On with relief efforts! But first, some recriminations, and of course, let's hold a conference!
Jan Egeland, UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, is a really class crass act. As the world gears up and initiates humanitarian responses to the devastation from the Sumatra quake and Tsunami, Egeland uses his new found importance in front of sound bite hungry newsies as a platform to call the developed world a bunch of tightwad skinflints.
Yeah, that'll help get safe drinking water for hundreds of thousands in Sri Lanka and along the Indian coast, Jan. Probably much too cynical to suppose that Egeland's indignation stems from the monies actually flowing to, you know, disaster victims, directly, than being given to UN coffers where he can manipulate it, and have a 'say' in what's done with it. Can you spell 'administrative overhead'? Thought so.
And, a bit later on Monday, Egeland used a spot on PBS' News Hour (which is the segment they didn't post audio for) to continue his 'miserly bastages' rant; then when asked by Gwen Ifil about the major efforts his organization was planning in response, he popped up with - wait for it - that they're going to hold a conference to discuss the problem!. Fantastico! It's well know that a buffet tray of shrimp, pate, and little crackers under an intricate Tsunami wave ice sculpture surrounded by nattering bloatocrats is the one sure way to hold our restive planet's convulsions at bay.
Here's an idea - radical, it may be - how about they save the several million dollars that the hot-air extravaganza planned for Kobe will cost, and instead use the funds to begin the set-up of some sort of global coastline notification and warning system, along the lines of the one used in the Pacific? The excuse that 'well, it only happens once every hundred years or so' sounds pretty crass when contemplating the tens of thousands of dead - a figure that could be substantially lower with even five minutes warning of some sort.
Putting such a system in place around the Indian Ocean would be a band-aid on a sucking chest wound at this point - a true solution needs to encompass every major body of water on the planet - if it's big enough to get sloshed, it needs to be included. Implementing such an alarm system should be job one for prevention.
That's self evident enough following the events along the coasts of the Bay of Bengal. Do you really need to sit around for three days and conduct a hand wringing, shrimp consuming, pontification session on the matter? Or is it silly to think of the UN doing anything other than producing left over krab-dip, which won't even keep long enough to be shipped into the disaster zone?
How about it, Mr. UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief? What's that? You want we should fill out some forms in triplicate so your staff can inform us that prevention is not your department?
Salute to Silent Running
There was a time when, if you wrote or spoke out against the United Nations, you would be dismissed as some right-wing kook, a nutcase who saw conspiracies or was some kind of isolationist who didn’t understand the need for an international forum where the problems of the world could be resolved without resort to warfare.
Well, friend, welcome to Kookville! Turns out that the United Nations is not simply incapable of stopping wars and genocides, it is so utterly corrupt that it needs to be eliminated entirely in the hope that the many other existing international organizations, treaties, unilateral and bilateral relations can be allowed to do what it will not and cannot.
Hopefully, 2005 will be the year that historians will mark as the one in which this bloated international criminal conspiracy implodes from its own dead weight.
This is not a new thought to me, but it resurfaced as I read an October 9 news article about “a tough new anti-terrorism resolution aimed at stemming attacks on civilians by denying terrorists safe havens, weapons, financial resources, and freedom of movement.” Introduced by the Russian Federation, it was unanimously passed by the UN Security Council. It was described as strengthening the “essential coordinating role of the United Nations in the international campaign against the terrorist threat.”
This is the same United Nations that did nothing when Red China invaded and occupied Tibet. And then gave Taiwan’s seat to Red China.
This is the same United Nations that stood by while Rwanda went about the business of slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
This is the same United Nations that has been unable to stop the Sudan from conducting genocide against more than a million of its Christian citizens. And Sudan is a member of the UN Human Rights Commission!
This is the same United Nations that has been unable to persuade Syria to withdraw its occupation troops from Lebanon.
This is the same United Nations that has stood by for years as the Palestinians waged a terrorist campaign against the Israelis and then chided the Israelis for building a fence as a means to defend themselves.
This is the same United Nations that needed a coalition led by the United States to force Iraq to withdraw from its invasion of Kuwait and then spent twelve years passing one useless resolution after another to get Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to disarm. After its Oil-for-Food administrators and key members of its Security Council wallowed in corruption, it faintly blessed the US effort to remove an important base for terrorist planning, training, and funding. And remove an evil dictator from power.
This is the same United Nations that needed the United States to intervene when the North Koreans invaded the south in the 1950s and whose atomic energy agency has been unable to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. Now Iran is thumbing its nose at the UN. It’s not nuclear proliferation that is the problem; it’s which country is led by people deemed most likely to use these weapons. The mere prospect of a nuclear exchange drove Pakistan and India to the table to resolve longtime conflicts.
