Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mickey Mouse at the UN!

Kofi (or Goofy, as I prefer) Annan recently returned from an eleven day tour of Middle East. He of course took advantage of one of his last opportunities (he retires in December) to criticize US policy in the region. Of course as Goofy’s tenure as UN Secretary General comes to a close, we should remember that in spite of the mismanagement, corruption and constant criticism of American foreign policy, he was favored as an improvement over Boutros Boutros Ghali, who engaged in mismanagement, corruption, and outright obstruction of US action globally. So I generally take most of Annan’s anti –American barbs with a grain of salt.

“Honestly, most of the leaders I spoke to felt that the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath has been a real disaster for them,” Annan said, referring to regional leaders. “They believe it has destabilized the region.”

Message to Goofy:

The Defense of Mario Lozano

“Well Duh!”

That Mr. Annan was the point. We (in the US) didn’t expect that Ahmadinejad in Iran or Assad in Syria would ever approve of our ouster of Hussein. In fact it has always been a stated goal of the Bush administration strategy in Iraq to help undermine the autocratic regimes in the region by setting a democratic example in Iraq. So not only are Iran and Syria targets but even our allies in Egypt and Saudi Arabia are intended recipients of the message that democracy is coming to the region.

Goofy, went on to say that the leaders he spoke to were divided on American withdrawal pointing out that:

“Then you have another school of thought, particularly in Iran, that believes that the presence of the U.S. is a problem and that the U.S. should leave.” He added that the Iranians had offered to help the Americans leave, but, asked to elaborate, he said, “I didn’t get into details as to how they intend to help.”

Well Mr. Annan I’m pretty sure they intend to “Help,” by funding violent Shiite militias like Mahdi’s Arm, by developing nuclear technologies, and by fomenting a war in Lebanon to undermine the democratic government there while stirring anti-American settlement. Of course that’s just a guess.

Kofi Annan, by virtue of his office is a slave to the institutional outlooks of the UN. Meaning that he is forced to accept the following tenets as given:

1. All nations and regimes are of equal legitimacy, even those headed by genocidal tyrants.
2. Stability, meaning continuing the status quo, no matter how vile, is preferable to any change in regimes.
3. In any conflict involving a western power (ie the US or Israel), no matter what the initial provocation, the other nation is the victim.

These beliefs are mainly a result of the overwhelming relativist outlook of the UN. By nature of its charter every member state is equal in the eyes of the UN. Hence the UN Human Rights Council (until recently the Commission on Human Rights) regularly seats Cuba, Saudia Arabia, China and worse. In 2004 during the height of the Darfur crisis Sudan was a seated Human Rights Council member. The anti-US bias comes from straightforward balance of power politics (the US, as the world’s only superpower needs restraint, in the eyes of many) combined with the perception that the US along with Israel has inherited the guilt of western colonialism.

This outlook combines with the UN’s inability to see its own fecklessness. Without the active approval of “the great powers,” the UN is unable to achieve any substantial actions. In the immediately foreseeable future “great powers” effectively means the US first, Europe and rising powers second. Hence for all the UN hand wringing over Israel’s response to Hezbollah in July, it took US diplomacy and European troop commitments to make a UN ceasefire workable. But inside the UN there is a willing suspension of disbelief about the organizations shortcomings. UN bureaucrats tend to actually believe that they can shape the world from the East River. It’s a Disney-like, fantasy view of the world. Like I said: Goofy Annan.

Of course the titular head of the UN, the secretary general can spend the entire ten years of his two possible term, resenting his relative impotence compared to the US. This an lead him to believe that the disapproval of Ahmadinejad, Assad, of Abdallah al Saud, or of Hosni Mubarak is actually something worth mentioning. In the US we have a long standing idea that an unjust status quo should not go unchallenged. So I believe like many Americans that if a policy makes avowed enemies of democracy and the Fantocracy at UN unite in disapproval there must be something right with it.


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