Wednesday, September 20, 2006

World Circus

This week, the United Nations has sunk even deeper into the theatre of the absurd. First, we got President Bush pretending to address the world but really addressing the November elections. Then we got President Ahmadinejad of Iran contrasting his country's "peaceful" and "transparent" nuclear actions with the menacing and unaccountable actions of the US and the UK. Finally, we got the spectacle of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez literally (and repeatedly) calling President Bush the Devil. These leaders were too busy talking past each other, but didn't bother to talk with each other.

The very name United Nations has become a self-contradiction, made doubly oxymoronic when combined with the word "resolution". It has become standard operating procedure for the Security Council to pass "resolutions" threatening future consequences that are never followed up on. Many have raised questions about the composition of the Security Council, whose five permanent members reflect 60-year-old reality more than the present day. I've become inclined to agree that it's time for France to go. I stuck by the French when they were unwilling to join the "coalition of the willing" in invading Iraq. I pointedly bought French wine as our Congress was embarrassingly renaming their "freedom fries". However last month, when the French co-brokered a deal to address the Lebanon crisis, but then balked at putting any boots on the ground, to my mind that should have been an automatic disqualifier of permanent seat status. They should stand aside and let another country more relevant to 21st century leadership step forward, say India or Japan or even Germany. Meanwhile, Venezuela's bid to get a Council seat was hardly served by the childish theatrics of its melodramatic President.

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