الخميس، سبتمبر 25، 2008

Post Realism 3





Bush Calls for Reforming the United Nations!


Wael Nawara


Yes. It is true. This is not a joke or a make-blieve post or a wishful-thinking sort of article. Bush on Tuesday (23 Sep 2008), called for the reform of the United Nations!






Jay Allbritton: Sep 24th 2008 12:49 AM


During President Bush's farewell speech to the United Nations Tuesday, he called on the UN to reform. Despite running what many critics refer to as the most secretive administration in American history, Bush called on the UN to "open the door to a new age of transparency, accountability, and seriousness of purpose."

The UN didn't exactly extend Bush a rousing ovation. According to the Associated Press, the President received "less than 10 seconds of polite applause at the end of [the] speech".
I think Bush will be remembered as the President who made a mockery of the United Nations. In 2003, ordered the invasion of Iraq despite a Security Council refusal to approve it. President Bush also had his own sideshow act on global warming. Instead of working with the international community and signing the Kyoto Protocol, ratified by 172 countries, he insisted on opposing international constraints aimed at curbing carbon emissions. In 2004, on the wake of the Tsunami disaster, Bush was accused of trying to undermine the United Nations by setting up a rival coalition to coordinate relief.

Under Clinton Administration, the United States of America was one of only 7 nations (joining China, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Qatar and Israel) to vote against the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998. But the Bush administration's hostility to the ICC has increased dramatically in 2002 under the Bush administration. The U.S. opposition to the ICC was in stark contrast to the strong support for the Court by most of America's closest allies.
In an unprecedented diplomatic maneuver, the Bush administration effectively withdrew the U.S. signature on the treaty. The Bush administration then went requesting states around the world to approve bilateral agreements requiring them not to surrender American nationals to the ICC !

The U.S Congress passed the American Servicemembers' Protection Act (ASPA), which was signed into law by President Bush, which prohibits U.S. cooperation with the ICC; allowing the U.S. to "invade the Hague, Netherland, seat of the ICC" by authorizing the President to "use all means necessary and appropriate" to free U.S. personnel (and certain allied personnel) detained or imprisoned by the ICC, in addition to punishment for States that join the ICC treaty: refusing military aid to States' Parties to the treaty (except major U.S. allies), etc.

Why does the U.S. Oppose Development of an "International Justice System"?

The United Nation's Security Council is already flawed. The five permenant members of the Security Council are: the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China. Britain and France are close allies of the United States, although France sometimes votes against the United States' wishes. These permenant members have "Veto Powers" which can stall any Security Council resolution which "any of them" does not like! The U.S., in this position, already has a disproportionate influence on the United Nations and on the Security Council decisions. An influence it has often used to prevent even symbolic gestures of "International Justice" to be made against Israel for instance.


On Sept. 10, 1972, for the second time in its UN history, the U.S. its veto, this time —to shield Israel. (Source: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/p-neff-veto.html)



That veto, as it turned out, signalled the start of a cynical policy to use the U.S. veto repeatedly to shield Israel from international criticism, censure and sanctions.


Washington used its veto 32 times to shield Israel from critical draft resolutions between 1972 and 1997. This constituted nearly half of the total of 69 U.S. vetoes cast since the founding of the U.N. The Soviet Union cast 115 vetoes during the same
period.

The initial 1972 veto to protect Israel was cast by George Bush [Sr.] in his capacity as U.S. ambassador to the world body. Ironically, it was Bush as president who temporarily stopped the use of the veto to shield Israel 18 years later. The last such veto was cast on May 31, 1990, it was thought, killing a resolution approved by all 14 other council members to send a U.N. mission to study Israeli abuses of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Then President Bill Clinton came along and cast three
more.
I believe that George Bush [Sr.] had realized the importance of having a balanced approach in the Middle East region, to be able to act in situations such as the first Gulf War with some Arab backing. Ironically, Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, brough about a decade of positive progress in the Palestinian Front. Oslo accords were signed in 1993 and the few years that followed saw hope and optimism.


In my view, this hope and optimism was brought about by this slight change of policy on the U.S. part. Blind support of Israel undermined U.S. credibility as a "broker", but most importantly, it had given Israel the comfort that it can get away with murder with U.S. shielding it from International blame. This unconditional backing created a monster. And that "monsterous" approach, in my view, sabotaged Israel's ability to co-exist peacefully in the region. Israel became like a bully whose mum was the headmistress of the school. When bad behavior goes unchecked for years, it develops into bad attitude, which stays with one for life, a life marked by repeated offences and jail time. Eventually, when the mother is no longer there to protect the now-grown-up bully, the poor bully finds it hard to adjust to the real world which no longer forgives such misconduct.

I believe that the U.S. policy of undermining the United Nations and opposing development of International Justice institutions such as ICC, also works against U.S. best interests. Only when an effective International Justice System is developed, can the world be a more safe place. The United States needs to play a strong role in that process, which can never be successful if the U.S. refrains from supporting it, or worse, work to undermine it.

Senator Obama wrote an article last year which was published in Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007, where he said:
America cannot meet this century's challenges alone; the world cannot meet them without America.
I have only one word to say in response to that:

Amen.

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