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.To state it simply, the U.N. is irrelevant--unless the U.S. Administration legitimizes it by acting as if it matters.
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.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Journalist Claudia Rosett "has done more to expose U.N. corruption than anyone," most recently in Forbes magazine: