief departments.
Claudia Rosett assays the UN diplomatic & financial balance sheet and finds little to have celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 24, declared UN Day. CR sees Brownian motion at the UN. Such motion is seemingly random, but with an underlying complex set of motion mechanics. My vote is for the UN representing an alternate quantum universe. Only then can the diplomatic surrealism there be adequately described.
Try this latest UN news item, courtesy of the Washington Times--per humorist Dave Barry, I am NOT making this up. A new UN report identifies as a terrorist threat----discrimination against...transexuals. Consider these paragraphs from the WT editorial:
The 23-page document is the ultimate politically correct guide to combating terrorism. It is based on the work of U.N. special rapporteur Martin Scheinin, who notes that "immigration controls that focus attention on male bombers who may be dressing as females to avoid scrutiny make transgender persons susceptible to increased harassment and suspicion." The impact on transvestites (cross-dressers) and "intersex" individuals (those in the midst of a sex change) is even more dramatic....
The U.N. report explicitly argues for a return to the previous failed framework, recommending that states "abandon the use of a "war paradigm" when countering terrorism because of the "adverse impacts" it has on "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals."
Bottom Line. The Turtle Bay Fun House continues to reach for new frontiers of fecklessness.
Here is a transcript of the Libyan dictator's Wed Sept 23 speech; the video of the 96-minute bloviation is also at this link. One blogger offers highlights of what Washington Times pundit Wes Pruden called--referring to last week's gaggle of speeches and resolutions that will accomplish nothing--"the Children's Hour":
1. Gadaffi called Barack Obama his son: “I extend our congratulations to our son President Obama because he attends with us the General Assembly meeting for the first time as President of the United States of America.”
2.Gadaffi implied that swine flu is an artificial form of biological warfare: “Perhaps Swine Flu is one of these viruses that were not controlled and it is produced in laboratories as war weapon.”
3. Gadaffi compared himself (and other disliked dictators) to Julius Caesar: “Once Rome has voted for Julius Caesar to be a dictator and the Senate gave him the authority to be dictator because they thought that dictatorship was useful to Rome then. This is an internal affair. Who can say to Rome , why did you that? That is making of Caesar a dictator ruler!”
4. Gaddafi, an hour into the speech, insulted the General Assembly: “I woke up at 4am, before dawn! You should be asleep! You’re all tired after a sleepless night!”
5. Gaddafi compared the General Assembly to the kooks in Hyde Park: “You make your speech and then you disappear. That’s all you are right now.”
6. Gaddafi then compared the General Assembly to al-Qaeda: “This is terrorism, like the terrorism of al-Qaeda. Terrorism is not just al-Qaeda, it takes many forms.”
7. After calling Barack Obama his “son,” he then gives the President another backhanded compliment: “Now the black man doesn’t have to sit in the back of the bus, the American people made him president and we are proud of that. We would be happy if Obama stayed president of America forever.”
I missed the speech, but noted 96 minutes + solving JFK assassination (Israel did it--probably the father of one of the 5,000 Jews who stayed home on 9/11). Better to save jet lag would be to put the UN in Libyan desert, where Gaddafi likes to pitch his tent. Might have trouble persuading the escort services & limos to relocate, but parking problem is over forever. I wish he had spoken 96 days, with delegates forced to listen! And how about making Gadaffi next Secretary-General? He is perfect choice. Apparently, he tore up UN charter & his interpreter collapsed during his speech!
The Times Online piece notes that all-comers' record for UN windbaggery is an 8-hur speech by India's then-Defense Minister, V.K. Krsihna-Menon,, in 1957.
The 575-page Goldstone Report, by Richard Goldstone (a South African Jew) and three others, was released last week. I read the Executive Summary (pp. 5-38) and the sections on Conclusions and Recommendations (pp. 520-554: Conclusions begin on page 520, and Recommendations on page 546). These paragraphs from the Conclusions section encapsulate how grotesque the report is (sorry for formatting problems--the excerpts are still readable):
1680. The Gaza military operations were, according to the Israeli Government, thoroughly and
extensively planned. While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as
essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self defence, the Mission
considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza
as a whole.
1681. In this respect, the operations were in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at punishing
the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas, and possibly with
the intent of forcing a change in such support. The Mission considers this position to be firmly
based in fact, bearing in mind what it saw and heard on the ground, what it read in the accounts
of soldiers who served in the campaign, and what it heard and read from current and former
military officers and political leaders whom the Mission considers to be representative of the
thinking that informed the policy and strategy of the military operations.
Here is what the Conclusions section says of Palestinian rocket attacks:
E. Rocket and mortar attacks in Israel
1697. Palestinian armed groups have launched thousands of rockets and mortars into Israel
since April 2001. These have succeeded in causing terror within Israel’s civilian population, as
evidenced by the high rates of psychological trauma within the affected communities. The
attacks have also led to erosion of the social, cultural and economic lives of the communities in
southern Israel, and have affected the rights to education of the tens of thousands of children and
young adults who attend classes in the affected areas.
1698. Within the mandated period of the Mission, these attacks have left 4 people dead and
hundreds injured. That there have not been more casualties is due to a combination of luck and
measures taken by the Israeli government, including the fortification of public buildings,
construction of shelters and, in times of escalated hostilities, the cloure of schools.
1699. The Mission notes, with concern, that Israel has not provided the same level of protection
from rockets and mortars to affected Palestinian citizens as it has to Jewish citizens. In particular,
it has failed to provide public shelters or fortification of schools, for example, to the Palestinian
community living in the unrecognised villages and some of the recognised communities. It ought to go without saying that the thousands of Palestinian Israelis– including a significant number of
children – who live within the range of rocket fire, deserve the same protection as the Israeli
Government provides to its Jewish citizens.
Here are two more "rockets" paragraphs later in the section:
1747. In relation to the firing of rockets and mortars into Southern Israel by Palestinian armed
groups operating in the Gaza Strip, the Mission finds that the Palestinian armed groups fail to
distinguish between military targets and the civilian population and civilian objects in Southern
Israel. The launching of rockets and mortars which cannot be aimed with sufficient precisions at
military targets breaches the fundamental principle of distinction. Where there is no intended
military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into civilian areas, they constitute a
deliberate attack against the civilian population. These actions would constitute war crimes and
may amount to crimes against humanity.
1748. The Mission concludes that the rocket and mortars attacks, launched by Palestinian
armed groups operating from Gaza, have caused terror in the affected communities of southern
Israel. The attacks have caused loss of life and physical and mental injury to civilians as well as
damaging private houses, religious buildings and property and eroding the economic and cultural
life of the affected communities and severely affected economic and social rights of the
N.B. In para. 1747, "may" amount to war crimes.