And, yes, this was the United Nations that stood by while the United States pursued a noble, but ill-fated war against the North Vietnamese when they invaded the south.
The United Nations has been unable to respond to outbreaks of violence in Haiti, Somalia, Cambodia, and Kosovo, to name just a few places where it has demonstrated its ineptitude.
It is the same United Nations that is trying to cover up the biggest scandal in history, the Oil-For-Food program it administered which put billions into the hands of Saddam Hussein, allowing him to bribe France, China and Russia, among others, to buy armaments while Iraqi citizens died from malnutrition, disease and the butchery common to Saddam’s regime.
As the scholar Jeremy A. Rabkin points out, “The Security Council has never authorized outside military intervention solely to protect people from slaughter at the hands of their own government.”
Now, three years since 9-11, an event that changed not just the United States, but alerted the entire world to the threat posed by an organization that is not a nation, but a group dedicated to imposing Islam, the Security Council has passed another useless resolution, vowing to do something about it.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has been largely sustained by the nearly twenty-five percent of its annual budget paid by the United States, plus the $1.4 billion the US gives to United Nations’ programs and agencies. US taxpayers fund more of the UN’s activities than all of the other 177 member nations. At the same time, the vast majority of the recipients of US foreign aid routinely vote against the policies of the United States. Most of those opposing US initiatives come from Africa and the Middle East.
Since the founding of the United Nations in 1945, there have been 291 wars resulting in 22 million deaths. The US Department of State lists 36 terrorist organizations operating with impunity in at least 60 UN member nations. Fully 102 of 191 member nations do not have completely free and democratic governments. 47 member nations are dictatorships and the UN roster includes six terrorist states.
A Gallup poll in September 2003 found that sixty percent of Americans said the UN was doing “a poor job.” It’s not just doing a poor job; it is actively seeking to undermine the concept of sovereignty for every nation in the world. It is actively seeking to become a world government. It wants to impose its own taxes. It wants its own military force. It wants to ban ownership of guns. It wants control of the world’s oceans and seas. Its Kyoto Protocol will seek to impose limits on the use of various forms of energy vital to industrialized nations, while exempting some like China and India.
There are elements of the United Nations that are doing some good work. It has helped refugees. Its World Health Organization presumably tries to improve conditions. There are, I’m sure other examples, but overall the UN is a cesspool of corruption and the nexus of evil that blithely ignores its original mandates.
So, if by now you have been or are ready to join the rest of us kooks who want the US to withdraw its support, welcome to Kookville. Welcome to the existing and growing majority of Americans who think it’s time to withdraw from the United Nations and find other means to address the world’s problems, unilaterally, bilaterally, and effectively.
Thanks to Alan Caruba
Mark Steyn is loaded for bear--well, donkey actually--in his latest Chicago Sun-Times essay. He mentions the London Daily Mirror's infamous post-American election headline, "How Can 59,054,087 People Be So DUMB?". And so with all due respect to my in-laws The Fosters:
Well, they're British lefties: They can do without Americans. Whether an American political party can do without Americans is more doubtful. Nonetheless, MSNBC.com's Eric Alterman was mirroring the Mirror's sentiments: "Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the 'reality-based community' say or believe about anything." Over at Slate, Jane Smiley's analysis was headlined, "The Unteachable Ignorance Of The Red States.'' If you don't want to bother plowing your way through Alterman and Smiley, a placard prominently displayed by a fetching young lad at the post-election anti-Bush rally in San Francisco cut to the chase: "F--- MIDDLE AMERICA."
Almost right, man. It would be more accurate to say that "MIDDLE AMERICA" has "F---ed" you, and it will continue to do so every two years as long as Democrats insist that anyone who disagrees with them is, ipso facto, a simpleton -- or "Neanderthal," as Teresa Heinz Kerry described those unimpressed by her husband's foreign policy. In my time, I've known dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and other members of Britain's House of Lords and none of them had the contempt for the masses one routinely hears from America's coastal elites. And, in fairness to those ermined aristocrats, they could afford Dem-style contempt: A seat in the House of Lords is for life; a Senate seat in South Dakota isn't.
More to the point, nobody who campaigns with Ben Affleck at his side has the right to call anybody an idiot. H. L. Mencken said that no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Well, George Soros, Barbra Streisand and a lot of their friends just did: The Kerry campaign and its supporters -- MoveOn.org, Rock The Vote, etc. -- were awash in bazillions of dollars, and what have they got to show for it? In this election, the plebs were more mature than the elites: They understood that war is never cost-free and that you don't run away because of a couple of setbacks; they did not accept that one jailhouse scandal should determine America's national security interest; they rejected the childish caricature of their president and paranoid ravings about Halliburton; they declined to have their vote rocked by Bruce Springsteen or any other pop culture poser.