This is my day to bash the United Nations, I guess. The Inter Press Service News Agency has a couple off stories that are of interest. First, “Developing Nations Blast U.N. for Appeasing U.S.” reports on a letter of protest sent by 132 countries (the “group of 77”), complaining about the fact that Annan’s chief of staff, Mark Malloch Brown, recently appeared before a Congressional committee to discuss U.N. operations and funding. Here is how IPS characterized the letter:
The 132-member Group of 77, the largest single coalition of developing nations, has sent a letter of protest to Secretary-General Kofi Annan implicitly decrying the U.N. Secretariat’s efforts to appease U.N.-bashing right-wing conservatives, both inside and outside the U.S. Congress.
“The Group of 77 (and China) is constrained to seek clarification as to whether it is now the practice of senior officials of the Secretariat to report directly to national parliaments on actions taken by the membership of the United Nations,” the G-77 chair Ambassador Stafford Neil said in a letter to Annan.
The U.N. Secretariat, Neil pointed out, is “accountable to the (191-member) General Assembly and not to individual member states”.
In other words, don’t “appease” Congressional Republicans.
For his part, Brown has openly expressed exasperation with what he considers meddling by many of the U.N.’s member states, which contributes to the organization’s ineffectiveness:
Asked about the charges of “management failings” in the U.N. Secretariat, Malloch Brown bluntly told a TV interviewer last month: “We have a hell of a structural problem. The Security Council and member states generally interfere in the management of this organisation. They’ve not given the secretary-general the authority or the resources or the means to run a modern organisation that can be held properly accountable to its membership”.
He also accused member states of interfering in the work of the Secretariat: “We instead have a highly politicised interference in the day-to-day decision-making by ambassadors and their minions.”
Explaining the division of powers between legislative and executive bodies in the United States and Britain, Malloch Brown said: “And in the U.N. context, the congress or legislature has run wild and has trampled all over the freedom of management to manage, so that every single post, every single mini bit of the budget has to be approved by a vast governmental committee of 191 members. And we’ve got to push back against that.”
The IPS concludes its article with quotes from Don Kraus, of Citizens for Global Solutions, a pro-U.N. organization, including this one defending Brown’s appearance before a Congressional committee:
Briefings by senior U.N. officials have been particularly helpful in giving legislators accurate information to make decisions on, rather than having them made based upon inaccurate media reports or slanted information spread by neocon think tanks, he said.
Don’t forget us neocon web sites.
Second item: “Nobel Peace Prize Seen as Warning to Big Powers.” When the Nobel Peace Prize, which has become more or less a badge of infamy, was awarded to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its Director-General Mohamed El Baradei, many suspected that the award was–once again–an implied rebuke to the United States. It turns out that this wasn’t just paranoid suspicion by us conservatives:
The speculation at the United Nations was that the Norwegian Nobel committee was sending its own message to the U.S. administration for its refusal to take meaningful steps on nuclear disarmament and for its continued militaristic policies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Contemplate that statement for a moment. First, the reference to “disarmament.” Does anyone in his right mind seriously think that the U.S. is going to unilaterally divest itself of its nuclear arsenal? And what about the reference to “militaristic policies” not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan? Does anyone seriously think that there was a realistic alternative to American military action to dislodge the Taliban and end terrorist control of that country? Of course not. But these people–the Nobel committee and much of the U.N.–aren’t interested in American security. What they want is for our enemies to be undisturbed, so that American military and economic power will be weakened.
Via Power Line News.