Here from the Conclusions section is a paragraph exemplifying moral equivalence between Palestinian and Israeli suffering, plus false history--the 1967 Green Line marked ceasefire positions, not negotiated borders:
1705. Both the Palestinians and the Israelis are legitimately angered at the lives that they are
forced to lead: For the Palestinians, the anger about individual events – the civilian casualties,
injuries and destruction in Gaza following from military attacks, the blockade, the continued
construction of the Wall outside of the 1967 borders – feed into an underlying anger about the
continuing Israeli occupation, its daily humiliations and their as-yet-unfulfilled right to self-
determination. For the Israelis, the public statements of Palestinian armed groups celebrating
rocket and mortar attacks on civilians strengthen a deep-rooted concern that negotiation will
yield little and that their nation remains under existential threat from which only it can protect its
people. In this way, both the Israelis and the Palestinians share a secret fear – for some, a belief –
that each has no intention of accepting the other’s right to a country of their own. This anger and
fear are unfortunately ably represented by many politicians.
In other words, the serial atrocities of Palestinian terrorism over the past four decades are to be equated with Israel's "occupation"--much of which covers territory awarded to Israel by the UN's own 1947 Partition Plan and then illegally seized by the Jordanians in 1948. Nor is there any acknowledgment that Israel in 200o offered 98 percent of the West Bank to Yasser Arafat, plus 2 percent of Israel proper to compensate for the 2 percent of the WB Israel proposed to retain, and Arafat turned the offer down.
This paragraph later in the section:
1750. The Mission also examined whether the Palestinian armed groups complied with their
obligations under international humanitarian law to take constant care to minimize the risk of
harm to the civilian population in Gaza among whom the hostilities were being conducted. The
conduct of hostilities in built-up areas does not, of itself, constitute a violation of international
law. However, launching attacks - whether of rockets and mortars at the population of southern
Israel or at the Israeli armed forces inside Gaza - close to civilian or protected buildings constitutes a failure to take all feasible precautions. In cases where this occurred, the Palestinian armed groups would have unnecessarily exposed the civilian population of Gaza to the inherent dangers of the military operations taking place around them. The Mission found no evidence to suggest that Palestinian armed groups either directed civilians to areas where attacks were being launched or that they forced civilians to remain within the vicinity of the attacks. The Mission also found no evidence that members of Palestinian armed groups engaged in combat in civilian dress. Although in the one incident of an Israeli attack on a mosque it investigated the Mission found that there was no indication that that mosque was used for military purposes or to shield military activities, the Mission cannot exclude that this might have occurred in other cases.
The Mission "cannot exclude" that Hamas used civilians "in other cases" as shields? Hamas routinely does so.
Here are two paragraphs in the section on Gaza authorities, which do not, in the Mission's view, seems to be a Hamas dictatorship controlling armed groups, but simply unable to control all those nasty people:
1751. Although the Gaza authorities deny any control over armed groups and responsibility of
their acts, in the Mission’s view, if they failed to take necessary measures to prevent the
Palestinian armed groups from endangering the civilian population, the Gaza authorities would
bear responsibility for the damage arising to the civilians living in Gaza.
1752. The Mission finds that security services under the control of the Gaza authorities carried
out extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrest, detention and ill treatment of people, in particular
political opponents, which constitute serious violations of the human rights to life, to liberty and
security of the person, to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment, to be protected against arbitrary arrest and detention, to a fair and impartial legal
proceeding; and to freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom to hold opinions
This paragraph from the Conclusions section is telling as to bias:
1711. After decades of sustained conflict, the level of threat to which both Palestinians and
Israelis are subjected has not abated, but if anything increased with continued escalations of
violence, death and suffering for the civilian population, of which the December-January
military operations in Gaza are only the most recent occurrence. The State of Israel is therefore
also failing to protect its own citizens by refusing to acknowledge the futility of resorting to
violent means and military power.
Israeli military action is only futile because Israel has never unleashed the full power of its military. Were Israel to unleash its full might on the Palestinians it could kill tens of thousands in days, and end resistance. Israel's civilized values prevent it from doing so. Israel, put simply, will not do what Syrian dictator Hafez Assad did in the city of Hamas in 1982: send in tanks to kills 20,000 in two days to quell an uprising.
Oh, and how come there is no comment in the UN's paragraph quoted above, as to the futility of resorting to terrorism? Because the UN, and surely the authors of this report, see terrorism as justified by Israel's "occupation." (The report goes on to praise all the good works of UN personnel in the Palestinian lands, ignoring how the UN has facilitated and abetted Palestinian terrorism and the spread of lies about Israel and the Jews, during those decades.)
Here, from the Executive Summary (pp. 5 - 38), are all of two paragraphs on the Palestinians and civilian casualties:
4. Obligation to take feasible precautions to protect civilian population and objects by
Palestinian armed groups in Gaza
35. The Mission examined whether and to what extent the Palestinian armed groups violated
their obligation to exercise care and take feasible precautions to protect the civilian population in
Gaza from the inherent dangers of the military operations (Chapter VIII). The Mission was faced
with a certain reluctance by the persons it interviewed in Gaza to discuss the activities of the
armed groups. On the basis of the information gathered, the Mission found that Palestinian
armed groups were present in urban areas during the military operations and launched rockets
from urban areas. It may be that the Palestinian combatants did not at all times adequately
distinguish themselves from the civilian population. The Mission found no evidence, however, to
suggest that Palestinian armed groups either directed civilians to areas where attacks were being
launched or that they forced civilians to remain within the vicinity of the attacks.
36. Although the situations investigated by the Mission did not establish the use of mosques for
military purposes or to shield military activities, it cannot exclude that this might have occurred in other cases. The Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital
facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or by Palestinian armed groups to shield military
activities and that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes.
On the basis of its own investigations and the statements by UN officials, the Mission excludes
that Palestinian armed groups engaged in combat activities from UN facilities that were used as
shelters during the military operations. The Mission cannot, however, discount the possibility
that Palestinian armed groups were active in the vicinity of such UN facilities and hospitals.
While the conduct of hostilities in built-up areas does not, of itself, constitute a violation of
international law, Palestinian armed groups, where they launched attacks close to civilian or
protected buildings, unnecessarily exposed the civilian population of Gaza to danger.
"Could not find any evidence" of the human shields policy that is the hallmark of how Hamas operates? Willful blindness is a kind appellation for such failure by the Mission.
