One of the memes going around on the left since the election has been to refer to themselves as “members of the reality-based community,” which I presume is supposed to be a take-off on Bush’s mention of “faith-based” initiatives and programs. (Although I happen to share many of the left’s religious disbeliefs, I don’t go so far into outright hostility to Christianity or any other particularly strong faith as they do.) Apparently a few readers of Wizbang are “based” in reality, but have wandered quite a bit away from base.
First up, we have the inestimable “Mr. Teacup,” who opines:
Kofi Annan heads the largest humanitarian organization in the world – his compassionate credentials are fairly well-established by now. The US has no intention of withdrawing from the UN. It is an organization that is the crowning achievement of one of America’s most beloved presidents and its charter was written by our own State Department. It is a towering monument of enormous historical importance that America led the world in creating. Of course, everyone knows this, which is why everyone also knows that the current anti-UN, anti-Annan talk is merely retaliation towards certain UN officials who took a pro-Kerry stance during the election, and in particular, political missteps by Annan when he publicly opposed the Fallujah offensive.
It’s like a giant buffet of stupidity, and somebody just handed me a plate the size of a trash-can lid and a garden trowel. I have absolutely no idea where to begin with this, and there’s no way I can properly do it justice.
The UN is “the largest humanitarian organization in the world?” By what standard is THAT measured? It might have lofty humanitarian ideals and goals, but it’s been a long, long time since it even came CLOSE to living up to them. Annan is a wonderfully distinguished-appearing gentleman who has overseen the most corrupt and ineffective gang of swine I’ve seen since… hell, I dunno. Maybe late in Mussolini’s reign in Italy or the final days of the Soviet Union. It’s hard to compare, because usually such ineffectiveness and ineptitude is usually remarkably short-lived; it’s only because of the continuing propping up by the US and other great powers that the UN hasn’t collapsed in on itself. Its record on such matters as the Oil For Food scandal, the 12 years of weapons inspections of Iraq, the IAEA’s criminally silly games with Iran and North Korea, the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Somalia (Annan’s mother country), the criminally negligent handling of the Balkans (which NATO had to finally step in and fix), Somalia, Rwanda… I gotta stop before I give myself a stroke.
Teacup also practices a bit of intellectual laziness when he says “everyone also knows” that the current UN bashing is simply payback because the UN backed Kerry. Let’s set aside the presumption that the UN has any business at ALL in interfering in the free elections of a democratic nation, and conveniently overlook that the UN has been a bad joke (on all of us) since long before Kerry even announced he was running for President, and has continued unabated to this day. I learned long ago that whenever someone starts asserting unproven (and, in this case, demonstrably wrong) assumptions by labeling them as “everybody knows” is almost always evidence they are talking out of their ass, and is certainly the case here.
I’ve come to think of the UN as a particularly interesting sociological experiment. What happens when you compose a body out of representatives of nearly every single government of the world, no matter how brutal or thuggish, and treat them all as equals? Somehow, you end up with the politest, most polished kleptocracy the world has ever seen — murderous, larcenous, arrogant, self-important louts with the thinnest veneers of civilization who veil their true, baser natures with lofty aspirations and airy speeches.
I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a single justification for our remaining part of the UN and continuing to provide over 35% of its annual budget entirely on our own, and it’s not been easy. The only one that has come to mind is that it gives us a convenient way to see just who our true friends are, and who is more interested in spitting in our faces. That’s tempered by the knowledge that we don’t do a damned thing with that information, however.
Can anyone — ANYONE — give me five concrete examples within the last 20 years where the UN has actually done any good, that can’t immediately be ripped to shreds with the careful application of FACTS? Bonus points will be awarded to those who can explain away the abject failures I outlined above. Teacup, this is especially intended for you…