The cat i' the adage

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" Karl Popper (1902 - 1994)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Fox in the hen house

John Bolton is just the man for the UN, argues Gerard Baker:

Mr Bolton’s appointment is a stroke of pure genius by the Bush Administration. It might finish the UN. It might save it.

But, surely the UN has done a wonderful job bringing freedom to the world?

After the Korean War, the UN stood by and did nothing for four decades as some of the worst crimes against humanity were committed across and within borders. It did nothing when the Soviet Union imposed its will by force on Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. It did nothing to stop Pol Pot’s genocidal wars in South East Asia or the Indonesian cremation of East Timor. Just as Mao Zedong was busy executing anyone who expressed the slightest reservation about the wisdom of the Cultural Revolution, he was rewarded by being given a seat on the Security Council.

That was a long time ago, wasn't it?

Since then things have changed. Look at the first Gulf War. Didn’t that show how international co-operation through the UN can confer legitimacy on the use of force in the defence of law and justice? Well, perhaps. Some of us would argue that it was the need to keep that unwieldy coalition from collapsing that the war was not prosecuted to its proper conclusion — the removal of Saddam Hussein.

I remember: the UN hadn't authorised more than the expulsion of Iraq from Kuwait so Bush senior had to let Saddam off the hook.

More recently then?

The UN quickly fell back into its familiar torpor. It failed in the Balkans. It did nothing to stop genocide in Africa. And Iraq — well we know about Iraq. The truth is, if we had waited for the UN’s say-so to promote the cause of freedom in the past 50 years, we’d still be waiting.

All right. I give up.

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