Sunday, September 26, 2004

Victor Davis Hansen on the UN

I am in good company where my stand on the UN is concerned. Victor Davis Hansen has the following to say:
In response to [recent atrocities perpetrated by Muslim radicals], our global watchdog, the United Nations, had been largely silent. It abdicates its responsibility of ostracizing those states that harbor such mass murderers, much less organizes a multilateral posse to bring them to justice. And yet under this apparent state of siege, President Bush in his recent address to the U.N. offered not blood and iron--other than an obligatory "the proper response is not to retreat but to prevail"--but Wilsonian idealism, concrete help for the dispossessed, and candor about past sins. The president wished to convey a new multilateralist creed that would have made a John Kerry or Madeleine Albright proud, without the Churchillian "victory at any cost" rhetoric. Good luck.
A recurring theme. The UN is impotent at best, malignant at worst when evil providence has the interests of various parties coincide. A voting block made up of all Muslim nations (56 of them, nearly a third of all member nations) + their economic dependants in the Security Council ensures stalemates from which countries like Iran profit.
Second, urging democratic reforms in Palestine, as Mr. Bush also outlined, is antithetical to the very stuff of the U.N., an embarrassing reminder that nearly half of its resolutions in the past half-century have been aimed at punishing tiny democratic Israel at the behest of its larger,more populous--and dictatorial--Arab neighbors. The contemporary U.N., then, has become not only hypocritical, but also a bully that hectors Israel about the West Bank while it gives a pass to a nuclear, billion-person China after swallowing Tibet; wants nothing to do with the two present dangers to world peace, a nuclear North Korea and soon to follow theocratic Iran; and idles while thousands die in the Sudan.
The UN is a bankrupt idea: The concept that all nations could resolve their disputes around the negotiating table. The concept assumes that all participating nations would conduct themselves like Denmark, or Tibet. In practice, Genghis Khan-wannabe's make up the majority at the UN. Using the rules against those who would still abide by them, while flaunting those same rules themselves, protected from sanctions by the mass voting of ideologically similar, corrupt regimes.
Deeds, not rhetoric, are all that matter, as the once unthinkable is now the possible. There is no intrinsic reason why the U.N. should be based in New York rather than in its more logical utopian home in Brussels or Geneva. There is no law chiseled in stone that says any fascist or dictatorial state deserves authorized membership by virtue of its hijacking of a government. There is no logic to why a France is on the Security Council, but a Japan or India is not. And there is no reason why a group of democratic nations, unapologetic about their values and resolute to protect freedom, cannot act collectively for the common good, entirely indifferent to Syria's censure or a Chinese veto.

So Americans' once gushy support for the U.N. during its adolescence is gone. By the 1970s we accepted at best that it had devolved into a neutral organization in its approach to the West, and by the 1980s sighed that it was now unabashedly hostile to freedom. But in our odyssey from encouragement, to skepticism, and then to hostility, we have now reached the final stage--of indifference. Americans do not get riled easily, so the U.N. will go out with a whimper rather than a bang. Indeed, millions have already shrugged, tuned out, and turned the channel on it.
The sooner the better, too.
Victor Davis Hansen is always good to read, this time especially so. Please then, read.


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