Friday, March 20, 2009

QOTD

Journalist Claudia Rosett "has done more to expose U.N. corruption than anyone," most recently in Forbes magazine:
His travels apparently bankrolled in part by Iran, his excellency the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, recently took a three-week trip to Syria, Finland, China, Bahrain and Switzerland, plus five days in the Islamic Republic of Iran, complete with a photo-op bear hug with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

D'Escoto, upon his return to U.N. headquarters in New York, held a press conference Tuesday at which he praised Ahmadinejad and denounced "the Western, arrogant, traditional attitude"--particularly the policies of Israel and the U.S.

More specifically, d'Escoto, who served in Cold War days as the foreign minister of Nicaragua's Sandinista junta, lauded Iran--which is in breach of U.N. sanctions--as a country enjoying "great respect." He denounced the U.S. as having "demonized" Ahmadinejad. Describing himself as "speaking on behalf of the immense majority," d'Escoto described Americans as laboring under "a political handicap," accused Israel of apartheid, compared former President Bush to mobster Al Capone, and called for "dialogue" with all, including such terrorist groups as Hamas.

Having rounded this off with a call for the U.S. to place itself in the service of his brand of "multilateralism," d'Escoto demanded "a united nations, not a subjugated nations." After 45 minutes of this, delivered in a soft, lilting voice, he removed his substantial girth from the press room stage, presumably to carry on with his duties from his lavishly furnished office overlooking the East River.

It might be tempting to dismiss this performance as just one more case of the U.N. buffoonery to which Americans have become accustomed, just another item for the Turtle Bay scrapbook, a lesser variation on such historic histrionics as Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe and Yasser Arafat wearing a gun holster. After all, does the U.N. really matter?

Yes. The U.N. matters a lot. And it matters for reasons much bigger and more disturbing than America's billions in outsized contributions poured every year into the U.N.'s murky coffers. . .

What's shifting today is that America, since defying the U.N. in 2003 over Iraq, now looks increasingly inclined to acquiesce to these tactics in the name of "engagement." . . . And from the U.N., thanks in great part to America's money, hospitality and trust, America's enemies derive a form of legitimacy and influence they would not otherwise enjoy.

That is the real meaning of d'Escoto's road show and ensuing press conference, framed with the baby-blue regalia of the U.N. draperies, stage and logo, in which he called for "A United States committed to respecting the sovereign equality of all member states." In this formulation, that "respect" for "sovereign equality," would erase vital distinctions between the free and democratic society of America, and the totalitarian, terrorist-wielding strategies and ambitions of a regime such as that of d'Escoto's pals in Tehran. It is not only Israel that today is the target of this campaign to delegitimize; it is the system and sovereignty of America itself.

From the stage of the U.N. briefing room Tuesday, helping himself to a word from Obama's playbook, d'Escoto hailed today's era of increasing American "engagement" as "an opportunity for change. Real change."

He's right. There is a real opportunity here for folks like d'Escoto and his generous hosts in Tehran to rally the mob. We have seen how this works, and it is far from harmless.
To state it simply, the U.N. is irrelevant--unless the U.S. Administration legitimizes it by acting as if it matters.

5 comments:

OBloodyHell said...

> accused Israel of apartheid,

Technically true, and totally irrelevant. Israel is, was, and has always been a state which is defined by its religion.

Sorta like some of the other states in the region, n'est pas?

Go ahead. Tell me that in Iran, people who aren't Muslims aren't second-class citizens...

Tell me that fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic Law does not explicitly relegate EVERY non-Muslim to a second-class status. Hint: Ya, right.

Q.E.D.: A muslim calling Israel "apartheid" is the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

OBloodyHell said...

> To state it simply, the U.N. is irrelevant--unless the U.S. Administration legitimizes it by acting as if it matters.

Where's John Bolton when ya need him?

bobn said...

The U.N. just sucks. Unbelieveable.

OBH: I suspect Muslims in Israel have more rights than Muslims in Iran, Saudi, etc. Especially the women.

Carl said...

I agree with bobn--Israel is in an sense defined by Judaism, but its civil society grants full civil rights to all, including women, including Arabs. In the Middle East, only Iraq is close. On the other hand, OBH is right that John Bolton was the best thing that ever happened to the United Nations.

OBloodyHell said...

> OBH: I suspect Muslims in Israel have more rights than Muslims in Iran, Saudi, etc. Especially the women.

No question. I wouldn't even bother with the qualifier.

> I agree with bobn--Israel is in an sense defined by Judaism, but its civil society grants full civil rights to all, including women, including Arabs.

I believe there are some limitations on non-Jews. I don't believe they can vote, for instance. I could be wrong on that, and, assuming it's true, it's understandable.

There are a lot of Muslims living in Israel (or were, anyway, before the Palestinianization of Gaza, don't know how that affected things) -- a substantial number in comparison to the number of Jews, and they have a notably higher birth rate. To surrender franchise to non-Jews negates the entire concept of a Jewish religious state in the first place. Eventually the Jews would just get outvoted on anything and everything.

And that's the primary basis and legitimacy for the claim of apartheid, I believe.

It is "sort of true" but not the same as for blacks in South Africa, by any means.

Where it counts -- overall civil rights, it's a laughable charge from any leader or representative of an ME state. But I'm sure it plays well in the intellectual circles in Hollywood, San Fran, Manhattan, and Boston.