In all, the Goldstone Mission found Palestinians guilty of minor war crimes, but accused Israel of major crimes, while ignoring much done by Hamas. The Recommendations, broadly, call for criminal prosecution and for pervasive monitoring, with Israel clearly the prime target. Here are the twin paragraphs from the Recommendations section that offer the prescription for the Palestinians to undertake:
1770. To Palestinian armed groups
• The Mission recommends that Palestinian armed groups undertake forthwith to respect
international humanitarian law, in particular by renouncing attacks on Israeli civilians and
civilian objects, and take all feasible precautionary measures to avoid harm to Palestinian
civilians during hostilities
• The Mission recommends that Palestinian armed groups who hold Israeli soldier Gilad
Shalit in detention release him on humanitarian grounds. Pending such release they
should recognize his status as prisoner of war, treat him as such, and allow him ICRC
1771. To responsible Palestinian authorities
• The Mission recommends that the Palestinian Authority issue clear instructions to
security forces under its command to abide by human rights norms as enshrined in the
Palestinian Basic Law and international instruments; ensure prompt and independent
investigation of all allegations of serious human rights violations by security forces under
its control; and end resort to military justice to deal with cases involving civilians.
• The Mission recommends that the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza authorities release
without delay all political detainees currently in their power and refrain from further
arrests on political grounds and in violation of international human rights law.
• The Mission recommends that the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza authorities
continue to enable the free and independent operation of Palestinian non-governmental
organizations, including human rights organizations, and of the Independent Commission
on Human Rights
Other Views. This Los Angeles Times op-ed summarizes the absurdity of the UN's latest Mideast atrocity: whitewashing Hamas & smearing Israel. This article excerpt captures the outrageous bias of Goldstone and Co.:
In an attempt to balance the report, the mission did conclude that Palestinian rocket fire into Israel constitutes war crimes. But this is largely irrelevant because the extent of the charges against Israel is so much greater and more damning.
The political bias of the mission was borne out in the report, which, despite its 575 pages, failed to find conclusive evidence of Hamas' extraordinary use of civilians and civilian infrastructure for military purposes.
For example, the report makes no mention of the recorded incidents of Palestinian rocket fire from school premises during the operation, despite video evidence.
The mission also failed to find evidence of Palestinian forces using mosques to store rockets and explosives and said so in the report. But the Israel Defense Forces made public many videos showing Israeli air force strikes on mosques in which huge secondary explosions can be seen following the initial attack, testifying to the presence of rocket stores in the mosques.
The report also fails to mention that the Palestinian forces recruited children to conduct combat-support operations. A Jan. 9 report in an Arabic-language paper in Israel included an interview with Khaled, a child from Gaza. He said: "We the children ... are fulfilling missions of support for the [Hamas] resistance fighters, by transmitting messages about the movements of the enemy forces or by bringing them ammunition and food."
The Palestinian forces utilized the civilian infrastructure of Gaza so completely that IDF soldiers and commanders could never be sure that people usually considered to be noncombatants were not participating in the hostilities, and that installations typically considered to be of a civilian nature were not being used to stage attacks on them. Without this crucial context, it is impossible to understand the dilemmas faced by the IDF during the operation or the reasons why injury to Gazan civilians and damage to civilian infrastructure were incurred.
On Commentary Blog, author Max Boot assesses the Goldstone product. MB notes that Goldstone & Co. refer to Gaza as "occupied territory"; MB concludes that had the UN done a similar report on World War II, Allied sins would have received more attention than the war crimes of of the Nazis. This one paragraph of Boot's crisp piece notes--read it in full--how the UN accepts the Palestinian position in toto:
The report also takes a swipe at Israeli restrictions on movement in the West Bank without any acknowledgment that this is done solely to prevent terrorism in Israel or any suggestion that this is related to the Gaza War. Israel is even castigated for “policies on the right to enter from abroad and the right of return for refugees,” meaning that the UN (or at least its Human Rights Commission) has endorsed the Palestinian bargaining position of the supposed “right to return,” which really amounts to the destruction of Israel by demographic means. But such pervasive anti-Israeli bias should not be surprising coming from a fact-finding mission that misses the elementary fact that the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip ended in 2005; the report still refers to Gaza as “Israeli occupied territory.”
Don't believe Boot? Try this paragraph from the Conclusions section:
1694. As the Mission focussed on investigating and analyzing the specific matters within its
mandate, Israel’s continuing occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank emerged as the
fundamental factor underlying violations of international humanitarian and human rights law
against the protected population and undermining prospects for development and peace. Israel’s
failure to acknowledge and exercise its responsibilities as the Occupying Power further
exacerbated the effects of occupation on the Palestinian people, and continue to do so.
Furthermore, the harsh and unlawful practices of occupation, far from quelling resistance, breed
it, including its violent manifestations. The Mission is of the view that ending occupation is a
prerequisite for the return of a dignified life for Palestinians, as well as development and a
peaceful solution to the conflict.
David Landau of Haaretz, in a Sunday New York Times op-ed, argued that Goldstone missed a chance for a needed debate by falsely accusing the IDF of intentionally targeting civilians:
When does negligence become recklessness, and when does recklessness slip into wanton callousness, and then into deliberate disregard for innocent human life?
But that is the point — and it should have been the focus of the investigation. Judge Goldstone’s real mandate was, or should have been, to bring Israel to confront this fundamental question, a question inherent in the waging of war by all civilized societies against irregular armed groups. Are widespread civilian casualties inevitable when a modern army pounds terrorist targets in a heavily populated area with purportedly smart ordnance? Are they acceptable? Does the enemy’s deployment in the heart of the civilian area shift the line between right and wrong, in morality and in law?
These were precisely the questions that Israeli politicians and generals wrestled with in Gaza, as others do today in Afghanistan.
It is possible, and certainly arguable, that the Israeli policymakers, or individual Israeli field commanders in isolated instances, pushed the line out too far.
But Judge Goldstone has thwarted any such honest debate — within Israel or concerning Israel. His fundamental premise, that the Israelis went after civilians, shut down the argument before it began.
Bottom Line. The Goldstone Mission produced the latest UN atrocity in the Mideast. Israel remains in the UN's gun-sights, while Hamas gets mostly a pass. US taxpayers helped pay the cost of this grotesquerie. In essence, what the Goldstone Report did was cast a blood-libel on Israel--knowingly level (intent is inferred from act, in evidence law) a maliciously false, deeply damning accusation.
Hudson Institute scholar Anne Bayevsky details how President Obama, in presiding over a UN Security Council session today, will harm American interests. As the first President to do so, he will confer more legitimacy on the UN, whose anti-Americanism is deep-seated and unchangeable. Also, 44 plans to discuss nuclear disarmament without naming violators like Iran & North Korea, and lump in reduction of American arsenals along with rogue proliferators. (Here is the text of President Obama's Sept. 23 address to the General Assembly; To his credit, 44 mentioned Iran & North Korea negatively, and comdemned "reflexive anti-Americanism"; the chamber was silent.)
