A UN military coup
Norm Geras, in his profiling of other bloggers, poses the question: What would you do with the UN? The answers mostly differ only in detail and emphasis but a general dissatisfaction with this body seems to be the standard sentiment. No one, however, as far as I know, has taken the time and trouble to actually think and suggest practical solutions. Why, I don't know, whether out of some lingering respect for the world body, or shyness of explicit prescriptions.
So I was very gratified when I read Noah Pollak's post on "Contentions" where he resuscitated an old classic addressing this exact question, by William F. Buckley, as trenchantly relevant today, if not more so, as it was when it first appeared in 1975:
In the session following the day of the formal closing, a bulletin came in, and the place was in pandemonium. It appears that the military attached to the UN to give technical advice on world disarmament have staged a successful coup and have taken over the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Secretariat. In due course the UN colonels will issue their instructions, but already it is discolsed that the Soviet Union will not be permitted to talk about disarming without disarming; the Chinese may not speak about human rights without granting human rights; the Arabs will not be permitted to speak about the plight of the less developed countries without forswearing the cartelization of their oil; the Africans may not talk about racism until after subduing the leaders of Uganda, the Central African Republic, and Burundi, for a starter; and, just to prove that the colonels are not above a bill of attainder, Jamil Baroody [the Saudi ambassador] may not speak at all, on any subject, for ninety days — after which he will be put on probation, and permitted to increase the length of his speeches by one minute per month, until he reaches the maximum of ten minutes, except that at the first mention of Zionist responsibility for World War I, he has to start all over again. The delegates from Eastern Europe must wear red uniforms when they appear on the floor and, before rising to speak, must seek explicit and public permission from the delegate of the Soviet Union. A scientific tabulation will be made, under the colonels’ supervision, of the compliance of individual countries with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and each country’s delegate will be required to wear on his lapel his nation’s ranking on that scale, which will range from one hundred to zero. Any country with a ranking of less than seventy-five will not be permitted to speak on the subject of human rights.
Bravo to Pollak and thumbs up to Mr. Buckley who must be an eternal favourite with his fortunate heavenly father...
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Monday, June 09, 2008
A UN military coup