Recently the leader of the free world, George W. Bush went to the United Nations, yet again, to address the general assembly. He implored the rest of the world to act responsibly and help in curtailing the Islamic fascists, who are now boldly killing school children in Russia, beheading construction workers in Iraq, bombing brazenly with suicide bombers the very fabric of society that is decent. Instead of producing engineers and doctors, and social workers, the disgruntled and oppressed Muslim world has been producing suicide bombers and hate mongers, in great numbers. To be fair to the weaker sex, they are now showing equality by unleashing female suicide bombers (more expendable?). They have been at it for more than a decade at New York, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kenya, Tanzania, and more recently in Bali, Jakarta, Moscow, Madrid and Istanbul. The Islamo-fascists regard Western civilization and modernity as antithesis to its religion and culture.
The civilized world is appalled at the brutality with which they execute their plans and then hide behind the religion calling it the holy war, as if the term jihad will exonerate them in front of God. But there is very little protest from the moderate mainstream Muslims, who are silently watching their religion maligned and hijacked by fanatics. The United Nations is as guilty as the Muslim population in not reacting properly to this new menace that is triggering death and mayhem of innocent people all around the world. Now the new target of terrorism is the innocent children (Beslam and Baghdad) and most of the world is content in watching the horror.
Only after the September 11 tragedy has the United States looked at this problem with any seriousness. What had been dismissed as small groups of disenfranchised oppressed groups of people, now turned out be well funded machinations of widespread Islamic radicalism. However, most of the world still is reticent. They have not lifted even a finger to come to the aid of some thirty countries that are bearing the burden of this global war on terrorism. George W. Bush did not speak of machismo or blood and iron in the United Nations. Instead his was more of Wilosnian idealism with promises of help and admission that the United States had erred in the past by siding with the wrong heads of states.
For half a century the United States and European countries had supported autocratic right wing dictatorship in the Middle East, cynically arguing that the alternative of an unstable Middle East was more dangerous. The West was only interested in continuous flow of oil and keeping the Communists out of the Middle East. President Bush not only renounced such past opportunism, but also confessed that "for too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability." He promised not complacency that ensures continual oppression, but radical changes that lead to freedom.
But Bush emphasized that the times have changed and it is time for a new course of action if the new threat of terrorism is to be quelled. Take the fight to the enemy and not wait for events to occur and casualties to mount before responding. The task is not easy and the world needs to be united and only a concerted effort by the civilized world can make it safe for our children to live in this world. George W. Bush also extended his country's help to the oppressed population of the world. He beseeched the help of all civilized countries in combating trafficking of humans for prostitution and offered 15 billion dollars to fight AIDS in Africa.
How did the United Nations respond to the speech of George W. Bush? The leader of Iraq's interim government, a week later also stressed the importance of the world body coming to aid Iraq in fighting terrorism and institute a nascent democracy. He begged for patience and assured that the slow process of democratization of Iraq will eventually bear fruit. Yet the United Nations, the great world body created to bring peace and to disseminate aid to suffering people showed only tepid response. The United Nations has been hijacked by nations that are clearly against the United States and its ideals. Otherwise how do you explain the Libyans as the chair of Human rights commission in the year 2003? The 53 member commission on human rights has had Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Vietnam and Zimbabwe as their members. President Bush's speech was met with embarrassing, meek applause and stony faces in the general assembly. Even before his speech, the Secretary General Kofi Anan preempted him by declaring the Iraq war illegal to a BBC interviewer. Many of the oppressors Mr. Bush was referring to in his ambitious speech about spreading democracy around the world were sitting stone faced in the audience!
The world body created to fight poverty and injustice around the world was silent when Saddam Hussein and his minions unleashed his horrors on his own population. Slobodan Milosevic thumbed his nose against the world body and continued his ethnic cleansing with impunity. The barbaric Taliban regime was another embarrassment to the United Nations when it showed its disregard for civility and dragged Afghanistan to medieval times and mistreated women and girls. The civil war in Rwanda and Burundi had claimed half a million lives and the United Nations was silent. Now there is genocide in progress in Sudan and the august world body can not even come to terms with it, let alone having a plan to put an end to it. The only coherent voice coming from the United Nations is its condemnation of Israel. At the behest of autocratic Arab nations around the tiny democracy, more than half the resolutions passed by United Nations in the last few decades are against Israel.
Containment of Saddam Hussein and oil for food program suited Kofi Anan and the United Nations well. The scandal which is being investigated now, ever so slowly, may land in his own door steps and his son's company may have profited illegally from the program. Hence the stone walling and non cooperation. Now the tyrant has been deposed and the people of Iraq are free for the first time in three decades and this should have been cause for celebrations. Yet United Nations has acted as if a democratically elected man has been removed from office to the detriment of the people.
What has happened to United Nations? It is not the same United Nations of decades past, helping the poor nations with hunger, and sending troops around the world to keep the peace. Gone are the days when UNESCO and UNICEF provided selfless service around the world to fight disease and famine. Now it is a political body with a different agenda. Its membership is rife with tyrannies, theocracies and Stalinist regimes (Victor Davis Hanson, writing in The Wall Street journal).
United Nations is obsessed with Israel and its policy on the West Bank while it ignores the Communist China even as it refuses to deal with Tibet, a country it annexed with no serious consequences. The same goes to its lack of direction regarding the nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran. It is actively trying to dumb down the reaction of the world to the genocide occurring in Sudan. All the while, the United Nations is not tongue tied when it comes to be critical of the United States or Israel.
The United States is prepared to view the world with a different lens. France and Germany as well as Russia are not viewed as our steadfast allies. There is a distinct change in world order. Even the rationale of the membership of the sacred Security Council in the United States is being questioned. Why so much power and authority to communist countries like China and Russia? What is the role of France in maintaining world peace? Why shouldn't India (the largest democracy in the world) and Japan (a strong democracy since the World War II) replace some of the old guard countries in this changing world, in the Security Council? Does France deserve to be in the Security Council? Is it possible to recall the Secretary General Kofi Anan for incompetence and pushing the world body to the liberal left? How can the good name of United Nations be restored and attention turned again towards peace and fighting starvation, especially among the children of the world? Why should repressive countries be given a place at the table to oversee Human Rights?
'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.'
- Victor Davis Hanson, a military historian, senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, writing in The Wall Street Journal on September 23, 2004
What good does the United Nations do if it cannot reign in Iran's nuclear ambitions? Or expose North Korea's arsenal of nuclear bombs? What good is the world body if it cannot condemn acts of persecution of the innocent people in Darfur, Sudan? It can not even bring its members to agree on sanctioning the Sudanese government, let alone agreeing on calling the killings genocide. Russia that sells war planes to Sudan and China that has oil interests (both members of the Security Council) will not support such 'harsh language'! Will the United Nations change its ways and be aggressive in promoting and maintaining peace around the world? Or will it continue its policies of burying its head in the sand and cater to the radical members, who have hijacked a noble world body that once stood for justice and peace? The direction the United Nations has taken in recent decades shows that it is on a path towards self destruction.
It is time to abandon United Nations and send it in the path of erstwhile League of Nations. It is time to form a world body, perhaps modeled after North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with membership consisting of only democratic countries that value human rights. Peace can only be attained by military might in this new world of terrorism. That is the only way to assure that the world body does not deteriorate into another United Nations.