Blindness to huge differences between disarming rogue proliferators and dealing with other nuclear problems can only provide succor to the rogues, who have not been moved one whit by America having already dismantled some 95 percent of its nuclear arsenal, a fact 44 never mentions (and may not even know).
UN maven Claudia Rosett, bane of the oli-for-food fraudsters, chimes in with a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed arguing that Obama will demean himself & his office by chairing the Security Council meeting. CR fears (rightly that Obama will make more unreciprocated arms control concessions and get only a photo op in return:
The United Nations holds votes, but it is not a democracy, and it does not cleave to its own lofty charter principles about upholding human dignity. If it did, quite a number of member states, including one of the major founders, Stalin's Soviet Union, would never have been enrolled, and others would have been kicked out years ago (that's never happened).
In practice, the United Nations is a messy, murky despot-infested collective - opaque, girdled in diplomatic immunities, and thus largely unaccountable for its actions. The biggest voting bloc in the General Assembly is the 130-member G-77, which this year picked for its chair - I'm not kidding - the genocidal government of Sudan (whose President Omar al-Bashir is under indictment by the International Criminal Court).
The Security Council isn't all that much better. Chairmanship rotates monthly through all 15 members, with no regard for what kind of regimes that might entail. The five permanent members are democratic France, Britain, and the United States, plus despotic Russia and China. The current roster of 10 rotating members includes not only Japan and Austria, but Vietnam and Libya. This month it is America's turn to preside; Obama will sit in the same chair occupied in March by an envoy of Moammar Gadhafi's Libya. With heads of state summoned for Thursday's historic occasion, it's likely history will record the spectacle of terror-drenched tyrant-for-life Gadhafi sharing the table.
In this setup, the most law-abiding of the 192 member states tend to get stuck with the results of whatever the Security Council agrees to. The most unscrupulous, which account to no electorates back home, feel free to lie as they please and do whatever they can get away with, which is plenty, because the United Nations leaves individual member states to police their own compliance with U.N. deals. From the oil-for-food scandal to the current sanctions-busting traffic with the likes of Iran and North Korea, it is common practice for some Security Council members to violate, with impunity, the same deals they vote for. That goes far to explain why a series of "binding" Security Council resolutions over the last three years imposing sanctions on North Korea and Iran have failed to stop the nuclear programs of Pyongyang or Tehran.
Sending an envoy to navigate this scene and report to the president has the great advantage of leaving room to maneuver, revise, rethink, defuse, and deny without showcasing the U.S. president as petitioning support from whatever despot has been exalted to swing vote of the season. Even Jimmy Carter was not foolish enough to try the stunt of subbing for his own ambassador at the Security Council.
In an AEI column last week, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton also assessed the President's UN prospects at the UN. JB notes that 44 will get loud cheers, unlike Bush 43 (he got applause, but no fan cheers, ususally at the wrong moments). This is because unlike his predecessor 44 has sucked up to every dictator on the planet (Bolton is too diplomatic to put it this way). 43 called the UN a "wax museum" because he was given the silent treatment. That was, however unintentionally, an insult to Madame Tussaud's and the other wax museums on the planet.
While the stage was being set for this week's grand opening in NYC, what did the United Nations do recently? In Vienna, at a meeting of member nations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), sitting on secret data on Iran's program, the IAEA passed a resolution by a 49-45 vote, with 16 abstentions, condemning the nuclear activities of...Israel. Yes, Israel.
Bottom Line. While President Obama diddles at the UN, the UN continues its old ways of shafting Israel, and the clock runs on Israel's Day of Decision re Iran.
Team 44 UN Ambassador Susan Rice, a WSJ editorial says, does not "get it" as to which Security Council resolutions bind and which do not bind. After North Korea's in-your-face April 5 missile launch, the Security Council managed only a "presidential statement" that, contrary to Team 44's statement, does not bind anyone. It is as low-grade a response as the SC can manage. (Alas, the SC is good, very good, if at not much else, at giving low-grade responses to high-grade offenses.) Only Chapter VII resolutions are legally binding, which means that the UN an impose sanctions for failure to comply. North Korea violated such a resolution in launching its missile. Sanctions imposed: zero, zilch, nada, rien, pick your language. The pathetic un-presidential UN-presidential statement simply affirmed what North Korea & the world knows: a violation was thus committed. And everyone knows that the violation went unpunished. Chalk up another triumphant day for the "Parliament of Man."
Ace UN maven Claudia Rosett explains why the Obama administration's seeking to join the UN's Human Wrongs Council's gaggle of dictatorships is more likely to legitimate future wrongs at the UN than to undo wrongs already committed. Hudson Institute scholar Anne Bayevsky adds more grisly detail on the UN's dismal work in Geneva. Team 44, alas, seems intent on ceding American influence to transnational bodies. The concept of a distinct American national interest is anathema to such fora. Team 44 presumes a commonality of mutual national interests, expressed via transnational organizations, that is not evident in the public record.
In a spirit Pat Oliphant can appreciate--so long as his cartoons are not affected--the UN Human Wrongs Council passed over Western country objections a resolution protecting Muslims from criticism under the rubric of defaming religion. We tolerate this outrage because we continue to believe that diplomatic good is done by allowing the world's worst human rights violators to vent at our expense. It is a theological belief--like that in a Mideast "peace process"--and hence immune to refutation by citation to a massive body of inconvenient fact. Journalist Claudia Rosett notes that next month President 44 will attend the UN's "Alliance of Civilizations" gabfest in Istanbul, where enough diplomatic hot air will be vented to cover up the UN's ongoing and past (and planned future) outrages. Let One World Community Follies continue.
Ace UN maven Claudia Rosett nails Turtle Bay's nabobs for following UN bureaucratic procedure and appointing a Libyan thug head of the General assembly, in deference to the African Union. President 44 declined to use soft power to try to change this, Rosett writes. But CR does note the plus side, when, recently, 44 decided to pull his team out of the April anti-Semitic hate-fest, the Durban II conference, set to open in Geneva.
Begin with the Sat. Jan. 10 "Meet the New Press" posting that includes a summary of the main points I made when being interviewed by Skip Murphy, Doug Lambert, & Pat Hines. Here is the podcast link for my interview on the show. It was a pleasure to make my first appearance on this New Hampshire radio station.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel is moving into Gaza City (pop. 400,000) ISO Hamas personnel & infrastructure. JP also sees Turkey's role in ceasefire talks as central to their prospects. Turkey, however, is talking to Hamas in place of Egypt, as Hamas is angry with Egypt over its criticism of the group. Turkey's role has hurt its normally good relations with Israel.
