Does anyone find this as hysterical as I do? Someone who used to work for the United Nations is getting in a huff because the U.S. and three other nations are coordinating tsunami relief efforts without the U.N. Not only is this individual upset about the four-nation effort, but she contradicts herself as well. The angry former U.N. representative is Clare Short, who used to be something called the International Development Secretary. All one needs to do is examine how well the U.N. has helped the cause of international development to see why she’s no longer at the agency. Nevertheless, she had some interesting things to say to the BBC:
“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.
“Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme.
“It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.”
What Ms. Short seems not to notice is that the United Nations doesn’t need any undermining, since the revelations of the oil-for-food scandal are doing a fine job of that without anyone’s assistance. Also, how can one undermine an organization that places some of the most oppressive nations in the world on its human rights and security councils?
The contradiction is in that last comment. How can only the U.N. have the “moral authority” to do something, while requiring the “authority” of the “great powers” to get the job done. Let’s see, the U.S. is the biggest, richest, most generous nation on the globe. Our government is pledging millions of dollars in money and resources as direct aid. Our citizens are opening their hearts and wallets, literally crashing web sites in a rush to donate millions of dollars. American military cargo planes with relief are already arriving in the area, even as the death toll continues to climb.
Why shouldn’t we work with Japan, Australia and India on this effort? India certainly needs the assistance, and who have two of our staunches allies been in recent years, especially when some of the world’s other centers of “morality” turned their backs on us or accepted bribes from despots? My nation would have far greater moral clarity going in with our friends than sitting around waiting for the United Nations and some of its members to get off their asses to do anything. My guess is that the Germans and French are holding out for whatever rebuilding contracts they can get in the damaged areas, perhaps promising a few kickbacks to ol’ Kofi and his son.
You know what? Screw the United Nations. And screw you, Claire Short. Take your self-righteous indignation and discuss it with someone who cares.