Monday, April 18, 2005

Sinking The UN

There are three more or less separate threads in the news that i think need to be linked together. I'll make it quick:
  1. The UN oil-for-food scandal, which the US government is busy decrying a sign of institutional corruption.
  2. The nomination of one Bolton to be the US's ambassador to the UN.
  3. The invasion of iraq under the false pretenses that Iraq had WMD, against the will of the UN and quite likely against international law.
Curious, yes?

Let me be upfront and state the hypothesis: all three of these things (and many others) have as one of their causes a contempt by the Bush administration and Republicans in general of the United Nations. Furthermore, the possibility that two of these things were designed with at least one aim as the destruction of the United Nations.

Let me take you back in time about two or three years.

Rumsfeld is busy denigrating "Old Europe" and Bush is busy pushing for war and giving the extended middle finger to Europe and the United Nations. Republicans and their allies are busy throwing around phrases like "surrender monkies" and many calling for the outright dismantling of the UN or at least the US withdrawl from it.

Now let me take you forward to today, but in an alternate world. We'll call this "Bushworld" as there is one point of divergance: Iraq, in this hypothetical world, did have weapons of mass destruction. Not ones that it shipped to Libya, ones that Saddam had lying around ready to be used--possibly they did get used on the invading troops.

What is one of the differences here? The United Nations looks like a group of collectively out-of-touch (ooh, famous Bush propaganda phrase!) fools and the US might even begin a campaign against them.

So it doesn't seem to big a stretch to think one of the goals with the Iraqi invasion was to delegitimize the UN and set up the US as essentially not just the world's superpower but the world's everything. And its followers in the Iraq war get kickbacks; the whole "you give us stuff, but we don't give you anything" approach to allies looks much more rational if still perverse under the assumption that the USA becomes the source of legitimate international power after the Iraq invasion and gaining global hegemony is a stated goal of a number of Republicans to turn the USA into a global empire.

Now that it has become irrelevant that entire scenario is a pipe dream and that, yes, the US still does need the UN and the EU, the US has been backpedalling on its... "Freedom Fries"...

So that's that.

Next up is the oil for food scandal.

I strongly maintain that anyone who was surprised by the oil for food scandal has not been paying attention. Period.

Saddam Hussein got nothing out of the deal (more or less) yet he held the keys and controlled a significant part of it. The other end, corporations, are notorious for running cost-effectiveness analysis on protecting people from mercury and then lobbying the government to allow them to kill more people in exchange for higher profits. In terms of moral compass: theirs is made of lead, mercury, and asbestos. Oh yes, and oil.

So again: this should not surprise anyone, really.

But the response from the Bush Administration has fit with the desires i outlined above. The UN, they claim, is corrupt and irrelevant and stupid and full of terr'ists umm... commie bastards... err... full of French!

Of course, the US's own involvement never gets mentioned. Not that that is unexpected.

So now we're onto John Bolton. John Bolton, from what i can tell, was a combination of hit-man for the Bush admin, a spy on and internal propagandist for Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and someone willing to slant what evidence sees the light of day to suit his own Conservative bias.

The possibility that Bolton slanted evidence (with the assumption that "Well of COURSE Saddam has WMD!") with the goal of ultimately isolating the uN, among other things, cannot be overlooked in this analysis--whether the cause for such slanting was Bolton himself or orders From On High.

So i can hear the shrieks and wailings of "Liberal! Liberal!" already.

I'm sure some out there are thinking "Well, you sure are putting some strong words into Bush's mouth! He never said we should withdraw from the UN!"

But don't listen to me, take it straight from the year 2000 Texas GOP Party Platform:
p.26: "The Party believes it is in the best interest of the citizens of the United States that we immediately rescind our membership, as well as financial and military contributions to, the United Nations... The Party urges Congress to evict the United Nations from U.S. soil."
And Bush most certainly has seen and agreed to this platform. How do i know that? Everyone involved in the Texas GOP has--it says so right as a plank of the Platform that anyone getting their support must read and sign it.

And that's only one instance--the UN is a long-time whipping boy, so to speak, of the Right and the only reason this Platform doesn't call for total dissolution of the UN with bayonets if necessary is because cooler heads prevailed. I would put money on a similar suggestion being put forth in all seriousness. We're lucky the Texas GOP is so corrupt (see DeLay, Tom) or they might be pursuing these goals with just as much seriousness.

So what do we have here?

We have a goal of the Bush administration: tear down as much of the UN as possible. We have three separate instances (and there are more out there) in which the Bush administration has acted in ways that would certainly further that goal: nominating Bolton, harassing the UN over Iraq, and harassing the UN over the oil-for-food scandal. We finally have a statement of intent from the Texas GOP.

What does this mean?

I'm not entirely sure. I think we can draw several conclusions, however:

John Bolton was not nominated to the UN post as a reformer. His purpose (or at least: one purpose) is to destroy the UN.

The Bush Administration is waging a covert war on the UN as a whole and will continue doing so as long as they are in office.

The Right has not given up their anti-UN (etc) crusade and in fact that crusade has shown signs of strengthening.

Connecting the dots can yield interesting results.


Anonymous SSL said...

To be fair, the UN has made itself fairly worthless as an organization of athourity. They don't enforce their own resloutions (Iraq may not have had the letters, but they were in violation of several other Security Council resolutions), just as a starting point.

2:33 AM  
Anonymous SSL said...

The weapons, that is...

I blame it on trying to write at 4 AM. Four closing shifts in a row, then two open shifts... Sleep? WHat's that?..

12:24 AM  
Blogger Winter said...

Well, i agree the UN is mostly ineffective at this point. See: the Sudan genocide, which the cowards have "defined" as not-genocide and promptly ignored. Since the UN practically stands for "Never Again" (see: World War II) this just illustrates how weak it has gotten.

They are important, however, because of their percieved legitimacy.

In fact, when the US moved to attack Iraq one of their very first justifications (that didn't come from PNAC or a similar source, of course) was that Iraq had broken a security council resolution which required action. I'm not convinced this happened (especially with the recent revelations WRT Hussein's surrender) but that's okay.

But Bolton wouldn't just make the UN less effective: i'm guessing he would be out to utterly destroy it. The current government wants that international authority and it wants to be the sole source of such authority. Diplomacy is for Democrats, not Republicans, after all!

At the least: i think Bush wants the UN to rubber-stamp his proclamations (same treatment he wants out of the Legislature and Judiciary, among others) and not have to deal with anyone's needs beyond his own.

1:17 AM  

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