Turn now to the UN: The UN Human Rights Council voted 33-1 to condemn Israel alone for human rights violations in Gaza. Canada took the merit badge for voting against, while the EU members abstained. America does not currently have a seat on the HRC. Notch another classic for the UN.
This WSJ piece explains in detail how we & others are funding Palestinian terror by subsidizing high birthrates; the average Palestinian woman bears six children. As the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan often noted, a society that cannot find productive outlets for its young males is asking for trouble. In the past 60 years 62,000 have been killed in Arab - Israeli wars (40,000 Arabs, 22,000 Israelis). The poison arises from the intersection of masses of youth and foolish international subvention:
The reason for Gaza's endless youth bulge is that a large majority of its population does not have to provide for its offspring. Most babies are fed, clothed, vaccinated and educated by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Unlike the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, which deals with the rest of the world's refugees and aims to settle them in their respective host countries, UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian problem by classifying as refugees not only those who originally fled their homes, but all of their descendents as well.
UNRWA is benevolently funded by the U.S. (31%) and the European Union (nearly 50%) -- only 7% of the funds come from Muslim sources. Thanks to the West's largesse, nearly the entire population of Gaza lives in a kind of lowly but regularly paid dependence. One result of this unlimited welfare is an endless population boom. Between 1950 and 2008, Gaza's population has grown from 240,000 to 1.5 million. The West basically created a new Near Eastern people in Gaza that at current trends will reach three million in 2040. Within that period, Gazans may alter the justifications and directions of their aggression but are unlikely to stop the aggression itself....
As long as we continue to subsidize Gaza's extreme demographic armament, young Palestinians will likely continue killing their brothers or neighbors. And yet, despite claiming that it wants to bring peace to the region, the West continues to make the population explosion in Gaza worse every year. By generously supporting UNRWA's budget, the West assists a rate of population increase that is 10 times higher than in their own countries. Much is being said about Iran waging a proxy war against Israel by supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. One may argue that by fueling Gaza's untenable population explosion, the West unintentionally finances a war by proxy against the Jews of Israel.
The author concludes:
If we seriously want to avoid another generation of war in Gaza, we must have the courage to tell the Gazans that they will have to start looking after their children themselves, without UNRWA's help. This would force Palestinians to focus on building an economy instead of freeing them up to wage war. Of course, every baby lured into the world by our money up to now would still have our assistance.
Will we ever learn?
UN maven Claudia Rosett offers the inglorious details on how Iran, which covers less than 1/100th of the share of the UN's bloated over-$20 billion annual budget as does Uncle Sam (0.18 % v. 20.0%), gets better treatment than do we. CR details just how cozy Iran is sitting at Turtle Bay. Perhaps if the US reduced its contribution to 0/18 percent of the UN's budget.... Will never happen in the new administration, which seems infatuated with the UN. Team Obama will learn the hard way.
President Bush spoke with predictable idealism in his farewell appearance at the UN. Much of his address was the kind of diplomatic rhetoric--preaching idealism to the utterly cynical audience--that is a staple of American presidential speech-making at Turtle Bay.
One citation stood out, because it noted a concrete and substantial pair of achievements: (1) 5 years ago, only 50,000 sub-Saharan Africans with HIV were receiving treatment, a number that now stands at 1.7 million; (2) there are now 25 million Africans receiving protection against malaria, a continuing scourge. Beyond question, this improvement is directly due to President Bush having pushed--hard and often--to make a major new commitment to help Africa. Bush will, of course, get little credit for this from his critics--with the notable exception of a few liberals like the Irish rock star Bono.
Thus was idealism turned, in this one instance, into practical, successful remedial action. Would that the president had been as successful versus Iran and North Korea.
WSJ editor Bret Stephens offers a way out for Darfur's genocidal horrors: accept the offer of the Blackwater security firm's CEO, Erik Prince, to allow him to send 250 advisers to train an elite African force; augmented by choppers and other equipment, they could go after the killers. Don't hold your breath for the UN to actually do anything. It prefers, as BS notes, to strut around, bloviate, and--knowingly--look the other way as genocide continues.
While Blackwater personnel are persona non grata in Iraq, due to allegations that the firm used too much force in carrying out its contractual commitments (leading Hillary to sponsor legislation outlawing the use of private security forces overseas), it turns out, reports the Daily Telegraph, that Obama used Blackwater in Afghanistan to protect him and fellow senators Jack Reed & Chuck Hagel.
To the extent that one may wish for a meaningful role for the United Nations in matters of international security (I do not so wish), a New York Times front-pager offers the classic example of low-grade barbarism of the kind the UN might usefully confront: Somali Islamist gangs are targeting international aid workers, to force them out, which would result in greater mass starvation. The UN cannot be effective vis-a-vis Iran, where vetoes in the Security Council by the likes of Russia, China & France, three realpolitik-oriented countries, frustrate useful policy aims, save in the rare "alignment of the planets" case like the Gulf War--and even then, UN resolutions impeded America's options at the end of the war.
Somalia represents the kind of low-grade challenge where UN troops, were they competent and well-commanded, could make a difference, bringing minimal post-colonial stability to places of anarchy. Darfur is another. No major military is needed, no megabuck expenses. The UN, needless to say, dithers, as ever.
Once again the folks at Turtle Bay have not let us down. Demonstrating true commitment to principle, the General Assembly has chosen a former Sandinista foreign minister, and Lenin Prize winner, no less, as its president, and a representative to be vice-president who comes from the government of...get this...Burma. Yes, that Burma. Oops, we mean Myanmar, don't we? Oh yes, the new president promptly condemned US aggression in Iraq & Afghanistan. The US stood by as this happened, without registering even symbolic protest by abstention and walking out. Next milestone, perhaps, will be the Taliban being given observer status akin to that given the Palestinians. A Wall Street Journal piece identifies one issue the UN will studiously ignore: slavery in the world today. If America & Israel can't be blamed, why bother? It will, it seems, take an East River tsunami to fix the mess at Turtle Bay, once and for all.
On NRO, Nile Gardiner nails the UN Human Wrongs Council for finding a new target for investigation: America. Yep. A UN special rapporteur will be visiting us for three weeks ISO evidence of "racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" in America. As NG notes, Burma, China, Zimbabwe and other leading global lights of freedom and gentleness are not on the UN's program.
Come to think of it, there IS reason to investigate America. Perhaps Barack can set up an appointment with Pastor Wright....or his congregation...or Michelle....
