Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Impotence of the U.N.

Congress is about to debate whether John Bolton, who the Emperor's administration describes as a "tough-minded diplomat", should become the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. The following is an excerpt from one of Mr. Bolton's speeches describing the United Nations:

The point that I want to leave with you in this very brief presentation is where I started, is that there is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that's the United States, when it suits our interest, and when we can get others to go along. And I think it would be a real mistake to count on the United Nations as if it is some disembodied entity out there that can function on its own.

Aside from the puzzling quandry as to how Mr. Bolton can work at a place that he insists does not exist, I hate to admit that he has a point. When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 1990, it used the U.N. as a front to make it appear as if Iraq's legitimate right to protect itself from Kuwait's slant drilling of its oil was a world problem. Notwithstanding Saddam's persistent efforts to diplomatically resolve the slant-drilling problem with Kuwait (including an appeal to the U.S. to act as a mediator), the U.S. wanted to attack the oil-rich country and made the U.N. tow the line. In line with the so-called concern for democracy, the U.S. bullied the world "to go along" with starving Iraq's population for 10 years (which killed over 500,000 Iraqis).

When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, it again used a U.N. resolution as the justification to attack and colonize an otherwise sovereign nation. Saddam's refusal to let in weapons inspectors in the face of U.N. resolutions requiring transparency in the Iraqi weapons program, was one of the myriad justifications offered for this multi-billion dollar never-ending morass. The U.S. wanted to attack Iraq, and did so without the support of the world community and, indeed, against the opinions of other members of the U.N. Security Council.

Compare the U.S. militant intransigence regarding Iraq's violations of U.N. resolutions to resolutions that the U.S. finds of no concern. For example, U.N. Resolution 242 requires the "withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict [West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights]". Notwithstanding this unambiguous directive, Israel has not only remained in those territories, but has built countless settlements that it will never dismantle. The punishment from the U.S.? Ten billion dollars of aid each year.

The U.N.'s humanitarian work suffers from the same shortcomings. It is apparent from its own statistics that AIDS continues to spread at alarming rates through Africa, the gap between rich and poor in the world continues to widen, women continue to struggle for rights in much of the world and war is endemic. If it was in America's interests to solve these problems, they would be resolved (stop arming murderous regimes). As it is, however, Corporate America's insatiable appetite for ever-expanding profits conflicts with the U.N.'s humanitarian aims. Nike can't make a profit on tennis shoes if the Chinese factory worker who makes the shoes is paid a living wage and defense contractors rely upon oppressive dictators to provide a market for their wares. The World Bank system of so-called "aid" ensnares poor countries into a never-ending spiral of debt, forcing them to finance debt rather than education and healthcare for their people. (Check out Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins).

The only difference between Mr. Bolton and the rest of the administration is that he is honest about U.S. dominance of the rest of the world. The United Nations cannot "function on its own" and it never has. Everyone else in the world understands this except the dim-whitted Americans who cry that the U.S. should get out of the U.N.

15 Comments:

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Is it me or does the phrase "tough-minded diplomat" just set off all of your viceral alarms. You mean to tell me, that you want a "tough-minded diplomat" representing the the US in the United Nations at a time when countries without 2 nikels to rub together are aquiring nuclear weapons??? Really...

 
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