Thursday, June 08, 2006

UN Whining About UN Bashing

Strange that the UN seems to allow bashing the US for its criticism of the UN, but that it completely fails to reform itself in any meaningful manner. The hype this time is that the criticism of the US is sounding much more like a complaint about the citizens than the government.
Mark Malloch Brown criticised the Americans for using the UN when they needed it abroad but failing to defend it at home.

"The prevailing practice of seeking to use the UN almost by stealth as a diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics is simply not sustainable," the deputy secretary general said. "You will lose the UN one way or another."

On the UN's attempts to overhaul its premises he added: "Too much unchecked UN-bashing and stereotyping over too many years makes even refurbishing a building a political hot potato."

His remarks to a conference in New York reflect the long-held sentiment among UN officials that American officials use the UN as a political punch-bag. But it represented a rare breach of tradition for a senior UN official to criticise a member state in public.

Unchecked UN-bashing? Should the US be censoring it's fourth estate to make the UN bureaucrats happy? As to that refurbishing of a building, if you contract to piss away vast sums of cash on a palace and those that pay the largest chunk complain, you should expect it to be a hot topic. Complaining about it is asking for further abuse.

I have no doubt that the politicians use the UN as is convenient for them. That is pretty much how every country uses the UN. To believe otherwise would be a clear indication of a complete detachment with reality.
Mr Malloch Brown's critique was tempered with acknowledgement that the UN was badly in need of reform.

"Americans complain about the UN's bureaucracy, weak decision-making, the lack of accountable modern management structures and the political divisions of the General Assembly here in New York," he said. "And my response is 'guilty on all counts' ."

But he went on to argue that America was partly to blame for the UN's weakness and flaws by not sticking to its professed desire to have a strong and effective body.

He accused America of hobbling the new Human Rights Council - successor to the widely discredited Commission on Human Rights - by not running for a seat on it.

Key statement there. Weak decision making, corruption, lack of accountability are making the UN effective in what way? The UN consistently proves its inability to act on a majority of conflicts that require timely action. Dithering and negotiating for years on a topic result in such successes as North Korea, the Balkans and Darfur. The US too often finds itself having to act unilaterally or with a coalition of like-minded countries in order to resolve crisis because the UN hasn't figured out how to react.

The hobbling of the Human Rights council is just a joke, just like the council itself. Why run for a seat in a council that we can be assured will be ineffective, which will bring screaming charges of human rights violations against the US for minor war related issues and ignore the major human rights violators?
Mr Malloch Brown, a Briton who was appointed to help speed up reform of the UN, also attacked the role of America's Right-wing media.

"Today on a very wide number of areas, from Lebanon and Afghanistan to Syria, Iran and the Palestinian issue, the US is constructively engaged with the UN," he said.

"But that is not well known or understood in part because much of the public discourse that reaches the US heartland has been largely abandoned to the UN's loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh [a far-Right talk show host] and Fox News [Rupert Murdoch's news channel]. The UN's role is in effect a secret in Middle America."

Yes, it's all the fault of a couple of conservative media outlets. Completely ignoring the fact that the vast majority of the media outlets in the US lean Liberal. And even those news groups tend to criticize the UN. Maybe it's not the UN detractors that are the problem, but the UN bureaucracy itself.

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters has an entry on topic.
It surprises me not one whit that the UN finds free speech and criticism intolerable. Unfortunately, they provide so much fodder for both that the impulse is irresistably. For instance, Malloch Brown asserted in his defense of the UN that the organization has eighteen peacekeeping missions operating at the moment, all of which perform at a lower cost and at higher effectiveness than anything done by the US. Apparently that higher effectiveness relates to the efficiency at which these missions abuse young girls, since the UN has failed to take any effective action to stop it.
I'd also state that there higher effectiveness per cost must relate to not actually having to participate in things like firing bullets, or getting in harms way. Bosnia ring a bell?
That's pretty damned effective. It's reminiscent of the effectiveness of the Srebrenica mission, where UN troops herded Bosnians into a city in order to protect them, then ran away when Serbians came in force and abandoned their wards to a genocide.
Captain Ed's piece is pretty good on the details of the UN's military effectiveness.

Wretchard at the Belmont Club goes way overboard with analysis of Malloch's speech. Excellent information that I didn't have the desire to work that hard for. His commentary beside the sections of the speech are a touch sarcastic, ok very sarcastic, but entertaining none the less.

I'm certain that the UN-hating section of the blogsphere will be having fun with this all day. Can't blame them. Kinda makes you hope that this guy has caused more damage than good. Maybe it will prod the UN bureaucrats into turning on their brains prior to opening their mouths.

Oh, and a last note, why in the hell hasn't Bolton been confirmed? I'm constantly impressed with his effectiveness and clear thinking on every thing I've seen him say.

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