A Wall Street Journal editorial lambastes the UN's failure to act decisively in the wake of the cyclone that devastated southern Burma. It suggests that the UN expel Burma--if the Chinese wish to veto as the Olympics approaches, let them do so and take the heat. Indicative of the Burmese regime is that upon finally allowing aid packages to come in, the regime stamped boxes with pro-regime propaganda.
The Burma mess recalls the memorable post-Tsunami postings of a GOP (there are a few!) employee at Foggy Bottom, who posted under the sobriquet "Diplomad" from August 2004 - February 2005. After the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami, he chronicled how heroic relief efforts by the Yanks & Aussies contrasted with the UN and European types sitting on their rails and pontificating. This New Years' Day 2005 posting conveys the flavor of what went on then.
Well, at the UN they may not yet have "beat their swords into plowshares" but they have, the Washington Post tells us, burnt nearly 100,000 books--as part of a history project, no less. Kudos to UNESCO! Savonarola has nothing on these non-local yokels. Untied Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, eh? How about United Nations Embracing, Spreading and Celebrating Orwelliamism?
On the good news front, take a peek at the Global Governance Watch website created by its co-sponsors, the American Enterprise Institute & the Federalist Society. This neat resource will be a massive database tracking four themes common to the UN and the hydra-headed Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) alliances that between them seek to undermine the governance by the democratic nation-state that protects Western constitutional freedoms. The four themes: (1) Development; (2) Global Regulation; (3) Human Security; (4) National Security.
Yesterday, AEI hosted a kick-off event, featuring former UN Ambassador John Bolton and, among others, Claudia Rosett, scourge of UN corruption scandals. Bolton stressed how NGOs increasingly use--well, abuse--the legal concept of ius cogens (Latin legalese for "compelling law"--see this Wikipedia for a nutshell article for lay readers) to impose, chiefly upon the United States, compliance obligations despite lack of treaty ratification. The idea is that by custom certain laws become universally binding. Except that whereas custom once meant decades, if not centuries, now certain treaties are adopted by 100+ countries and presto, they assert that America is bound by custom. Nice work if you can get it, eh?
You knew it would happen: the UN's Human Wrongs Council adopted a resolution introduced by the Organization of Islamic Conference nominally, aimed at defamation of religions. Naturally, the only religion mentioned as a victim was Islam. Nothing about the Nazi TV aired in the Arab world, littered with blood libels of the Jews. The vote was 21-10 against, with the European Union & Canada commendably opposed; the U.S. is not a member. The EU's stance is especially noteworthy, as earlier it had indicated sympathy for action to curb defamation of religion. Libel's origin, in English common law, was as state prosecution against those who criticized King or Church. It seems that the UN--hardly a surprise--is joining militant Islam in a journey back over the centuries.
A Wall Street Journal editorial explains last week's Security Council adoption of a throed round of sanctions. Put simply, they add a few people to the list of bad actors, but impose no real added penalty on Iran. This happened despite tough language from the IAEA inspectors, on Iran's dissembling re its nuclear program. Not good news for those who fear of nuclear Iran.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the UN Human Rights Council will release a report naming someone else than Israel as a human rights violator. North Korea, which starved millions to finance a nuclear weapons program? Saudi Arabia, which treats guest workers as slaves? Iran, which medievally tortures regime opponents? China, which censors Internet access? Russia, where gangsters have hijacked the economy? Venezuela, where a thug tyrant has commandeered a petroleum economy and bribed his supporters to stick with him? Sudan, where genocide continues?
You guessed it: the United States, over demolition of public housing in New Orleans post-Katrina.
A Wall Street Journal editorial gives the UN budget request for the coming fiscal year (2008-2009): a mere 25 percent increase. Not included are a couple of billion for "peacekeeping" operations that rarely keep true peace. and where a UN investigation has now found pervasive corruption--illicit contracts to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Oh, and guess how much of the UN's basic $4.8 billion budget (which the U.S. estimates will actually turn out to be $5.2 billion) goes to salaries and administrative overhead? Try 75 percent--NOT a misprint. Worse, the UN is planning for 2009 a repeat of its infamous 2001 Durban anti-Semitic hate-fest, as this New York Sun editorial details. Here is more from ace UN scourge Claudia Rosett, who exposed the UN oil-for-food mess, and warns that U.S. UN Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is asleep at the switch on this.
When John Bolton was nominated to represent us at the UN, he caught lots of flack for a past remark that if 10 stories were taken out of the 38 stories at Turtle Bay, productivity would improve. How about keeping 10 and taking out 28? All of which tees up John Bolton's proposal that the entire UN budget be funded as are the WHO and UNICEF (and a few other agencies), with voluntary contributions. The result would be to shift control from the General Assembly, with its legions of freeloader recipient nations, to the core major donor nations who actually pay most of the bill. Put simply, the top eight donor nations fund 72.5 percent of the UN's total budget, while the bottom two-thirds (128 of the UN's 192 members) pay a combined share of less than one percent. The bottom quarter (48 members) pay all of 0.001 percent, an average of $19,000 per country. This creates classic moral hazard: underwriting bad behavior by subsidizing costs associated with such behavior.
It has been said by wags that the only difference between Congress and kindergarten is that the former lacks adult supervision. Turtle Bay, it seems, has too much supervision and too little quality output. Something for the incoming American administration to ponder, come January 2009.
The enviro-hug-fest now underway in Indonesia--which, according to one report, will burn more energy during the 12-day confab than will be consumed in the entire country of Chad in one year (100,000 tons!)--comes as new data reveal that from 2000 to 2005 the U.S. did better than the sanctimonious Europeans at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. All Europe did was to purchase emissions credits from Russia. Do not expect to hear any of this from the jet-set enviros, especially from super-celebs flying in on their private jets (G-V and larger).
Claudia Rosett, whose truth-telling continues to be one of the UN's worst PR nightmares, informs us that the panjandrums at Turtle Bay have declared 2008 the Year of Sanitation. Ms. Rosett suggests that they start by cleaning house at the UN itself, rather than elsewhere. LFTC publishes this item on the 60th anniversary of the UN Palestine Partition Plan, a day when UN members dispense with more trash-talk verbiage than perhaps any other calendar day of the year. Time for a song!
"Splish, Splash, the UN Needs a Bath"
(to the Bobby Darin 1958 hit, "Splish, Splash")
Splish, splash, the UN needs a Bath
Every single day and night
Not just a scrubbin' in the tub
Pretending ev'rything is alright
Well, we step out on First
Where our stretch limos wait
We take off for "Scores"
Where we pick up our dates
And then, splish, splash, we have a champagne bash
We charge it to for'aid, and we hide the change in cash
We were a splishin' and a-splashin'
Reelin' all the cash in
In the pink we're swimmin'!
Copyright John C. Wohlstetter 2007
Oh, there is a proper title for the UN in 2008: Looking at the Chinese calendar (after all, China sits as a Permanent Member of the Security Council) we find that 1945, the year the UN was created, was the Year of the Rooster--which suits the pretensions of many Secretary-Generals to strut in full plumage on the world stage; 2003, the year the UN sandbagged us over Iraq (as in 1991, when the UN helped save Saddam's tail), was the Year of the Goat; and 2008, the UN's self-proclaimed Year of Sanitation, is on the Chinese calendar the Year of the...(yes!) RAT.
Last week Iran's Prez told the UN delegates all about the glories of the Hidden Imam--a part that the UN's sanitized report omits (naturally)--as this column by the Daily Telegraph's Con Coughlin recounts. A second UN sanitized report is re French President Nicholas Sarkozy's Churchillian speech; it omits his stern warning to the Iranians on nukes.) As the West fades, saith Iran's Prez, a "bright future" awaits the world. Then the man Jay Leno has dubbed "Ahmadinutjob" let loose with his version of Persian poetry: "Without any doubt, the Promised One, who is the ultimate Saviour, will come. The pleasing aroma of justice will permeate the whole world."
Proponents of making the UN primary enforcer of global order should read the latest Wall Street Journal editorial detailing how UN dithering facilitates genocide in Darfur, as it did in the 1990s in the Balkans. Security Council permanent members China and Russia oppose stronger action, and France and the UK dawdle. Only the US tries to push the UN to act more boldly, for which it gets zero credit. If you need help, do not look to the Turtle Bay Tooth Fairy (unless you seek to commit genocide against a politically incorrect people--lay off the Palestinians).
Hudson Institute scholar Anne Bayevsky, who tracks UN perfidy in her Eye on the UN website (Herculean labor indeed), gives us the latest moral idiocy from Turtle Bay: On April 9--the 4th anniversary of Baghdad's liberation--Iran won re-election as vice-chairman of the UN disarmament Commission. As Iran's Prez touted nuclear progress his rep at the UN excoriated the US over the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the "Zionist lobby." This followed the UN Human Rights Council's act, a fortnight earlier, of removing public discussion of Iranian human rights issues. Oh, and which country co-chairs the disarmament effort at the UN? Syria, of course, which must please Nancy Pelosi.
Eye on the UN maven (and Hudson Institute scholar) Anne Bayevsky warns on NRO that the UN is looking the other way as Iran prepares for genocidal war, just as the UN ignored genocides in Bosnia-Herzegovina (200,000) and Rwanda (800,000), and is now ignoring the Darfur (500,000) genocide. Oh yes, in 2006 the country cited for the most human rights violations was (as usual) Israel. The US was fourth, cited more often than Iran. The Tortoise trundles on.
Claudia Rosett, she of the oil-for-food exposure fame, laments what appears to be new UN S-G Ban Ki-Moon's first step back, in entrusting an audit of North Korea's misuse of development aid to a UN administrative body not known for diligence in such matters. Ban, it seems, has decided--at least, this tine--to roll over rather than roll on.
A WSJ editorial hails Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's decision to investigate the diversion of UN aid funds to North Korean ghoul Kim Jong-Il's regime. A report last week by WSJ's Melanie Kirkpatrick detailed how North Korea skimmed funds from the UN Development Program. The amount is surely in the tens of millions, and may exceed $100 million. This is nowhere close to the $100 billion epic oil-for-food scandal, but it is coin of the realm. Claudia Rosett, who exposed oil-for-food, suggests that the UN also look at North Korea's use of the World Food program. The UN can also finally get off its duff and take on the butchers in Darfur, whose latest outrage is targeting aid workers. Let us hope that Ban (per the old commercial) rolls on.
Departed US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton assesses new Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's start and sees rays of light as to financial transparency and asking for the top bureaucrats to risgn. Ban wvered on the death penalty, initially saying that executing Saddam was Iraq's affair, than caving on the anti-death penalty lobby. The more Ban ignores Turtle Bay's traditionalists, the better he will be. Another bright spot: former top Annan aide Benon Sevan and the brother-in-law of Ananan equally awful predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, home of the top prosecutors in the country. They are charged with taking bribes from Saddam in connection with the UN's massive oil-for-food program.
Bret Stephens suggests a 5-step reform agenda for the UN. My favorite: prosecute Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of of Genocide, of which Iran is a signatory party, and Article III(c) of which prohibits "direct and public incitement to commit genocide." MA saying that Israel "should be wiped off the map" seems dead center. As for MA's "Death to America!" mantra--well, who's counting?
Claudia Rosett, she who was the scourge of the UN's pervasive, corrupt entanglement in the oil-for-palaces mega-scandal, offers her own set of ideas for the new (the 8th) Secretary-General, South Korea's Ban Ki-moon. She suggests that Ban stop the pretense of his predecessor as to being the world's chief diplomat, and instead be what Article 97 of the UN Charter actually makes him: the "chief administrative officer" [of the UN]. Ban should, she writes, focus on two matters: (1) personnel changes; (2) greater transparency for UN operations. She pithily puts it:
"As the new secretary general of the UN, South Korea's Ban Ki-moon faces a choice: style himself as the next self-serving pop star of global diplomacy or dedicate himself more humbly and bravely to transforming the corrupt UN into an honest institution.
"If Ban chooses chiefly to promote himself, he can follow the trail blazed by his predecessor, Kofi Annan. He can spend his five-year term preening himself as - in Annan's words - "chief diplomat of the world." He can glad-hand tyrants and troublemakers and block genuine global security by covering up crooked UN programs, a la Oil-for-Food, and demanding more resources for ultimately unworkable "peace" deals, as Annan did this past summer for Lebanon."
On the bright side, Ban took one step in the right direction in his first moments, stating that capital punishment is the business of individual states to decide, noting Saddam's atrocities and ignoring the official UN blanket position against capital punishment.
A Wall Street Journal editorial favorably notes the recent Iran "election" (discussed 1/3/07 in LFTC) but focuses (unfavorably) on the December Security Council resolution that supposedly punishes Iran for its defiance on the nuclear issue. In fact, as WSJ points out the resolution legitimates Iran's program by grandfathering the Bushehr light-water reactor, under Russian "supervision"--the very type of reactor that North Korea used to make bombs. The US State Department, "Foggy" as ever, supports this farce in the sacred name of "consensus." It is the same "consensus" the Iraq Surrender Group seeks with Iran & Syria over Iraq, also at Israel's expense. In the event, Russia's Ambassador to the UN emphasized that the sanctions against nuclear materials and ballistic missile parts do not authorize use of force. Such a limitation is supposed to impress a regime whose hold on power is based solely on precisely that, the use of force? And what can one say of UN Security Council Resolution 1738, forbidding attacks on journalists, that has not been crisply said in an NRO piece by Bridget Johnson, who aptly compares it to Berkeley's declaring itself a "nuclear-free zone" during the Cold War?
