Alpine Summit

Monday, February 27, 2006

Who Needs the Military?

Before I get to this, I want to make it clear that I'm not saying we should be going to war over this. I'm merely saying that this is an example of how dealing with countries we should be treating with more hostility (i.e. embargo on Cuba) in a way that puts them on equal footing as us is counterproductive and ultimately futile.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan wants the world body this week to approve plans for a new U.N. human rights council, but critics say the reform proposal has been watered down to the point where it should be rejected.

When you include people in the decision process for something that would be naturally (and obviously) critical of them, you've failed before you have even begun. This is why the U.N. is such a defunct political organization. The U.N. seeks to set standards for human rights, but try to please everyone in the process. It isn't going to work because this type of thinking has never worked.

Regimes like Cuba, Sudan and Saudi Arabia have obtained seats on the UNCHR and used them to insulate themselves and their allies from criticism.

Annan called last March for the UNCHR to be replaced by a new human rights body whose members are held to the "highest" human rights standards.

The U.S. has been pushing for a considerably smaller body than the 53-member UNCHR, that would meet more often than the UNCHR's six-week annual session in Geneva, and whose members would be elected by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly. That would make it more difficult for violators to win seats. Washington also wants countries under Security Council sanctions to be automatically excluded.

But a resolution drafted by two U.N. "facilitators" - the South African and Panamanian envoys - and presented by General Assembly president Jan Eliasson on Thursday falls short on all of these counts, thanks to the hard lobbying of countries like Egypt, Pakistan and Cuba.

Like I said: "defunct organization." Of course, the U.S. was pretty much ignored and they have decided to go with a system a bit more favorable to "developing countries."

The proposal provides for a Council of 47 members -- far larger than the 20-30 seat body the U.S. wanted -- and with a reworked regional representation formula that weakens the West in favor of developing countries. (Western nations' representation falls from 18.8 percent in the old Commission to 14.9 percent in the proposed new Council; Africa and Asia together will account for 55.3 percent of the Council seats, up from 50.9.)

The problem of course is that most human rights violations the U.N. is trying to stop are IN those "developing countries." So America is weakened (always a good thing in the eyes of the envious countries) while China is strengthened. Brilliant plan. Please don't hold it against me if I decide not to use the U.N. as my moral citation for crimes against humanity.

Let's use the U.N. again simply as an intellectual exercise. In the 25 years since the first Iraq war, who has done more to help Iraq and its people, the U.N. or America? The U.N. was given 12 years and not only accomplished nothing, but were found to be absolutely corrupt in the handling of a program meant to feed Iraqis. America has been there for 3 years and has developed infrastructure, set up an elected government, and ended genocide. So what did America do differently from the U.N.? They stopped trying to dialogue with the problem himself and forcibly removed him ("imposed their will") using the military. Because of this, they have accomplished their goals infinitely faster than the U.N. could have.

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