Departing (not soon enough) UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan unloaded on America in a major address--speaking in, off all places, Independence, Missouri, home of nonpareil defender of freedom Harry S. Truman. He accused the US of A of "not living up to its principles." Let's see, the Sec-Gen who, as a senior UN official responsible for peacekeeping in the 1990s, ignored pleas from his field commanders to stop genocide (Romeo Dallaire re Rwanda, Michael Rose re Srenbenica), the Sec-Gen who did nothing to stop Saddam's mass murder of Iraqis, and helped Saddam slip the inspections regime and blind US intelligence; the Sec-Gen who has done nothing to stop the hideous carnage (500,000 and counting) in Darfur (Ralph Peters skewers the UN and Europe over this); the Sec-Gen who, just before 9/11, presided over an anti-Semitic hate-fest in Durban, South Africa, that would have made the Nazis proud; the Sec-Gen who believes in resolute neutrality between butchered and butcher; the Sec-Gen who covered up most of the oil-for-palaces scam the UN and its cronies ran for Saddam--and protected his own son, Kojo, who came by a Mercedes magically...
Hudson Institute's Anne Bayevsky, a one-woman truth squad on UN matters, aptly terms Kofi's UN as "a weapon pointed at our heads." Claudia Rosett, who will get a Pulitzer one day if justice still exists, offers the speech that Kofi, were he honest, would have given.
Thanks for the lecture, and, Bob Hope might say, were he here, thanks, too, for the memories, Kofi.
Anne Bayevsky, Hudson Institute's peerless UN watcher, gives us in a Washington Times op-ed the wit and wisdom, such as it is, of IAEA chief inspector Muhammad el-Baradei. He explains to Ms. Bayevsky (and the rest of us) that the Iran and North Korean nuke quest are "not really leader-specific. It is country-specific: a country feeling insecure. And if it sees that the people in the major leagues are relying on nuclear weapons, it will at the very least be tempted to do the same." His second pearl of wisdom: "The second myth is that nuclear weapons are OK in the hands of 'the good guys' and not OK in the hands of 'the bad guys' ... We need to have a system that is not based on subjective considerations." How does one spell "imbecile" in Arabic?
So, in Inspector Clouseau's world, the difference is "subjective," as between liberal Western democracies, and: (a) a Stalinist terror state that starves its people to produce a hundred pounds of plutonium; and (b) a revolutionary Islamic regime that wishes to wipe out 5 million Jews in Israel--and hopes all the world's Jew congregate there, so as to save the Iranians from having to chase down Jews. elsewhere on the planet.
Meanwhile, WSJ editor Bret Stephens explains why Iran can likely make an A-bomb by the end of 2007. Ten years after the project started, Russia's gift to Iran, Bushehr I, is well on the way to October 2007 full operation. By March 2007 Iran will have 3,000 centrifuges. Within a year of Bushehr I going full tilt, 300 kilograms of plutonium--enough for 55 Nagasaki nukes--could be made. The waste material generated out of the first months will enable Iran to make a few bombs as a 2007 XMAS present to the West. (Meanwhile, our CIA cruises along, predicting 2010 to 2015 as the time frame for an Iranian bomb.) And thus render the most important issue for the 2008 campaign moot before the first primary.
Earth to Bush & Condi: time to cut out the baby talk about the UN--and about Iran, and have a serious private chat with our "allies" in Europe.
Author-historian Niall Ferguson argues that the watering down of sanctions against North Korea and Iran signals the end of the Security Council as a functioning institution. China and Russia are the culprits, says Ferguson, citing China's desire to see the North complicate America's position in Asia and Russia's desire to form an energy partnership with Iran. He is right about the Council's irrelevance, but wrong as to the date and nation; the most recent strong proof was France's blocking a vote on Iraq in early 2003 that proved that the Council was moribund. Less charitably, the Council has been relevant only twice: (a) in 1950 when Russia walked out, enabling the US to get an authorization for a "UN police action" in Korea; and (b) before the 1991 Gulf War, when the political cover UN approval gave enabled some Democrats to vote for Congressional authoriation for America to go kick Saddam's tail out of Kuwait.
Ferguson is right, however, about one thing: Americans pushing reform will, if successful, wind up with a revamped Security Council without a great power veto. Reformers are better advised to selectively bypass UN obstruction (and corruption) with coalitions of the willing. As the ancient Chinese admonition warns: "Beware of what you wish for, lest you get it."
Begin with the charming text of North Korea's announcement that it conducted an underground nuclear test on October 9 (Korean time) (the reference to Juche is to the philosophy of founding tyrant Kim Il-Sung). Now cut to a report that today the UN will announce that South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon is now the only remaining candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as Secretary-General, come January 2006. Ban implemented the policy of Chamberlain-style appeasement of the North, which yielded a nuclear detonation. Just what kind of S-G does that make him likely to be, in dealing with defiant Iran's nuclear ambitions? The attitude of the Turtle Bay set brings to mind MAD Magazine anti-hero Alfred E. Neuman and his trademark line: "What, Me Worry?"
Claudia Rosett delves into the latest Kofi dodge and asks why Kofi can ask the West to pony up more to the UN for purportedly humanitarian purposes when his own "charity" that he claims will be set up with his $500,000 prize will be run by him personally, rather than by the UN. She notes that at the UN Kofi translates as CofI--Conflict of Interest. Maybe Dopey Kofi ani't so dopey, after all.
A German who served on a panel that voted Kofi Annan a $500,000 prize has been tapped by Kofi to head the UN's Environment panel. Asked re possible conflict of interest, a Kofi flack explained that Kofi was donating the funds to an African charity to be set up in his name. It is not set up yet. Oh, and management reforms proposed by the US, Japan & (even) Europe--who together pay more than 80 percent of UN funding--were rejected by a UN budget panel last week. How does one say "trip to the woodshed" in UN-speak?
A Wall Street Weekend Journal editorial gives surprising data re who pays to support the UN. First, everyone knows, is Uncle Sucker, at 21 percent. But second is guess who? Japan, at 19.5 percent. How so? Seems that UN member assessment is based upon relative Gross National Income. t\The US has before the UN a proposal that assessments be adjusted, as is done with the World Bank, using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)--how far each relative unit of money goes. (Put another way, in dollars PPP measures how much time a worker must work to earn what a dollar purchases here, versus what it can purchase elsewhere.) The idea is too sensible to have much chance of passing.